I’m always fascinated when life imitates art. In this case, fascinated and a little horrified. I remember being a kid and hearing about the Charles Ng case. He had been hiding out in Fish Creek park, only minutes from our house before being arrested in the late 80s. My dad used to warn me not to play down there by the river after hearing about his grisly crimes. Then again, my dad worried about me getting kidnapped at the Multicultural centre when I was a teenager listening to punk bands. It never happened.
Like Luka Rocco Magnotta, Ng was a real bastard. He and his partner Leonard Lake tortured and killed anywhere between 12-25 victims in a self-made dungeon located on a Northern California ranch. They coined their desire to enslave and rape women in order to repopulate an apocalyptic earth “Operation Miranda” after the fictional novel, The Collector, by John Fowles. In the novel, a woman named Miranda is imprisoned like a butterfly by entomologist Ferdinand Clegg. She dies after spending years in his basement prison. Their lives were eternally separated by a difference in the way they chose to understand life.
“If you love something, let it go. If it doesn’t come back, hunt it down and kill it.” —Charles Ng’s crime partner, Leonard Lake
This news article explores the influence of life and art at work in Magnotta’s crime. The murder of his ex-lover was modelled after the crimes of Sharon Stone’s character in Basic Instinct, AKA the icepick. For the fame, Magnotta posted the killing on a gore site filled with blood and probably other murders. It also wanders into the murders linked to the Natural Born Killers story, the 36 odd murders linked to the Child’s Play movies, as well as the Columbine killings—mirrors of the fantasy killing of teachers played out in the film Basketball Diaries and Steven King’s Rage.
Obviously we’re dealing with a screw or fundamental brain chunk being loose here—at least I hope so. But it really gets you thinking about that threshold between fiction and reality and wondering where the art ends and a grisly reality begins.