Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee – The Root of All Evil (Review)

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Nanette Burstein  (who has a number of documentaries under her belt including the 2002 film “The Kid Stays in the Picture” which was a close look at coke head film producer Robert Evans) takes on John McAfee. Burstein does a good job peeling back the multiple layers of B.S. that surrounds the software tycoon and megalomaniac.

“The Dangerous Life of John McAfee” is a bit of a misnomer, although the film’s title could be seen as a skewed accusation.  For a man suspected of two murders and at least one chemically coerced rape, it seems life is more dangerous for those around the father of anti-virus software than for McAfee himself.

Documentary director Burstein plots the rise and increasingly odd behavior of McAfee.  From his forced buy out from the company that bore his name to his eventual migration to Belize. Once there McAfee wasted no time building a personal army of security guards and buying off the local police.

Watching the Showtime documentary it is clear that McAfee is, at times, beyond eccentric.  Several of the people interviewed by Bernstein come out and say the man is “batch*t crazy.” While in Belize, the software mogul definitely appeared to be delusional.

After his brief term as a yoga master, which, incidentally, appeared to be focussed on sex, McAfee moves to Belize. Apart from his armed bodyguards and accumulation of girlfriends and hookers, McAfee seems to  have believed he could replicate the 1992 Sean Connery film Medicine Man. 

Hiring a Harvard graduate to turn plants into medicine, McAfee spent his time granting interviews about a nonexistent products and looking for investors.

Later he was believed responsible for the deaths of two men in the area and the Harvard grad has accused him of rape. That John McAfee suffers from megalomania is apparent from his email correspondence with Bernstein and his threats.

The documentary speaks with a vast number of people in Belize, including the man thought to be responsible for carrying out the killing of McAfee’s next door neighbor.

By the end of the film, the subject of the documentary does not come off very well.  Overall it is a story of a visionary whose brief time in the spotlight paid over the odds and gave him a taste for the spotlight. McAfee took his payoff and “lived large” in several different places.

The former software genius seems to have lost that visionary capability and has replaced it with sordid desires and an accumulation of power.  McAfee is also the embodiment of a modern day flimflam man, aka an entrepreneur.

Almost as an afterthought, the film points out that his home  was raided by the police looking for manufactured drugs.

It is revealed that the suspected meth was in fact something else. Reading other articles about McAfee and his flight from Belize to escape questioning and possible conviction for murder, it is clear that Bernstein wanted to focus on the homicides and not the alleged drug dealing.

Vice Gaming, whose reporter inadvertently caused McAfee’s arrest in Guatemala, mentions the sexual obsession side of the man. Their article focusses on bath salts, as a sex aid, and McAfee’s orgies. They also talk about his interest in scat.

The Showtime documentary leaves all that alone. Bernstein is interested in John’s two alleged murders and his other off the wall antics. One of which happened to be his bid for the white house.

(On a sidenote, it would not be surprising to learn that McAfee and Donald Trump are actually huge pals.)

It is interesting to note that a man with so much money responds with threats of violence and disturbing innuendos to Bernstein’s documentary. Rather than take legal action, that the man could clearly afford, he  opts for threats.

The documentary actually does a good job showing just how delusional and dangerous McAfee is.  While the man is not in Belize any longer he still has enough money to cause problems in this country as well.

Fortune reports that McAfee is fighting back against the documentary. Like everything else on file about the man, it appears to be a form of  self aggrandizement. His version of events makes him a  victim of the press and Showtime in particular.

Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee is steaming on Showtime. Stop by and check this documentary out.  Watch this take on an “ugly American” who built his own gang in Belize. McAfee comes across as the root of all evil in this film and not just because of the fortune lining his coffers.

This documentary proves that money may not be able to  buy happiness but it can pay for the murder of two people in another country.

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Infliction: Documentary Style Film has Great Story but Slow Pace

Infliction: Documentary Style Film has Great Story but Slow Pace

Infliction is the latest film by writer/director Jack Thomas Smith and the documentary style film does have a great story, but moves along at a slow pace. This is the director’s second feature, the first being his 2006 debut film Disorder and both features deal with the dark theme of murder. In this film, however, the emphasis is more on familial origins and interactions with all their direct and indirect consequences. Publicized as being the actual footage of two brothers and their murder spree it comes close to depicting that premise.

Infliction: Documentary Style Film has Great Story but Slow Pace

Infliction: Documentary Style Film has Great Story but Slow Pace

Infliction is the latest film by writer/director Jack Thomas Smith and the documentary style film does have a great story, but moves along at a slow pace. This is the director’s second feature, the first being his 2006 debut film Disorder and both features deal with the dark theme of murder. In this film, however, the emphasis is more on familial origins and interactions with all their direct and indirect consequences. Publicized as being the actual footage of two brothers and their murder spree it comes close to depicting that premise.

The Devils Rejects (2005): Zombie Western Horror

Rob Zombie wrote and directed this sequel to House of a 1000 Corpses. After the financial success of Corpses Lions Gate Entertainment were eager for Zombie to make another film.

Rob had an idea for a sequel while filming Corpses about the sheriff’s brother coming after the Firefly clan in an act of deadly revenge. With the idea in place Zombie began to craft The Devil’s Rejects  with the aim of making the film less comedic and more horrific.

Rob stated that he wanted it to feel a bit likeThe Wild Bunch , Bonnie and Clyde and Badlands. The influence of all three films can be seen in the final cut of Rejects.

The Devil’s Rejects opens with the Sheriff’s brother, Sheriff Wydell (William Forsythe) surrounding the Firefly house with a posse of lawmen. After telling the besieged family to surrender or die a prolonged shoot-out ensues with every one in the house being shot to rag-doll ribbons.

Otis (Bill Mosely) and Baby (Sherri Moon Zombie) manage to escape, but Mother Firefly is captured by Wydell. Otis and Baby after murdering a nurse to steal her car hide out at a motel.

At the motel Baby starts flirting with Roy (Geoffrey Lewis) who part of a country music band and when they head back to Roy’s room, Otis shows up and they take the entire band hostage. What follows is the hardest part of the film to watch.

Gone are the comedic undertones that make Corpses so amusing. Otis and Baby have grown p as it were and they set upon the band member with vicious and horrific acts of violence. Otis rapes Roy’s wife Gloria (Priscilla Barnes) and later kills the two remaining men. He cuts one of their faces off and returns to the motel room with his victims face over his own.

The two contact their father Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig) and they meet at the motel. After their reunion they all go to the Chicken Ranch, a brothel run by family friend Charlie Altamont (Ken Foree) and his lackey Clevon (Michael Berryman).

Sheriff Wydell has hired two bounty hunters to help track down the remaining Firefly family members, one of the bounty hunters is Danny Trejo, they catch up with them at the chicken ranch.

The cast list of The Devil’s Rejects reads like a horror-thon reunion. P.J. Soles, Michael Berryman,  and Kane Hodder all make appearances in the film.

With his second feature Rob Zombie has fine tuned his cinematic and horror skills. Focusing more on the evil side of the Firefly brood, he has toned down the hilarity that was present in his first film. He also gives the characters a chance to show who and what they really are.

The interaction between Baby, Otis and dad, Captain Spaulding is touching, funny and revealing. That this family unit is dysfunctional is obvious and just as apparent is their love (however strange) for one another.

Yet despite the more horrific nature of the film and it’s lead characters, we are fond of the backwater Dionysian family and when the film ends to the music of Lynyrd  Skynyrd’s Free Bird we are sad and a little touched.