WARNING: VERY SPOILERY. Proceed at your own risk, as if you’ve just been shown round a motel bathroom by Norman Bates (If you’re after my review, it’s here. Or check out my interview with writer-director Conor Boru.)
Cults are something of a Family business, albeit in Aidan’s case not a very financially successful one. You had to do one thing Aidan, make a killing.
Still, every business needs some people prepared to stay in the background and others to take the glory, some to make the tea, some to document everything, and some to do the really messy jobs. Often there is a CEO who is all talk and no trousers. It’s not easy founding a murder cult that can go the distance through their first home invasion massacre and its aftermath. How did Aidan and Claire’s group fare?
Character kill list:
Amy Kitson, cult member with a family grudge:
Her pony as a child, because it was such a cliché.
Her father, mother, two late-coming guests, the piano player and the waiter at her parents’ dinner party — Amy takes her new cultmates there without first revealing her connection with the householders.
Possibly dinner guest George, who is thrown off the top of the staircase to his death by assailants unknown.
Jack’s friend Terry, at the massacre after-party.
Total: 7 or 8 human kills, 1 pet in childhood.
The twins, Viktoria and Veronika, cult members and probable psychopaths:
Amy’s brother Jeremy (after he shouts “Come on you peasants I’ll take you all!”), his partner (unnamed), and fellow guest Henrietta at the Kitson family dinner.
Their parents, both butchered when the twins retired to Austria and had to explain to mum and dad what they’d been up to.
Total: 5 kills, though technically that’s 2.5 victims each.
Norman Graysmith, aspiring documentary filmmaker:
Amy. After the Kitson family massacre and after-party, Aidan is abandoned by the rest of his cult and even Norman. Jack and Masoud leave the cult, and Amy leaves with the twins, but takes from Norman his filmed massacre footage on pain of death. Norman then breaks into her house at night to steal back the footage. He retrieves it (he wants to make her the protagonist of his documentary instead of useless Aidan) but is then surprised by Amy in her kitchen. She tries to kill him but he stabs her in the eye with a carving fork.
Claire. He stabs her to death after she comes in to find him leaning over Amy’s body, and starts takes pictures of him.
Aidan. When Aidan hears about Norman murdering Amy and Claire he is so enraged at his movement being hijacked by other, better killers — not least by Norman and his recent kills — he goes looking for the filmmaker to murder him. He can’t go through with it though, and is then pursued by the now bloodlusty Norman, who stabs him to death before being arrested. Norman is now The Campervan Killer.
Total: 3 kills.
Aidan Mendle, aspiring serial killer:
His gran he claims, but this is unlikely.
Next door’s cat Richard (accidentally).
Total: 0 deliberate kills.
Claire, Aidan’s photographer girlfriend:
None. She is merely the cult photographer and egger-on.
Total: 0 kills, but several souls presumably remain trapped in her photographs
Masoud, cult member and yoga lover:
No one! In fact he tries to save one of the dinner guests (in vain, but still).
Total: 0 kills
Jack, cult member and fishmonger
Despite his enthusiastic post-massacre partying I didn’t see him kill anyone at the dinner party, though he did avail himself of the canapés.
Total: 0 kills
Amy is the killer queen, but we should probably have realised that Norman, not Aidan, would have been most infected and enthused by the glorification of serial killing — he was actually most keen, as an aspiring filmmaker, to leave his mark on the world, and to have name recognition (sorry, any non-murderous aspiring filmmakers reading this).
Amy was actually far more canny, keen on staying in the shadows, and when everyone left Aidan after the post-massacre party and the cult collapsed, she told him she and the twins would be lying low for a while.
The twins meanwhile now have two lifetimes ahead of them to slaughter to their hearts’ content, as Norman — now styled THE CAMPERVAN KILLER — has been held responsible for 14 murders.
Let’s face it, the most successful serial killers are the ones never brought to justice.
When The Screaming Starts celebrated its World Premiere at FrightFest 2021 on 28 August 2021