Monday, September 16, 2013

Of Dolls and Murder (2012)

Director: Susan Marks

Writer: Susan Marks

Composers: John Kurtis Dehn, Jefferson Rabb

Starring: John Waters, Jamie Bowen, Darrolyn Butler, Rajesh Chopra, David Fowler, Peter Georgiades, Brenda J. Haggerty, Sean Jones, and lots more cool forensic scientists

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Convict the guilty, clear the innocent, and find the truth in a nutshell.

Plot: Before forensics, DNA, and CSI we had dollhouses - an unimaginable collection of miniature crime scenes, known as the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death. Created in the 1930s and 1940s by a crime-fighting grandmother, Frances Glessner Lee created the Nutshells to help homicide detectives hone their investigative skills. These surreal dollhouses reveal a dystopic and disturbing slice of domestic life with doll corpses representing actual murder victims, or perhaps something that just looks like murder. Despite all the advances in forensics, the Nutshells are still used today to train detectives. Documentary film, Of Dolls and Murder, explores the dioramas, the woman who created them, and their relationship to modern day forensics. From the iconic CSI television show to the Body Farm and criminally minded college students, legendary filmmaker and true crime aficionado, John Waters narrates the tiny world of big time murder.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I Watch it again? Nah.

That's some pretty cool shit, huh?  I've always been intrigued by forensic science.  I've never seen CSI and I know enough to realize that while that show strives to bring good science to TV, it REALLY over sells it by making it look sexy and drastically shortening the time everything takes.  There's not a lab on the planet that is as good and comprehensive as theirs, or so this documentary tells me.  This is fascinating documentary for anyone remotely interested in the subject.  It also sheds light on someone most people would have never heard of otherwise but played such a large and groundbreaking roll in forensic science, Frances Glessner Lee. What a remarkable lady.  Besides the badass doll death scenes, the coolest thing I learned is that there is what's nicknamed the 'Body Farm', where actual bodies found at crime scenes (donated by the families) are placed on this multi-acre facility to simulate the circumstances in which dead bodies can be found - wrapped in plastic, fully and partially buried, left in a car trunk or a garbage can, etc.  The bodies are left there to study the decomposition effects their environment has.  This shit's out in the open (at a secure facility of course) and it is so friggin' cool.  Science is awesome!!!

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