Ripped from the Headlines!

Ripped from the Headlines! : The Shocking True Stories Behind the Movies' Most Memorable Crimes

3.78 (371 ratings by Goodreads)

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Bestselling true-crime master Harold Schechter explores the real-life headline-making psychos, serial murderers, thrill-hungry couples, and lady-killers who inspired a century of classic films.

The necktie murders in Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy; Chicago's Jazz Age crime of passion; the fatal hookup in Looking for Mr. Goodbar; the high school horrors committed by the costumed slasher in Scream. These and other cinematic crimes have become part of pop-culture history. And each found inspiration in true events that provided the raw material for our greatest blockbusters, indie art films, black comedies, Hollywood classics, and grindhouse horrors.

So what's the reality behind Psycho, Badlands, The Hills Have Eyes, A Place in the Sun, Arsenic and Old Lace, and Dirty Harry? How did such tabloid-ready killers as Bonnie and Clyde, body snatchers Burke and Hare, Texas sniper Charles Whitman Jr., nurse-slayer Richard Speck, and Leopold and Loeb exert their power on the public imagination and become the stuff of movie lore?

In this collection of revelatory essays, true-crime historian Harold Schechter takes a fascinating trip down the crossroads of fact and fiction to reveal the sensational real-life stories that are more shocking, taboo, and fantastic than even the most imaginative screenwriter can dream up.
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Product details

  • CD-Audio
  • 134.62 x 170.18 x 12.7mm | 77.11g
  • Grand Haven, United States
  • English
  • Unabridged
  • Unabridged edition
  • 1799708659
  • 9781799708650

Review quote

"The exploits of Depression-era homicidal sweethearts Bonnie and Clyde and the 1960s strangler who inspired the necktie murders in Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy are among the true stories behind many of cinema's most famous crimes and criminals. Schechter, author of numerous books on serial killers, tracks the path from felony to film." --Publishers Weekly

"With this riveting compendium, true crime guru Schechter provides the ghoulish details behind 40 films...Schechter's expertise is such that three of his previous titles appear as works cited in this well-researched and gripping read. This fascinating look at the intersection of true crime and pop culture is a must." --Library Journal (starred review)

"Educational and engrossing, true-crime author Schechter's latest (after Hell's Princess, 2018) is a collection of essays that pull back the curtain on Hollywood to explain the real stories that inspired movies...fascinating, intriguing, and difficult to put down, Ripped from the Headlines! is a must for movie buffs and true crime fans alike." --Booklist

"In this fascinating survey, Schechter (Hell's Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men) details the links between more than 40 movies and the real-life crimes that inspired them...True crime fans and movie trivia buffs will devour this one like popcorn." --Publishers Weekly

"Schechter offers new insight on the classic crime movies of the 1930s and 1940s, many of which were sanitized because of stricter enforcement of 1930's Production Code after 1934, as well as customs of the times...This treasure trove can also be enjoyed like an anthology. Each entry is a pithy gem of chilling details, adorned with folksy drawings of instruments of death...Ripped from the Headlines! is inspiration for mystery writers everywhere, a primer in how to modify a true story for any writing market. It should go on a mystery writer's reference book shelf, between Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon books (and [their] follow-ups by other writers) and How To Write Mysteries." --New City Lit

"Harold Schechter has created a highly entertaining look at the real life stories behind many of Hollywood's crime films, beginning long before the current true crime boom. Schechter includes a huge number of films, including plenty of Golden Age film noirs, salacious pre-Hays Code thrillers, and modern day dramas. The description of the crimes themselves are necessarily sobering, and the contrast between film criticism and real life events is the tension from [which] the book draws its strength. This will make you want to re-watch all your old favorites with a completely new perspective." --CrimeReads

"Explains how truth isn't just stranger than fiction--it's often far scarier." --New York Daily News
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Rating details

371 ratings
3.78 out of 5 stars
5 25% (91)
4 38% (140)
3 30% (113)
2 6% (22)
1 1% (5)
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