Edmund Kemper grew up like almost any other red-blooded American boy, which is to say, in a home where the parents quarrelled a great deal, separated, reunited, eventually were divorced, and where the mother wound up both caring for the children and working at a full-time job. He grew up worshipping Hollywood actor John Wayne, whose image intertwined and blurred in his mind with memories of the beloved father who had abandoned him.
Raised by a terrible mother, who didn’t hesitate to lock him in the cellar when he was a child, Edmund Kemper became very shy and isolated himself more and more. He dreamed of revenge, he thought of morbid games in which death and mutilation played an essential part. Aware of his inadequacy, he admired his absent father and actor John Wayne.
“John Wayne was very much like my father,” said Edmund Kemper, both physically and in his behavior. My father was a big guy who spoke loudly. Like John Wayne, he had very small feet. When I first went to Los Angeles, I immediately went to put my feet in the footprints of John Wayne, who are immortalized in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. I was proud to see that my feet were bigger than his.”
Sources: The Co-Ed Killer, Margaret Cheney / Serial killers : Enquête mondiale sur les tueurs en série, Stéphane Bourgoin / Thanks to Catrin Elen Williams for the John Wayne pictures on Facebook
Ed Kemper often went to see movies at the Del Mar theater in Santa Cruz. Kemper has mentioned that he enjoyed films very much, such as John Wayne movies, war films and police thrillers.
Built in 1936, and located on Pacific Avenue, the Del Mar Theatre is an art deco triplex featuring a grand auditorium, tasty local snacks, organic popcorn (with real butter!) and weekly Midnight Movies. The theatre shows a wide variety of independent and foreign language films, as well as the best big-budget Hollywood movies, with state-of-the-art presentations in a welcoming community atmosphere. Extensively renovated and restored in February 2002, it has been operated by Landmark Theatres since December 2015.
This graphic novel about Ed Kemper’s story created by French artists David Jouvent and Thomas Mosdi is set for release on April 15, 2020. It will be published only in French for now. Will keep you updated about a future release in English.