Since the dawn of technology, parents and teenagers have battled over the wonderful invention of film.
Parents worry whether guns, blood, and murder will somehow shape their children. Simultaneously, teenagers roll their eyes at the paranoia from people too old to understand adolescent angst. They can’t possibly understand the wonders of film.
Parents should note that it is highly unlikely for films to be the single motivator of behavior. At most, film will act as either a catalyst to push violent people to act on their hidden urges or a scapegoat to excuse the crimes.
An example is when University of Illinois student Mohammad Hossain allegedly assaulted a peer on campus, claiming he was reenacting a scene from the “most romantic book” today “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
Hossain’s issue is not as extreme as 25-year-old Elena Lobacheva, aka “The Bride of Chucky.”
Lobacheva and her boyfriend Paul Voitov, both Russians, aimed to “clean up Moscow” by exterminating the homeless by stabbing them.
In July 2014, the couple brought 12 victims to the doorsteps of death, and to be considered a “serial” there must be at least three known victims. Police found pictures of victims and a “step-by-step instruction to killing people” on her desktop, as well as a variety of knives that she carried.
Lobacheva chose the title because of her love for the (17 year old) film with the same name, the fourth film in the “Child’s Play” franchise. The series focuses on a serial killer named Charles Lee Ray who uses voodoo to trap himself inside a doll. The only difference between Chucky and his bride is that the Mrs. can feel remorse – something Lobacheva also lacks.
It’s improbable to blame films for Lobacheva’s violence. If that were the case, stories like hers wouldn’t be as shocking.
Dr. Nenna Ndukwe, former member of SACAC counseling, worked as a forensic psychologist before moving to Singapore. The common belief is that serial killings come from the work of the mentally ill. In fact, a serial killer with a mental illness is very rare. According to Ndukwe, the real motive is the need for dominance and control.
“Working in a prison, you have to try and understand the motive behind whatever they have done, whether it’s [murder] or burglary. Forensic psychologists are interested in the motivation: why did they commit an act of crime and what factors [caused this]?” said Ndukwe.
Most killers demonstrate the quirks of either psychopaths or sociopaths. It has not been proven whether or not Lobacheva shows psychopathic tendencies; however, it is quite obvious that she takes pleasure in inflicting pain.
Violent films with graphic images can’t cause murder; however, it can cause some to believe that they’re not doing anything wrong. This says a lot about graphic images in movies.
Asking producers and directors to censor their movies would be about as realistic as taking out every grain of sugar from the foods we eat.
“I think there are some people who will be influenced by what they watch on TV, but as a whole, they’re driven by much stronger factors,” Ndukwe said. “By watching TV programs that maybe perpetuate those images [they’re] trying to confirm that what they’ve done is okay…These people are quite damaged with [deeper] issues.”
So in a way, parents do have a point when they say that films can cause some harm. However, they can’t deny that violent acts depend more on mentality than movie screens.