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Horror movie not what it seems

By Kayla Cappiello
On October 29, 2009

The movie, "The Poughkeepsie Tapes" has created quite the buzz here at Marist College. The documentary-style film is quite convincing with all of its seemingly real interviews with the police, FBI, family and friends of the victims involved. However, even the video clips of the victims being tortured, claimed to be from an actual library, are fake. The movie is loosely based on actual crimes that did in fact happen in Poughkeepsie, NY between 1996 and 1998.

The killer's name was Kendall Francois (not James Foley as in the movie). Over the course of two years, Francois killed between 8 to 10 prostitutes; however, the killings were not videotaped.

After the abduction of many Poughkeepsie women, Francois was finally caught. One woman, who had been abducted by Francois, fled to a local gas station where she was picked up by Poughkeepsie police and brought to the local police station. There, she filed a complaint against Francois. That same day, the Poughkeepsie police brought Francois in for questioning. He was then charged with a single count of murder and the police consequently drew up a search warrant for his home at 99 Fulton Ave.

Once searched, the police found the bodies of many of Francois victims. Francois was then charged with eight counts of first degree murder, eight counts of second degree murder and one attempted assault charge. He finally pleaded guilty in court and was consequently sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Although this synopsis does sound like a horror film, this in fact is not the same premise as "The Poughkeepsie Tapes." "The Poughkeepsie Tapes," a "mockumentary", documented a fictional crime scene in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The interviews shown in the movie are not factual. The people, names and places in the movie are not factual either. Comically, the movie was not even shot in Poughkeepsie. "The Poughkeepsie Tapes" was actually shot in California.

Throughout the movie, James Foley, the Water Street butcher, murders eight prostitutes, similarly to real life; however, he videos each one. In reality there were no video tapes.

In the movie, the killer buries the bodies in the yard of a Poughkeepsie home. In reality they were discovered in his Poughkeepsie home. Similarly to real life, there was one sole survivor. This is how both killers, James Foley and Kendall Francois, were discovered. In the movie, Cheryl Dempsey is the woman who flees the killer's home. Cheryl Dempsey does not actually exist.

"The Poughkeepsie Tapes" is not a factual movie. It may be based on some similar facts to the killings by Kendall Francois; however, there are many differences.

Interestingly enough, after the release of the movie, the director claimed he had never heard of Kendall Francois.

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