Movie Article

The Emulate Show

Copycat crimes -- What happens when criminals take a cue from violent movies like "A Clockwork Orange," Taxi Driver," and "Robocop 2"

When life imitates art the results can be deadly. While Natural Born Killers restored Oliver Stone's reputation, it also triggered Nathan Martinez allegedly to shoot and kill his stepmother and half sister after seeing the film at least six times. Later, Martinez, who had shaved his head and wore granny glasses a la NBK's Mickey Knox, reportedly told a friend, ''It's nothing like the movies.'' The incident recalls other crimes first committed on screen, then off.

A Clockwork Orange (1971) Criminal Act: Young hoodlums rape and bludgeon a woman while one sings ''Singin' in the Rain.'' Copycat Crime: British youths raped a young woman while singing ''Singin' in the Rain,'' leading director Stanley Kubrick to ban the film from being shown in Great Britain.

Magnum Force (1973) Criminal Act: A pimp forces a prostitute to drink Dr ano. Copycat Crimet:: Claiming the film inspired them, William Andrews and Pierre Dale Selby forced five people to drink Drano during a holdup before shooting all five, killing three.

*Taxi Driver (1976) Criminal Act: A Vietnam vet plots to assassinate a presidential hopeful. Copycat Crimet:: John Hinckley shot President Ronald Reagan to impress Taxi Driver costar Jodie Foster.

First Blood (1982) Criminal Act: A Vietnam vet sets booby traps to escape from redneck cops. Copycat Crimet:: Richard Miller allegedly shot and killed his former boss, reportedly after seeing the movie approximately 20 times. A psychologist at Miller's trial testified, ''He believes Rambo gives us approval to kill people.'' He was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

RoboCop 2 (1990) Criminal Act: A drug lord slashes a man's torso. Copycat Crimet:: Nathaniel White, who slashed the first of his six murder victims, said that he did ''exactly what (he) saw in the movie.''

Interview With the Vampire (1994) Criminal Act: Vampires bite necks through the ages. Copycat Crimet:: Daniel Sterling allegedly stabbed his girlfriend seven times and then sucked her blood after the couple had seen the film. He reportedly said he ''doesn't blame the movie'' but admitted to being ''influenced'' by it (yet he still maintains his innocence).

Originally posted Jan 27, 1995 Published in issue #259 Jan 27, 1995 Order article reprints
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