Entertainment

Canadian thriller Poor Agnes flips the script on female murderers

In the upcoming feature, Lora Burke plays an intelligent, albeit misguided woman who’s also a stone-cold sociopath.

Lora Burke plays a stone-cold sociopath in the Canadian thriller Poor Agnes.

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Lora Burke plays a stone-cold sociopath in the Canadian thriller Poor Agnes.

According to a recent Radford University study, less than 12 per cent of all serial killings are committed by women. In terms of Hollywood, that number is even less.

With few exceptions, cinema has traditionally shunned away from female murderers in mainstream movie plots. When a homicidal woman is portrayed, she’s usually a femme fatale motivated by sex. Now, a Canadian thriller is aiming to flip that script.

“We haven’t really seen anything like this in film,” said Lora Burke, of her starring role in the upcoming drama Poor Agnes. “The hook on this film was a strong woman, but wait — she’s doing what now?”

In the upcoming feature, Burke plays an intelligent, albeit misguided woman who’s also a stone-cold sociopath. When a sleuth comes knocking on her door, Agnes instinctively selects her next victim, imprisoning the innocent prey in her basement and psychologically torturing him into submissive compliance.

“Look, its entertainment at the end of the day,” laughed Burke. “(But) one of the things that’s prevalent, especially with what’s going on in Hollywood today, is this theme of power and abusing that position and what you do once you’re in power. If you’re Agnes, she grew drunk on it and did terrible things.”

After all, for as unkind as Hollywood has treated women, both on-screen and in real-life, Poor Agnes is defiant in shifting the dynamics of power in perhaps the most cathartic and metaphorical manner.

“I didn’t want to make it (that) she’s female therefore she’s doing this differently,” said Burke, who said the key to this character was actually stripping away gender politics.

“I don’t know that I looked at it from a male-female perspective — she’s just a sociopathic person who kills people.”

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Aileen Wuornos (Monster)

In 2004, Charlize Theron earned an Oscar for her portrayal of real-life killer Aileen Wuornos, a sociopathic prostitute who confessed to murdering several men in Florida in 1990.

Mrs. Voorhees (Friday the 13th)

In the original 1980 slasher film, a bunch of unlucky campers are slaughtered at the hands of the camp’s cook and maniacal matriarch of Jason — the franchise’s iconic masked murderer.

Tiffany (Bride of Chucky)

With the aid of a “Voodoo for Dummies” book, Jennifer Tilly morphs into a homicidal toy doll. Tiffany would eventually inspire real-life Russian killer Elena Lobacheva, who admits she was obsessed with the movie.

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