The film has never been distributed in America probably because it would cause all of the country to sink into a collective mass depression.
Made by Leonard ‘Brother of Paul’ Schrader for the Japanese market, the film is not a Faces of Death rip off, as all Mondo movies/shockumentaries had become by 1982, the year of the film’s production. It is instead a penetrating look at gun based violence in America and an assessment of the gun laws (and this was decades before Michael Moore came along).
Brutal, stark and chilling, we are treated to the assassinations of Jack and Bobby Kennedy, and also that of Martin Luther King. The film touches on the heinous deeds of John Wayne Gacy, Ed Gein, the Son of Sam, Ed Kemper, Charles Whitman, Charles Manson, Jim Jones to name but a few. After a 90 minute catalogue of horrors, the issue of gun control is raised.
The film is delivered by a very stern narrator and it possesses enough curiosity value to make it worth watching – including intriguing interviews with Sirhan Sirhan and footage of Ted Bundy getting worked up in court. The Killing of America has higher production values than most shockumentaries, it flows well and it has conviction – backed up by statistics and information. Whatever you may think of shockumentaries, The Killing of America is highly polished compared to most Mondos and is therefore all the more harrowing.