The Murder Farm
Andrea Maria Schenkel
The Murder Farm is a translation of a 2006 German novel that fictionalizes the true story of a sensational crime involving the slaughter of three generations of a farm family in 1920s Bavaria. In re-casting the tragic events, author Andrea Maria Schenkel provides her own solution to the unsolved murders while updating everything to the 1950s. That change of date lets her say something about post-War German guilt and also reflects our current low estimation of rural lifeways. The family farm has, in our own time, become a generic location of horror films. Rural routes are now the inbred, backward, and bloodthirty hinterland where regular city-folk only end up when they take a wrong turn off the highway. Schenkel helps herself to the stereotype, but puts an interesting spin on it by presenting the story in the form of a modernist collage that intercuts narrative sections with first-person accounts taken from interviews with witnesses. The result is a dark fairy tale wherein evil slides just beneath the surface of everyday reality like a half-forgotten but still disturbing dream.