September 7, 2021
Los Angeles, California
Over the years, in my series of books documenting my father’s crimes, I have frequently referenced the fact that he was “inspired by” and included as part of his real-life M.O. crime signatures taken from classic films.
George Hodel was a true cinephile, with a perfect photographic memory. He would cut and paste actual scenes from these many films and include them in his real-life murders as part of his modus operandi or taunting clews to the police and press.
To name a few that I have referenced in the past:
“M” (1931) Germany by Director Fritz Lang
Fritz Lang’s “M” was released in Germany in 1931 and two years later, in March 1933, appeared in theatres in the U.S.
An instant classic it tells the story of one “Hans Beckert” (Peter Lorre) who commits serial kidnap/murders of children and terrorizes a German city. (The film was inspired by a real-life killer, Peter Kurten, known as “The Vampire of Dusseldorf” who in 1929, was arrested and convicted of killing at least a dozen victims. Kurten after his killings would drink his victim’s blood, hence the “vampire” pseudonym.
The link to the above photos and the full article can be found HERE.
Here is an early review (June 1932) from The London Standard of “M” before its release in the U.S.
I have no doubt that my father, George Hodel would have seen the U.S. showing of “M” in 1933. (At that time he would have been attending medical school at UCSF in San Francisco.)
A few clips from the original film:
During the child killers’ “trial by his peers” (criminals all), Hans Beckert pleads in his defense that he cannot control himself because he has this monster inside him.
Twelve years later in 1945 in one of his “Chicago Lipstick Murders” Dr. George Hodel writes on the victim’s living room wall just before kidnapping and butchering little six-year-old Suzanne Degnan. He writes:
Again, in a later “Zodiac” killing George Hodel makes a written plea to attorney Melvin Belli to “help me”, informing Belli he “cannot control the monster within him.” (True or not, it’s dialogue right out of the screenplay, “M”.)
Letter to the Press
Here we see “M’s” child serial killer Hans Beckert writing a letter to the German police and press which is subsequently “analyzed” by forensic “handwriting experts.”
Following translation of the above letter from German to English provided by reader, Barry Guerrero:
“Since the police kept my first letter from the public, I was just going straight to the press! Do some research; you will soon find everything confirmed, but (however) I am not yet at the end (not yet finished)”.
George Hodel, in his later serial murders (Black Dahlia Avenger and Lone Woman Murders, Chicago Lipstick Murders, and Zodiac) does the same, both taunting and terrorizing those cites.