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Bazaar Bizarre
Bazaar Bizarre
Actor: James Ellroy
Director: Benjamin Meade
Genres: Special Interests, Documentary
R     2010     1hr 29min

When Chris Bryson was discovered limping down a street in 1988 wearing only a dog collar, the horrifying acts of one Kansas City resident were exposed. Bob Berdella, a local fascinated by the occult, had been spending his ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: James Ellroy
Director: Benjamin Meade
Genres: Special Interests, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Special Interests, Crime & Conspiracy
Studio: Troma
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 10/26/2010
Original Release Date: 01/01/2004
Theatrical Release Date: 00/00/2004
Release Year: 2010
Run Time: 1hr 29min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Innovative creation of art! thus rarely seen in serial kille
Ph.D Madsen | Denmark | 09/21/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's sure a strange case of Bob Berdella. This both documentary and almost film alike version here is very interesting for what you otherwise find on serial killers, this guy is sick, and I have watched it 3-4 times within a month.

I found it very thrilling and obscure, abit comic here and there, but a new innovative way to make documentaries, and I think the result and my 5 stars talks for it self.

Worth buying! But only if you are abit sickening yourself, or into pathology studies of primate instincts & psyche, thus criminal psychology, I mean, this DVD is offending many with a fence of morality build around them I would assume?, but a psychological kick to study upon.

Bob Berdella was both smart and dumb person in same objective form, that is seen on his crimes, and the sloppiness, and so on, he was a big large homosexual serial killer who took whoever which entered his home with him, he was a sadist, very regardless of his victims emotions. His torture, was repulsive in my view. Through the film, described both verbally/visually and with drawings + his diaries, one surviving victim tellings + footage with Bob himself,

This is indeed a true documentary.

And I hail those who made it!
A Dark Documentary
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 08/20/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Bazaar Bizarre"

A Dark Documentary

Amos Lassen

Kansas City. 1988. Chris Bryson was found running down the street naked. He had been beaten and he was bloody and the only thing that he was wearing was a dog collar and attached to a leash. When the police got to him he told them about a man named Bob Berdella who had captured him, held him hostage, raped and tortured him and took pictures of him over a several day period. Berdella was a local businessman who was arrested and when his home was searched, police found hundreds of Polaroid photographs, a torture log, human teeth in envelopes and a human skull. Police learned that Berdella had murdered six young men in his home after drugging them and performing sick acts of sexual torture on them. He met a couple of the victims at his business, a small shop called "Bob's Bizarre Bazaar" where he sold artifacts from around the world related to the darker side of human nature for people with strange tastes. Some of his victims lived through the horrors for only a few days and there was one that actually lasted for six weeks. After his victims died, Berdella would cut up the bodies with an electric chain saw and a bone knife, place the body parts in empty dog food bags and then put them into large trash bags setting them out for trash collection on Mondays. It is believed that Berdella used specific organs of the victims as meat in several food dishes he would serve at his shop, although he denied this.
This is not your usual film fare as you can tell.
"Bazaar Bizarre" attacks the subject of serial killing in a way we have not seen before. The film bypasses all logical genre definition as it gives an aural, visual, and physical meditation on the mental capacity which is necessary to commit crimes like serial rape and murder. Society quickly judges these acts and we condemn them. There are times in Bazaar Bizarre that do this as well, but we are also asked to enter the mind of the killer. I am not sure what this means but it is scary. We get no answers from the film, only questions and more questions.
The strange case of serial killer Bob Berdella began for authorities when a man was found running naked in the streets of Kansas City. This began a story that was as totally weird and hideous as they come. For days, the man had been being kept a prisoner in the home of a local man. Over these days he was repeatedly raped, tortured, and photographed. Drain cleaner had been injected into his vocal chords, and he was unable to speak clearly, but even if his voice was weak, his story was as strong as could be. He led officials to the house and thus began the investigation of the life of Bob Berdella.

Director Ben Meade also hails from in Kansas City, and there's something very intimate about his look into the mind of Berdella. Meade himself had come face to face with the killer at least once at his shop and that is probably why he can tackle his subject with such zeal. He is able to go in and come out of the mind of Berdella. Meade gives us a feast for the eyes with stunningly awkward visuals, documentary montages with Berdella himself, and musical interludes that loll upon the events and give the viewer a moment to collect his or her thoughts.

Meade has concocted a strange brew of a film. He has interviews with the aforementioned surviving victim, one with Berdella, and with people who were involved with the case and its media coverage. He churns this up into a mixture that fits no standard format. The film is not presented chronologically and it is up to the viewer to put the puzzle together and we thereby become involved. Unlike other forays into serial killer docudramas, there is not a chronological time line.
Some of the scenes are really hard to watch and even in the recreations they are gruesome.
There are scenes in Bazaar Bizarre that are gruesome and we, the viewers, are forced to see an intimate arrangement with a very twisted mind.
"Bazaar Bizarre" is not for everyone to see. We are taken to places we have never been and then we reflect on them. The film moves at a pace that allows for introspection. We do not see Berdella's story shown a parable of humanity and we see him as the monster that he was. Berdella died in prison of an apparent heart attack. He is credited with six kills, all men but there was a total of 47 men reported missing in the Kansas City area and during the period that Berdella worked his scheme.
The DVD of "Bazaar Bizarre" tends to somewhat flat and hazy, no doubt because of the film's low budget nature. The audio is adequate and the deleted scenes are really more like outtakes and show some of the horseplay that went on behind the scenes. There's also a deleted musical number, in case you couldn't get enough. The "Postmortem" featurette is a group discussion with Meade and several others from the production, as they look back on the movie. Although, brief, it covers a lot of ground, and answers a few questions raised when watching the film itself.
Two stars deducted for the campy musical interludes
kohoutekdriver8 | Midwest | 09/29/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Were those really necessary? And the band wasn't even that good.

That said, I had barely heard of Bob Berdella until I found the book "Rites of Burial" a while back. It's one of better true crime books I've seen, and it never fails to amaze me how some of these people can do what they do under many people's noses, and nobody seems to suspect a thing.

Incidentally, there is little evidence that Berdella cannibalized his victims or served them at potlucks.

A Web search after reading that book revealed that Christopher Bryson, the escaped victim filmed here in silhouette, changed his name and moved to another part of the state. I don't know if his marriage survived this ordeal and its chaotic aftermath, but if you get this DVD, be sure to watch the filmmakers' comments. One of them said that Bryson had never told his children about the kidnapping and torture (he had one at the time, a son) and hadn't intended to, and when he was approached about making this film, he knew he would have to and when he did, "he felt like a tumor had been cut out of him."

The interviews with the key players in this story, and the narration by James Ellroy, are chilling. This film is unrated, but if it had a rating, the re-enactments with the carrot and cucumber would in themselves merit an NC-17.

One need not fear Berdella any more because he died in 1992."