YMMV / The Poughkeepsie Tapes

  • Complete Monster: The Water Street Butcher, AKA "Ed", is one of the most prolific and brutal serial killers in the history of film. He is given no backstory, but as far as the police could tell, one day he just started killing people. Taking great pride in his murders, the Butcher had logged each one of them on camera, creating 800 tapes with several thousand hours of film chronicling his sadism. He would kill and rape both adults and children (most horrifically, an 8-year old girl whom he claimed as his first victim), often violating their corpses as well, cuts a man's head off and places it inside his wife's womb to watch her reaction, and frames a retired police officer for his crimes just so the cops would kill one of their own. Possibly the worst thing he does is to the young woman Cheryl, whom he kidnaps and keeps as a prisoner and sex slave for 8 years, also forcing Cheryl to commit some of the murders. When she's finally found, she's become a lifeless shell who soon kills herself out of despair. Then he digs up the corpse and runs off with it. While the crimes listed are shown in the most detail, the killer is also shown committing many other murders on the tapes throughout the film. The Butcher appears to only kill for his own amusement and sadistic pleasure, and sees no reason to ever stop.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The film is only available as a bootleg since MGM shelved the film due to their financial issues (a release date was planned for February 2008 and trailers had come out in November 2007). The bootleg is also from a rough cut of the film shown at festivals, as the directors never got to finish the final cut.
  • Memetic Mutation: An animated GIF showing the Butcher slowly creeping towards the English woman on all fours commonly makes appearances on horror- or paranormal-themed message boards.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The Water Street Butcher's killings start off as standard fare for a Serial Killer movie, but the graphic physical and mental torture that he inflicts on his "slave" is freakin' terrifying.
  • Narm:
    • The killer's angry growling (especially in the Mind Rape scenes) can be somewhat jarring.
    • The balloon scene.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • The film encourages the notion that the killer's vanity means he's probably right there in the theater watching it with you.
    • "At any given time, there are somewhere between 25 and 50 active serial killers in America alone. It it really a much bigger problem than most people realize."
  • Uncanny Valley: Cheryl's latex mask that he forces her to wear.
  • The Woobie: Cheryl. Poor, poor, Cheryl. The abuse she suffered was worse than any of the Butcher's actual murders.