A brief history of axes and notable murders, news items, movies, comics and “The Lesser of Two Evils”: murder by axe or murder by sword?

Music: “Butcher Pete” by Roy Brown

Images

Movies

So I Married an Axe Murderer
Toren: 7/10
Joe: 7/10

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Toren: 8/10
Joe: 9/10

Two Towers
Toren: 7/10
Joe: 9/10

Return of the King
Toren: 7/10
Joe: 9/10 (they all blur together)

The Shining
Toren: 8/10
Joe: 8/10

American Psycho
Joe: 7/10

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Showing 22 comments
  • Wirrrn

    Greetings from the Land of Horrible People!

    Axe-ellent episode! Pop Culture-
    EVIL DEAD (1981)- The Deadites possessing Ash’s friends only die when hacked into gory component parts by a trusty axe.

    THE PREY- a horror film from 1984 starring Carel Struycken (Lurch in the Addams Family movies) as the monster, features the tagline “It’s not human… and it’s got an Ax!”- something of a cheat, as it IS human and only has an axe for one of the killings.

    EDGE OF THE AXE (1988)- a Spanish/American co production in which a deranged lunatic in a rain slicker and a Halloween-esque mask hacks people to death with an axe; Our hero investigates and finds the killer is a lot closer to home than he would like…

  • banks!

    If you guys ever had a fifty dollar bill in your hands, you have seen Prime Minister Borden.

    Prime Minister Borden did quite a number of things to forge Canada into a nation. Some good. Some bad. Depends on your point of view.

    He was Prime Minister during the First World War. He insisted that Canada be represented as a nation which mean Canada got a seat in the League of Nations.

    On the down side, he introduced the first income tax and authourised the use of force to put down the Winnipeg Labour Strike which eventually lead to the formation of the RCMP.

    Interestingly enough, Borden and the Liberal party lost power when he tried to establish Free Trade with the US. The Conservatives lobbied against him and won. Later in the 1980’s, it was the Conservative party that pushed through NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) so I guess they came around 100 years later.

    As far as axes go, you could have mention the video game Golden Axe which I know we all played back in the late 80’s/early 90’s. Also, the song ‘Give Me That Axe, Eugene’ by Pink Floyd which was the inspiration for local rockers, Eugene’s Axe.

    I also have two axe related tales from my childhood. Perhaps I’ll save them for a later podcast.

    • Toren

      Golden Axe was on the list of stuff to discuss but none of us had played it so it got cut. If you’ve got a Golden Axe story we’d like to hear it!

  • Keeffer

    As an architecture/interior design student you study Taliesen but never hear about the murders. When I went there they mention the fires (there was more than one) but they don’t mention the gruesome history. It wasn’t until I read a chick-lit frank lloyd wright bio called “Loving Frank” that I heard about the murders and fire. Now I want to go back and revisit the scene of the crime.

    Although I have to say the book was better not knowing how it ended.

  • Derek

    I just watched the Watchmen again last week and there was a pretty graphic scene involving a meat cleaver, which I guess isn’t actually an axe and more of a knife, but it certainly make me think of axes. Let me guess, knives is next week? 😉

    BTW, wasn’t Joe’s rating for American Psycho a 10/10, or did I mishear that?

    Great work, guys.

    • Toren

      AP 10/10 was Kevin.

  • Sirik

    Julian Carlton likely died of starvation due to his little muriatic-acid adventure. Hard to swallow “despite medical attention” and all.

  • Charles Mair

    @ banks: it’s “careful with that axe, eugene.”
    and i have no interesting golden axe stories, but i sure did play a lot of it. it’s one of those quarter eating games that you can play for a long time. like gauntlet or rampage. and i’m surprised that you didn’t mention the axe murder episode of kids in the hall.

    • banks!

      Thanks Chuck. I was too lazy to look it up.

  • Charles Mair

    oh, and the character steppenwolf in the dc universe has a big axe.

  • Charles Mair

  • Jon Snow

    Last of the Mohicans had some good axe fighting, Hawkeye’s father has a pretty crazy axe he uses to chop people: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_y3On0HCfgF0/TMXUjMfNpNI/AAAAAAAAAyk/surxSi4QO_I/s1600/3360_5.jpg

  • Jon Snow

    Updated with video of the axe fighting…if you’re planning to watch the movie it is totally spoiling the last 10 minutes which is…you know…kind of important:

  • She Fights Like A Girl

    By the way, I spent the night in Lizzie Borden’s bedroom. Among the current house staff, my informal survey found them to be split about 50/50 on the subject of her guilt.

  • Jeb Card

    Ok, several axe-related things

    1.) For about a million years, the primary stone tool of Homo erectus, and therefore of humanity, was a tool called the Acheulian hand axe. However, it was almost certainly not a hafted blade, but literally an axe (or knife) in the hand. This was the highest known technology in Europe, Africa, and Asia west of Bengal from about 1.7 million years ago until a few hundred thousand years ago (whether there were similar tools in China is somewhat disputed).

    2.) A famous ethnographic film is The Axe Fight, recording a violent dispute within a Yanomamo village in South America. What’s ground breaking about is that it shows the fight and arguments three times, adding explanation of the social and political context of what was going on, so that a chaotic fight ends up making sense in light of larger group issues. On the other hand, some have alleged that fights such as that in the film may have been prompted accidentally by the anthropologist and film-maker bringing in substantial quantities of manufactured goods as gifts for the people he studied.

    3.) I played Golden Axes as a kid, and I believe it was the first arcade game I ever beat. It followed the Atari model of having to feed it lots of quarters to keep playing, which is probably why I beat it (feed enough money, and you could win). It was a fantasy themed brawler game with up to three players, one of whom was a Gimli-esque dwarf who carried an axe. The combat mechanics weren’t all that innovative, but it had a lot of fantasy atmosphere, and a few neat tricks (being able to ride steeds in combat, bonus scenes where gnomes would attempt to steal from your camp at night, and you could beat the snot out of them to get extra magic potions and such.

    4.) Role playing games seem to love the axe. Fantasy games of course have battle axes. But even sci-fi games have them, usually as either a plasma or laser axe, or a vibro axe. None of which make any sense, even less than a laser sword (because by definition, the axe is a stick, so you’ve attached a laser or plasma or what not to a long stick).

  • Jeb Card

    Oh, and many stone axes from the Neolithic or other non-metal using cultures around the world were not all that sharp. They might look like this, and simply need to be harder than wood to be effective.

    http://www.mjking.org/family/jlevers/axehead.jpg

  • Bobby Zigs

    I wasn’t sure if I should post this in “Axes of Evil” or the Cannibalism episode, but how is this for In the News?

    A guy in Connecticut is being held on US$1 million bond for allegedly murdering a homeless man with an ax and then eating part of the body. From the Connecticut Post:

    http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Man-accused-of-cannibalism-held-on-1-million-bond-2915789.php

    I just caught this in my national news feed. Anybody else notice this?

  • Amy

    Just getting around to this episode now:

    1. Lizzy Borden – one of the reasons they were able to acquit her, despite the evidence, is that by some statistical anomaly there was another axe murder in the vicinity, so it held up her claims of an intruder (despite the doors all being locked from the inside and the intruder having to hide somewhere for an hour and a half between murdering the step mother and the father.)

    2. What about the Axe gang from Kung Fu Hustle? The best dancing axe murderers I’ve ever seen.

  • Josh

    Hello hello,

    That Australian you met, who described the female genitals as an ‘axe wound’ is what we call a ‘bogan’ and was not representing Australians in general, just bogans.

    • Toren

      Is that your version of hillbilly, redneck or frat boy?

      • Derek

        City-based redneck should cover it. And I agree with Josh, that’s certainly not representative of Australians – I’ve certainly never heard of it. “Gash”, as revolting as it sounds, but not “axe wound”. Brings back memories of Wolf Creek. *shudder*

  • Leigh

    I bought the combo Gerber Ax for my husband several years ago. I pretty sure that the knife is held in a magnet that’s not even that strong. If you tap the ax not very hard the knife will come out. I’m not even talking about use the ax for chopping, just knocking the handle would do it. We only ever put the knife in handle when we were packing it around.