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Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Vampire of Sacramento: ‘Martin’ True Story Explored in Bloody Disgusting’s Podcast “Insidious Inspirations”

When you think of the late filmmaker George A. Romero, it’s likely that only one fictional monster comes to mind: Zombies. Through his seminal Living Dead series, starting with Night of the Living Dead in 1968, Romero reshaped the way we look at these flesh-eating revenants. But his zombie movies weren’t the only time he dabbled with the undead. After becoming a huge commercial and critical success, on May 10th, 1977, Romero released a strange, disturbing, and oddly artistic movie called Martin.

It was the story of a disturbed young man with a single driving obsession: Vampirism. Martin wholeheartedly believes that he’s a vampire, and must drink the blood of his beautiful female victims to survive. But Martin isn’t really a creature of the night, so he needs to use syringes and razor blades to get his fill of the red stuff. It’s one of Romero’s more obscure works, an unsettling, slow-burn character study that he considered to be his best film.

The tagline reads, “He could be the boy next door…”

And in one of life’s most disturbing coincidences, when the movie came out, someone much like Martin was getting ready to do something horrific. Seven months after Martin was released, a young and very unwell man named Richard Trenton Chase was about to let his lifelong bloodlust take control. This is the true story of The Vampire of Sacramento.

Richard Trenton Chase was born in Sacramento, California, on May 23rd, 1950, to a strict, authoritarian father and a mother who couldn’t care less. Young Richard was never a normal kid – He was quiet and depressive, an issue further exacerbated by his father’s alcoholism and physically abusive tendencies. Richard couldn’t connect with other children; his socially awkward mannerisms made others uncomfortable even then. The fact that his abusive home life led to him developing other embarrassing tendencies, like frequent bedwetting, only served to further isolate him.

Richard was developing frightening tendencies before he was even ten years old. An unstoppable rage was welling up inside him, and because he couldn’t express himself to others socially, he started finding more destructive outlets for his feelings. Young Richard would steal local pets and even wild animals, and torture them to death for his own amusement. This was also when he first experimented with what would soon become a lifelong obsession: Drinking blood. A twisted obsession that led to him being dubbed The Vampire of Sacramento.

When he wasn’t making the local pets disappear, though, he was causing other kinds of destruction. Richard was a budding arsonist and enjoyed setting fire to other people’s property, taking delight in watching them burn. Anyone who has a background in criminal psychology is probably feeling nervous right now, because bedwetting, animal cruelty, and arson are the three pillars of the MacDonald Triad. This was a theory created by the psychiatrist J.M. Macdonald, suggesting that these three traits are common predictors for later, more serious anti-social offenses.

And in the case of Richard Chase, this would prove to be tragically correct.

As Richard grew up, more local pets mysteriously disappeared or turned up horribly mutilated, and his mental state started to get worse. He had a few unsuccessful relationships in high school, which fell apart due to his inability to perform sexually. Psychiatrists who saw him at the time determined this was probably a result of Richard’s variety of psychological complexes and repressed rage. In hindsight, much like Martin, it was likely that Richard’s inability to get invested in a normal relationship came as a result of his personal interests laying far outside the norm.

Richard suffered from increasingly vivid delusions as he got older. While of course, mental illnesses don’t turn people into violent killers, the nature of Richard’s vampiric delusions gave his already violent tendencies a clear direction. In order to keep the symptoms of his sickness at bay, Richard made the terrible decision of self-medicating with alcohol and drugs, which actually only exacerbated the issues. It also made the problems in his home life even worse, as he started getting into violent arguments with his parents.

It was around this time that Richard started developing a serious case of hypochondria, anxiously believing that he had a variety of bizarre medical issues – Such as thinking his stomach was twisted in the wrong direction, believing his pulmonary artery had been stolen, and even that his heart was shrinking. Richard developed a rare condition known as the Cotard Delusion, which causes a person to believe that they’re dead, dying, or missing organs. In his own mind, he was already one of the undead…

Richard’s story only gets darker from here. We delve into the full story in this week’s episode of Insidious Inspirations. Listener beware, this is one of our darkest episodes yet.

If you like the show, consider subscribing on SpotifyApple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

The post Vampire of Sacramento: ‘Martin’ True Story Explored in Bloody Disgusting’s Podcast “Insidious Inspirations” appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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