Made for USTV in 1984, Murder: No Apparent Motive is a great, unpretentious documentary examining the serial killer phenomenon that was arguably at its peak at the time, with high-profile killers making headlines worldwide. The bulk of the film concerns Edward Kemper and Ted Bundy, two murderers whose attitudes could hardly be different. Bundy is shown laughing and joking with TV crews and protesting his innocence of all crimes (“no man is truly innocent”, he smiles when asked of his guilt). The notorious arrogance of the infamous killer is here for all to see. Kemper, on the other hand, is repentant, humble and articulate as he discusses the madness which drove him to commit his crimes. In fact, he comes across as such an intelligent, pleasant guy, it’s hard to believe that he murdered co-eds and raped their decapitated corpses – though his confessions leave nothing to the imagination. Large chunks of this interview would be quoted verbatim in Netflix’s serial killer show Mindhunter.
Powerful and compulsive, this is a highly recommended study in terror that makes a good companion piece to The Killing of America, and is long overdue a re-release.