No One Is Safe From Son of Sam – Heath Benfield
Using original news footage from the summer of 1977, PIX11 News have crafted a brilliant documentary following the New York serial killer named ‘Son of Sam’. In the summer of 1977 a mysterious murderer tormented the collective consciousness of New York City with a killing spree mainly targeted at young women and a game of cat-and-mouse with the local police and news media. Retracing those notorious events and the accompanying media frenzy is Heath Benfield’s engrossing short film, “No One Is Safe From Son of Sam” focused on the fear and paranoia that New York felt at the time.
As much as this short film tells the story of ‘Son of Sam’ in 8 minutes, it’s also a reflection on our obsession with criminal minds and how serial killer reporting can take over the news and social agenda. Indeed, in terms of news media, little has changed since the Summer of 1977, aside from with the addition of social media there is now an echo chamber which promotes even more extreme reporting and sensationalism.
Interviews with local residents show the fear and tension in New York City at the time, and why the serial killer’s legacy lives on. In the words of writer, producer and director, Benfield, “this film was designed to capture that feeling of paranoia, fear and hysteria during the summer of ’77 – we want modern audiences to experience a sense of what New Yorkers went through.”