James Ellroy’s Feast of Death


In which the Demon Dog discusses his obsession with unsolved murders whilst meeting cop friends (and Nick Nolte) over a series of dinners. Vikram Jayanti’s 90-minute film was made for the BBC’s Arena strand in 2001, and was later released on DVD. It’s one of the best films I’ve seen about Ellroy whose take-no-prisoners attitude can be gauged from the anecdote at the very beginning. Films about writers are often better when they’re like this, talking about the things that interest them rather than discussing their work in a manner which can get blunted by having to answer to the same questions over and over again. Discussion touches inevitably on the murder of Ellroy’s mother, and the Black Dahlia case. “…with very strong language, and scenes you may find disturbing…” Watch it here.

3 thoughts on “James Ellroy’s Feast of Death”

  1. I love Ellroy, but my Leftist friends look askance whenever I recommend his work. No one seems to get that his right-wing authoritarian pose is just that: a pose.

  2. Yeah, not surprising. I’ve only read LA Confidential (by a fluke I have a signed edition) but I admire Ellroy as a unique stylist. I don’t know much about his attitudes aside from things like this film, and I care less. People who judge art solely from an ideological position (and this applies across the political spectrum) are the worst kind of bores, and should be shunned for the sake of one’s mental health. You get the same kind of thing with HP Lovecraft, people pointing out his xenophobia as though it’s never been blindingly obvious from the most cursory reading of his stories, or been a subject of discussion for decades.

  3. I think there seems to be quite a lot of James Ellroy references in the current season of True Detective.

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