Of Dolls and Murder (2012)

Of Dolls and Murder (2012) movie poster

director Susan Marks
viewed: 06/11/2014

Narrated by John Waters, this documentary focuses on the rise of forensic sciene and crime scene analysis.  It’s really a bit of a riff, with its core being these amazing dioramas made by Frances Glessner Lee, a woman who I’d just read about who helped create the first more scientific approaches to crime scene analysis by funding research with her inheritance.  Which is great and all, but what is actually, really, truly incredible are these strange dollhouse dioramas.

Reading about her actually intrigued me into seeing the documentary.  I love true crime stuff.  I often joke that my morbidity is obese.  Her little dollhouses of death transcend pure documentation, though they have proved very well for playing that role.  They move into art, some totally insane pure art, almost naivist but rendered with stupdenous care and detail.  They are as strange and remarkable as anything that I’ve stumbled on on ye olde internet in some time.

The documentary sprawls about, going from the bone yard (where corpses are let to decay for study to current Baltimore crime scenes to interviewing a producer of the CSI franchise which has popularlized crime scene analysis.  There is a lot here, some more originary than other.  But it winds up lacking focus despite being fairly well put together.


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