Crazy Is, As Crazy Does: The Life of a Serial Killer

John H. Mudgett

Book Cover

GENRE

HORROR SUSPENSE/THRILLER CRIME

    Core Theme

    SERIAL KILLER, FEMICIDE, VIOLENT GENETIC PREDISPOSITION, DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY ENVIRONMENTS.

    TIME PERIOD

    1960s & '70s,1980s & '90s

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    SLING BLADE, COPYCAT KILLER, MINDHUNTER

    CHARACTER LIST

    JOHN GOODMAN. 11-75. SERIAL KILLER. AGGRESSIVE, NARCISSIST, SADIST.

    KARLA HACK. 40S. FBI SERIAL KILLER PROFILER. JOHN'S DAUGHTER

    WILLIAM HACK. 9. KARLA'S SON.

    CHRIS. 20S. JOHN GOODMAN'S PROTÉGÉ.

    RODNEY. JOHN’S BEST FRIEND.

    JULIE. JOHN’S AUNT, WITH WHOM HE GOES TO LIVE IN HIS TEENAGE YEARS.

    Logline

    Exploring the Twisted Landscape of a Murderer's Mind. John Goodman describes to an abducted FBI Profiler how he evolved from a timid 12 year old into a diabolical killer. This graphic tale is full of shocking twists that culminate into a high stakes ending.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    Texas, California, Washington state, and Florida,

    Based on a True Story

    Yes

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: David J. Brown

    Year Published: 2019

    Starting Description

    Three main Characters are described as an FBI Profiler and her son are abucted from an Atlanta baseball park. The story unfolds and John Goodman (main character and narrator) describes the events to the FBI profiler that lead him to kill.

    Ending Description

    Readers quickly discover that the real horror unfolding is twofold: the murderous activities described by Goodman himself, and the twisted transformations of those around him – culminating in a shocking, high stakes ending.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    Yes

    ISBN

    978-1-7334668-1-3

    Mature Audience Themes

    Extreme Violence,Sexual Abuse, Language/Profanity

    Plot - Other Elements

    Philosophical Questions,Twist,Other

    Plot - Premise

    Tragedy

    Main Character Details

    Name: John Goodman

    Age: Seventy-five

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Masculine,Power Hungry,Skillful,Adventurous,Badass,Aggressive,Complex,Crazy,Decisive,Villainous,Narcisstic,Unapologetic,Lone Wolf,Blunt,Sarcastic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Karla Hack

    Age: mid-forties

    Gender: Female

    Role: Antagonist

    Key Traits: Underdog,Adventurous,Aspiring,Complex,Confident,Crazy,Sexy,Patriotic,Desperate,Heroic,Sophisticated,Strong Moral Code

    Additional Character Details

    Name: William Hack

    Age: nine

    Gender: Male

    Role: protagonist

    Key Traits: Complex,Obedient,Secretive,Narcisstic,Aspiring,Villainous

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Chris AKA I-10 murderer

    Age: Mid-twenties

    Gender: Male

    Role: sidekick

    Key Traits: Aspiring,Underdog,Clumsy,Manipulative,Insecure

    Genre

    DRAMA, SUSPENSE

    Brief

    John was abused as a child by his mother's pimp. He grows up to love to kill, and kills her and his abuser at a young age. Karla, an FBI agent, whose father disappeared when she was small, is kidnapped with her son. When she awakens, she is in torture chamber facing her long lost father, John.

    Overall Rating

    GOOD

    Point of View

    THIRD PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: GOOD

    Characterization: EXCELLENT

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: EXCELLENT

    Pace: GOOD

    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: GOOD

    Theme: GOOD

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    The book profile accurately reflects the book.

    Draw of Story

    John is watching a future serial killer emerge in the actions of a young boy in the park. He also reveals his murderous tendencies when he explains he is excited to continue torturing the woman he has kidnapped. His dark and twisted mind is on full display from the beginning.

    Possible Drawbacks

    The accounts of his sexual abuse are vivid and clearly disturbing but give an great understanding of adult John and his actions. The story doesn't shy away the gruesome acts John inflicts on his victims.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    The hook is that John, a serial killer, kidnaps his estranged daughter and grandson when he notices his grandsons affinity for killing. I would watch the movie to see the inner thought process of the serial killer.

    Fanbase Potential

    This could have a large fanbase because an exploration into the mind of unique individuals draws attention. There is a horror element to the story with suspense which adds some excitement to the story.

    Awards Potential

    This does have awards potential. The story is character driven exploring a distinctly different psyche. John is a serial killer and the story is from his perspective giving a greater understanding of the motives and tendencies. This would be a meaty role for an experienced actor to take on that would also garner awards attention.

    Envisioned Budget

    MEDIUM BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    LOVELY BONES, DEXTER

    What’s New About the Story

    The story is original because of the familial connection between John and his latest victim. He takes his daughter and grandson captive. He recognizes the desire to kill in his grandson, wanting to pass down his legacy. The ending is very unique with a few unsuspecting twists.

    Lead Characters

    The lead character stands out because of his unapologetic lifestyle. He enjoys raping, torturing and murdering people. He is very calm and calculate while taking pride in his work. John is a overall interesting character with heinous secrets.

    Uniqueness of Story

    This is not a rare gem because there are multiple stories about sociopaths. This story is gruesome but intriguing as the audience sees the horrible childhood that led John to his current life and also touching on the community of serial killers. John has friends who love torture and murder as he does and he takes his grandson under his wing considering his murderous tendencies as family traits to be fostered.

    Possible Formats

    Film: Studio, Indie, Streaming TV Series: Limited Run / Mini-Series, Cable, Streaming

    Analyst Recommendation

    CONSIDER

    Justification

    This story is a consider because it has the potential for great acting. The story is very dark but has an interesting perspective on serial killers. John's thoughts drive the story and not a protagonist racing against the clock to bring down the killer before he strikes again. This story focuses on the motivation and urges behind the kill. John taking in his grandson creates the possibility to further the story.

    Brief

    Karla Hack, a successful profiler for the FBI, is abducted with her son William during their vacation. Karla wakes up and finds out that she is held captive in a room with her captor and a prostitute. In that scenario, John Goodman tells her about how he evolved from a timid 12-year-old boy into a diabolical and ruthless killer. He has built a legacy and wants to share his story.

    What We Liked

    ‘Crazy Is as Crazy Does’ provides an insight into the psychological nature of a serial killer, examining the negative impacts of dysfunctional family environments on children, and the role DNA plays in influencing behavior. It’s also original the way he develops his journey meeting real-life murderers along the way.

    Film: This is a riveting, first-person psychological thriller that goes deep into the life of an experienced serial killer. The story has all the ingredients to appeal to a mature audience, it’s packed with gory details, violent scenes, and explicit descriptions. John Goodman, the protagonist villain, is an evil combination of human predation and darkness, and, although he is a fictional protagonist, the circumstances of his life are highly influenced by historical actual characters and events. There’s room to explore the negative impacts of abusive families on children and also the role DNA plays in shaping personality.

    TV: The story begins in 1955 and follows John Goodman as he evolves from a 12-year-old boy into a mastermind of intimidation and deception as he reaches the age of 75. As he tells Karla about his crimes, flashbacks reveal more of his journey. There are numerous characters and stories to be told in different episodes. Even though Goodman is fictional, he runs into real-life murderers along the way that, in a TV series, would serve as easter eggs for the audience to recognize.

    Key points:
    Villain point of view
    Real-life characters
    Mature audience
    Dysfunctional family discussions
    Original plot

    Synopsis

    It’s an afternoon in April 2018 and John Goodman, a man in his mid-70s, observes a boy in a public park in Atlanta, Georgia. His name is William and he is 9 years old. His mother, Karla Hack, watches him from a certain distance. At the end of the day, Chris, John’s protégé, follows Karla and William out of the park, sticks her with a needle until she falls unconscious, and takes them inside to a van.

    Karla is in her mid-forties and works with the FBI for over 20 years as a serial killer profiler. Her life runs into some trouble cases: her father and uncle disappeared when she was very young, and years later, when she was pregnant with William, Karla found her husband and his lover butchered on her bed soaked in blood and a note from a serial killer.

    When Karla wakes up, she finds out that she is held captive in a kill room built inside a soundproof barn with her captor, Chris, and a prostitute named Crystal, while William is in a spare room. John begins telling her the story of his life.

    When John was 11, his mother was addicted to heroin and was having an affair with her pimp drug dealer to pay for her drugs, but she was also pimping the young John to the dealer. On a certain day, his stepfather caught the boy being raped and shot his head consumed by guilt and shame for letting that happen. John saw the opportunity to kill the drug dealer and also his mother. After that, he started living with his aunt Julie.

    An easy target of bullies, John and his best friend Rodney started going after every kid that had crossed them and killing their pets decapitated. They were inseparable, until the day he lost control and killed Julie in the last year of high school. He ended up in a Catholic orphanage in Texas. There, he stole a birth certificate and SSN of an older boy, changed his name and age, and joined the army, which helped him build an aggressive mindset and sharpen his killing skills. He started banging prostitutes and killing two a day.

    Rodney and John befriended the Golden State Killer, Joe. At that time, John was living with Rodney’s half-sister and got her pregnant. Rodney was upset with that and John promised him he would vanish from her life before the girl was born. Rodney became unstable and Joe killed him.

    As he tells Karla about his crimes and his methods of killing, he also reveals how he has met several murderers along the way, such as The Zodiac Killer, Charles Whitman, Ed Kemper, Ted Bundy, James Huberty, and Aileen Wuornos. At that point, John reveals he is Karla’s father and she realizes that John is the man who murdered her husband. John says he did all of that to make it clear to Karla he is her father and hoping she would stop tracking other exterminators.

    After a fight in the kill room, Karla escapes. William finds the kill room and John tells him he is his grandfather. Karla sees the action and goes crazy, snapping William’s neck and cutting her wrists, so the cycle of violence coming from John’s DNA would end right there. She died and William regains consciousness since she had only twisted his neck. William helps John and John decides to teach Wiliam how to plan for anything he wants to do.

    About The Author

    John H. Mudgett is pseudonymous for the author David Brown, a Navy veteran. 'Crazy Is as Crazy Does: The Life of a Serial Killer' is his debut novella and won a silver medal in the 12th annual eLit Book Awards for Psychological Horror.