‘She’s just a so­cio­pathic per­son who kills peo­ple’

Thriller flips the script on fe­male mur­der­ers Hol­ly­wood’s dead­li­est damsels

StarMetro Toronto - - Entertainment - Steve Gow

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent Rad­ford Univer­sity study, less than 12 per cent of all se­rial killings are com­mit­ted by women. In terms of Hol­ly­wood, that num­ber is even less.

With few ex­cep­tions, cin­ema has tra­di­tion­ally shunned away from fe­male mur­der­ers in main­stream movie plots. When a homi­ci­dal woman is por­trayed, she’s usu­ally a femme fa­tale mo­ti­vated by sex. Now, a Cana­dian thriller is aim­ing to flip that script.

“We haven’t really seen any­thing like this in film,” said Lora Burke, of her star­ring role in the up­com­ing drama Poor Agnes. “The hook on this film was a strong woman, but wait — she’s do­ing what now?”

In the up­com­ing fea­ture, Burke plays an in­tel­li­gent, al­beit mis­guided woman who’s also a stone-cold so­ciopath. When a sleuth comes knock­ing on her door, Agnes in­stinc­tively se­lects her next vic­tim, im­pris­on­ing the in­no­cent prey in her base­ment and psy­cho­log­i­cally tor­tur­ing him into sub­mis­sive com­pli­ance.

“Look, its en­ter­tain­ment at the end of the day,” laughed Burke. “(But) one of the things that’s preva­lent, es­pe­cially with what’s go­ing on in Hol­ly­wood to­day, is this theme of power and abus­ing that po­si­tion and what you do once you’re in power. If you’re Agnes, she grew drunk on it and did ter­ri­ble things.”

Af­ter all, for as un­kind as Hol­ly­wood has treated women, both on-screen and in real-life, Poor Agnes is de­fi­ant in shift­ing the dy­nam­ics of power in per­haps the most cathar­tic and metaphor­i­cal man­ner.

“I didn’t want to make it (that) she’s fe­male there­fore she’s do­ing this dif­fer­ently,” said Burke, who said the key to this char­ac­ter was ac­tu­ally strip­ping away gen­der pol­i­tics. “I don’t know that I looked at it from a male-fe­male per­spec- aileen Wuornos (Mon­ster) In 2004, Char­l­ize Theron earned an Os­car for her por­trayal of real-life killer Aileen Wuornos, a so­cio­pathic pros­ti­tute who con­fessed to mur­der­ing sev­eral men in Florida in 1990.

Mrs. Voorhees (Fri­day the 13th)

In the orig­i­nal 1980 slasher film, a bunch of un­lucky campers are slaugh­tered tive — she’s just a so­cio­pathic per­son who kills peo­ple.” at the hands of the camp’s cook and ma­ni­a­cal ma­tri­arch of Ja­son — the fran­chise’s iconic masked mur­derer.

Tif­fany (Bride of Chucky) With the aid of a “Voodoo for Dum­mies” book, Jen­nifer Tilly morphs into a homi­ci­dal toy doll. Tif­fany would even­tu­ally in­spire real-life Rus­sian killer Elena Lobacheva, who ad­mits she was ob­sessed with the movie.


Lora Burke plays a stone-cold so­ciopath in the Cana­dian thriller Poor agnes.

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