Collectors (1999)

Run Time - 78 min.  |   Countries - United States   |  
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Collectors peeks into the world of serial killer art, and those who collect it. Rick Staton, a mortician, has made a second career out of befriending imprisoned serial killers, and persuading them to take up drawing or painting so he can peddle their work to the public. As the film opens, Staton and his friend, Tobias Allen, are anticipating the opening of a gallery show by sex murderer Elmer Wayne Henley. Filmmaker Julian P. Hobbs interviews Staton and Allen about their obsession. Staton shows off his extensive collection of artworks by the likes of Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacy, and Richard Ramirez. He follows Staton and Allen as they excitedly travel to Texas and look at the sites of Henley's crimes, documenting their trip on videotape, and taking dirt and rock samples as souvenirs. There's also old video footage of Staton visiting the bungalow where Sharon Tate was murdered, in which Staton proclaims, "This is the happiest day of my life." Allen also shows off the serial killer board game he invented, in which the player who collects the most dead baby tokens wins. The filmmakers also interview Henley, who talks about how Staton got him started on his art career. He enjoys painting flowers and sand dunes, but Staton occasionally convinces him to sketch something more disturbing. Artist Joe Coleman, who also collects works by serial killers, is also interviewed, as is Harold Schecter, who has written several books about serial murderers. Hobbs also gives some screen time to victims' rights advocates and to family members of Henley's victims, who attend his art show to protest.