Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide, Part 3: The Final 39
Right before that I watched Superheroes (2011), a documentary about Real Life Superheroes. A couple I was already aware of -- Thanatos and Z-Man -- but the rest were all new to me. A bit disappointed that at times the filmmakers took the opportunity to show some of these people as buffoons -- which, yeah, they are, for the most part -- but don't really go into why some people dress up and go out on patrols and what-not.
Some of these folks wear their costumes to draw attention to work they do in their community, such as feeding the homeless and providing them necessities, operating toy drives, things like that. That's how I came to hear of Z-Man and Thanatos, and there's another one who calls himself Life, and while they may wear garish costumes their hearts and heads are in the right place -- they just endeavor to help socially, raising awareness and helping out the poor and homeless.
Then you have the straight-up psychos who go out looking to bait criminals into attacking them. And most of these guys -- no training at all. As in, NONE. Just a dude or chick decides to put on a costume and go out and get into shit. Most of these folks are people with behavioral disorders. Loners. Losers. And one makes it painfully obvious he's a raging alcoholic, with delusions of grandeur.
Far more interesting to me were brief moments with a psychologist who discusses the reasoning some people use to justify why they put on a costume and go out looking for trouble. Their hearts may be in the right place, but somewhere along the line they failed to realise that criminals carry guns and knives, and not a one of these Real Life Superheroes wears a bullet proof or stab vest.
I tend to side with one of the NYPD detectives who's interviewed, and who says (paraphrasing) it's commendable that people want to help clean up the streets, but they act out of passion and not common sense, which could just as soon get someone else killed as themselves.
An interesting doc, but I think the filmmakers at many points use things out of context to paint some of these people as even bigger and sadder losers than they are, to the point where it actually feels like the camera is ridiculing. Documentaries are supposed to be objective and show their subject as it is, without condoning or condemning. This particular filmmaker dropped that ball.