Becoming A Monster: ‘Mindhunter’ and The Real Ed Kemper

Mindhunter Ed Kemper
By  · Published on November 1st, 2017

Some performances are just too close to reality.

David Fincher’s remarkable Mindhunter isn’t just a gripping psychological police procedural. It’s a lot of fun. And that’s scary. Especially when some of the funniest, most charming segments are conversations with Ed Kemper, played in the show by Cameron Britton.

Britton’s performance is striking, seductively normal, and all-too inviting. This is truly a dangerous psychopath, we think. But how close is this to someone that really walked among us and murdered all the co-eds he wanted before turning himself in?

In a back-and-forth editing comparison between Britton and interviews with the real Ed Kemper, Thomas Flight finds that the vocal tics and accent are spot-on while the writing captures the essence of Kemper’s icy amiability without stooping to direct quotational lifts. The effect is chilling.

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Jacob Oller writes everywhere (Vanity Fair, The Guardian, Playboy, FSR, Paste, etc.) about everything that matters (film, TV, video games, memes, life).