Ready for ‘Murder Under the Mistletoe’? Real crime shows how celebrating the holiday

It’s less than 30 days until Christmas, and Daphne Woolsoncroft has too many holiday killings to fit her programming schedule.

Woolsoncroft, co-host real sin audio file Go West with her partner Heath Merryman, enjoys covering the macabre cases set during the fun season.

“We consider the holidays to be these cozy times, and when something terrible happens, it makes [a case] more interesting,” Woolsoncroft told The Daily Beast. “It just hit harder, because this is a time of fun.”

Last year, the podcast told the story of the Martin family, who disappeared in 1958 while shopping for a Christmas tree, and Jonelle Matthews, a 12-year-old Colorado girl who went missing in 1984 after returning to the theater. Christmas carols at a nursing home.

In 2019, Going West reported on the horrifying case dubbed the “Covina massacre”, in which a 45-year-old man wearing a Santa Claus suit killed 9 members of his ex-wife’s family. himself in a mass shooting.

“In the case of Beryl Atherton (a grisly 1950 murder in Massachusetts), the setting makes the story feel a bit more like a movie,” said Jerryman, a co-host. “The story sets up like a horror novel; There’s a big storm hitting town right now, and it’s the holidays. They didn’t discover her body until the storm subsided — there’s something historic and classic about it. It doesn’t have to get rid of the fact that she’s a real human being, because we’re also talking about a DNA test that can solve this case, which is what we’re interested in. “

Going West is definitely not the only one real crime show tries to put a dose of holiday cheer into a schedule that revolves around serial killers, married couple murders and other gruesome real-life stories. Oxygen aired documents with unbelievable titles Murder on vacation since 2016.

It’s a classic real crime formula: interviews with surviving victims, police and attorneys who worked on the case, plus a few polite re-enactments for some of the characters, plus a slick voice-over narrator that takes us on together.

A representative for Oxygen was unable to provide producers or executives with comment to The Daily Beast about the show, but noted that the season premieres December 6 and will air four episodes that week, with titles like “The Last Thanksgiving,” “The Six Delays of Christmas,” “Murder of the Christmas Tree Farmer,” and “Murder Under the Mistletoe.”

In the preview for this season, a Midwestern detective – who looked stellar from the central selection round – was stuck in front of the camera, “There’s no doubt about this. [murder] will shine during the Christmas holidays. “It’s amazing that these murders happen at Christmas time,” another officer said to the camera, as the soundtrack sublimated into a chorus of carnival bells.

Consider the Christmas murders or Thanksgiving gossip is just another niche in the ever-saturated true crime genre. As Ringer reported in july, citing statistics from streaming data company Parrot Analytics, documentaries are the “fastest-growing segment of the streaming industry,” with the real crime being the “documentary segment.” largest” and “growing faster than nearly all other segments”.

So it makes sense some of that gore would flow over the holidays. Last year, Australian YouTuber Bella Fiori released “12 Days of Christmas” in which she released another December-themed case before the holiday. (Fiori did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.) Investigative Discovery, the most popular true-crime channel on TV, will air “Black Friday Marathon” this week, in an effort to attract more subscribers to its streaming service.

Scott Bonn, PhD, is a criminologist and author who has contributed his expertise to several true-crime documentaries. He calls the holidays real crime showing “basically exploitation.”

“Crime is really a cultural phenomenon and let’s face it, it’s a commodity,” Bonn said. “We have an extremely crowded market right now, with a lot of networks devoted entirely to real crime and a bunch of podcasts. So you need to stand out, create a reason for everyone to get on board. So they are taking advantage of the sacred time of the year and using it as a marketing activity. “

“There is a fine line often drawn between what I might call objective, socially conscious programming and pure sensationalism and exploitation.”

– Scott Bonn

Bonn has never been in a documentary or a true holiday crime series. “Criminal is really something of the evergreen genre, and I am fascinated by it myself,” he said. “But there is a fine line frequently drawn between what I might call objective, socially conscious programming and pure sensationalism and exploitation. A lot of time, [holiday] Programming falls into the realm of exploitation. ”

Dawn K. Cecil, a professor and chair of criminology at the University of South Florida’s St.Petersburg campus, agrees that these programs exist primarily because of “marketing and competition.” She added that stories involving friends and family are often the most common of all real-life murder stories.

“These stories show us the ultimate betrayal and revolve around understandable motives like revenge, greed, love, lust and jealousy,” says Cecil. “And given the fact that going out with family on the holidays can be stressful, some viewers may enjoy these stories because it shows them that their family isn’t all that bad.”

Woolsoncroft agrees that a lot of crime is actually sensationalism. She wants her audience to understand that the subjects of her story are real people, not just victims. A good part of each episode is devoted to detailing the victim’s background and the life they lived through before being murdered.

“Many people exploit the cases in a crude and disturbing way, where you forget that this is a true story,” says Woolsoncroft. “But with holiday stories, these are still tragedies and still happen to people. I don’t consider it exploitative just because a story is told at the same time of year it happened. It should still be out there. ”

The Going West hosts plan to take a few breaks from their biweekly schedule to air something other than Christmas stories. “Nobody wants to just hear about the holidays in December,” says Woolsoncroft. “There’s so many cases that come on the air, it’s worrisome. We sometimes ask ourselves, will we ever run out? It’s sad to think: No, we’re not. ” Ready for ‘Murder Under the Mistletoe’? Real crime shows how celebrating the holiday


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