043 - Badlands (1973)

Badlands, loosely based upon the Starkweather-Fugate murders,tells the story of 25-year-old Kit (Charlie Sheen), a failed garbage man and rancher, and 15-year-old Holly (Sissy Spacek), a student, as they try to run from the law following the murder of Holly's father at the hand of Kit.

While on the run Kit starts to become more trigger happy, killing more people as they stand in the way of his freedom. Meanwhile, Holly follows in naïve pursuit. As the murder count starts to increase so does Kit's notoriety.

Theatrical Poster
Perhaps the most striking part of Badlands is the soundtrack. Made to sound like a ballerina music box, it conveys a sense of innocence that is representative of Holly's young age. Throughout she is conveyed as naïve, following Kit because he is the only person that seems to understand her.

The film is clever to the extent of depicting the celebrity status that accompanies mass murderers. While Kit is obviously doing something utterly atrocious, he is shown to be a polite and humble young man who is just trying to earn some peace for him and his lady. This point of view is further backed up at the surreal ending of the film.

This humble role was played well by Sheen, but moreover he seemed a little overshadowed by the performance of Spacek who earnt herself the lead in the horror Carrie along with many other mediocre films in the 1980's.

All-in-all a decent film, if a little slow. Don't expect it to be too close to the truth on the Starkweather/Fugate murders but it brings another perspective to serial killing.