In Cold Blood –or- History of Natural Born Killers

In Cold Blood -or- Serial and Mass Murderers in the Global Village

Murderers have been among us since time immemorial. Think of the ancient Greek character Oedipus, who unknowingly killed his estranged father, then married his mother. By a similar family token, the story of the two Biblical agonistic brothers Cain and Abel, Cain kills Abel thereby fitting the archetypal description of a murderer. The Bible, under Moses direction of the "Ten Commandments" tells us, "Thou Shalt not Kill". The Hollywood dream factory genres of film noir, crime and horror, deal with the audience's and viewers worst fears and nightmares surrounding life and death situations. How many characters have been killed off, and can now be found in the dream factory's necrophilic necropolis of broken dreams?

These psychological thriller and murder plots are cinematically driven by the human fascination with violent themes such as morbidity, serial killers, mass murderers, vampires, and zombies to name a few. Also, let us not forget, that James Bond has "a licence to kill". "Casino Royale", opens with two killings, which we are told is an essential part of Bond's receiving "00" 7 status. The killing in the film, would not stop just with those two, the body count would continue to mount. During the OJ Simpson trial, dubbed by some as the "trial of the century", one of the first pieces of case evidence presented was, a dream. OJ, reportedly disclosed to a friend, that in his dream he murdered Nicole.

The IIDR dream interpretation "Murders Among Us", informs about the on-going historical cycles of violence. Historically, many cities and nations have been terrorized in reality and in their dreams by serial killers, here is a small taste of some of them;

The IIDR's article, "The Theatre of Cruelty" discusses the anatomy of human individual and mass destructiveness. This theatre is primarily driven by what Erich Fromm has conceptualized as, "malignant narcissism". A list of convicted serial killers in the global village can be reviewed by following the link.

One staple of these killer films, is the production of a visceral flood of graphic images of blood, gore, violence and killing. Tom Wolfe believed, that Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood", satisfied the prurient interest and appetite for true crime's "gruesome" details. Wolfe would most likely view and label the dreams presented below as "pornoviolence". Such violent images are prevalent in popular culture, where such media industries as music and film makers find ways to glorify and aesthetically gratify violence. The media's visceral graphic violent images then find their way nightly, onto our silver dream screens. Media violence researchers would be best served if they would direct their research towards understanding the effects of media on our dreams. Then, a more accurate "behavioural" and demographic assessment of the media effects of violence could be made. The film "Natural Born Killers" tagline reads "A bold new film that takes a look at a country seduced by fame, obsessed by crime and consumed by the media."

Here then, are three gruesome dreams of young women 18, 19 and 25 that provide a glimpse of graphic murderous impulses as they unfold in our dreams.

Penthesilea, 25

I had a horrible dream last night. I was in the forest, standing near a site where I knew I had buried all the people that I killed. Then, I was in a school, and two detectives pulled me aside in the hall to ask me questions pertaining to the murders. I was pretending like I didn't know anything about them and feeling paranoid that they would find out I had killed so many people. Then, I was home, contemplating killing myself. I was so worried and distraught in my dream, I felt like my life was over. I even saw images of the dead people and blood and couldn't deal with it. I woke up extremely relieved and thankful that it wasn't true!

Lisa, 19 

My dream starts out with a walk through the woods.  There is some kind of social event going on and a lot of people are there.  I'm walking with a friend, someone I don't know.  I see a man off to the side and he frightens me.  Somehow I know he is dangerous, a killer.  I'm terrified.  I drag my friend away and tell her we have to get in the car and leave.  My friend doesn't understand and hesitates.  The man is upon her immediately and he kills her.  I can't get into the vehicle to get away so I run in the other direction.  The man turns towards me and throws an axe and catches me in the neck.  The pain is unbearable. I try to be quiet, but the man walks to me and pulls the axe out and as he starts to walk away, I make a noise.  He turns around and uses the axe to behead me. 

Jean, 18

last night i had a dream that I went psycho, like when you see people in mental institutes. And in my dream i was more of an outsider watching myself do stuff but i was never afraid in my dream more out of it kinda feeling. Then I ended up making a friend who told me to go tell my parents to fuck off and just leave so i did and we drove away in a black escalade and i vividly remember pushing my mom down as she was crying outside near the car almost trying to pull me home.We left and I ended up in a jacuzzi with about 5 to 7 people. All randomly I got up and I see my friend has her neck slit and in my dream i was thinking of how I had done that because she i guess cheated on her boyfriend and that was the though running through my mind out of my body watching while dreaming. Then all of a sudden Im out of the jacuzzi and its all poisoned and i killed everyone and i just kinda begin to laugh sorta feeling like ive just jumped off the deep end of the crazy pond and never coming back. Id like to add that as a person i cry when people step on bugs so im not a killer.

Modern Hollywood Tragedy -or- The Amazon Queen and the Black Widow

The first dream is one in which both murder and suicide are contemplated. Taking a page from history, we are informed by Homer "Illiad", of the death of the Amazon queen. Penthesilea  wanted to kill herself, however knew this act was dishonorable. She searched and found an honorable death on the battle field at the hands of ancient Greece's greatest warrior, Achilles. When Achilles "unmasked" his opponent, he was overcome by necrophilic urges at the sight of her beauty. In modern day mythology, this archetypal personae has been called by the "mask of sanity". In the dreamers own words; "I was pretending like I didn't know anything about them".

In the second dream, there are a few films that might fit the generic Hollywood dream factory description; "The Prey" and "American Psycho", where the killer's mask of sanity becomes unglued.

In the third dream, the dreamer states; "I went psycho", and "i just kinda begin to laugh sorta feeling, like ive just jumped off the deep end...." Ruth Padel "In and Out of the Mind: Greek Images of the Tragic Self", discusses how the ancient Greeks understood psychopathology through the concept of "tragedy". The third dream reads more like Ms Jekyll and Ms Hyde, who are really one in the same person.

On a final note, female serial killers do exist, such as Jane Toppan, and Stacey Castor (named the "black widow") are but a few.



All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.