THE DARK FOUNTAIN by Jay Robert Nash


Email this review


Based on the real mid-1920s career of Earle Leonard Nelson: a grisly, obvious, undistinguished study of a psychopathic mass murderer. Born of soon-dead syphilitic parents, Nelson himself is apparently born with brain syphilis (so a Bible-pounding aunt tells us), experiencing horrible headaches as a baby and having his skull cracked open by a streetcar cowcatcher at five. The insane orphan isn't institutionalized, however, until arrested and convicted of rape at 20. Subsequently he escapes jail six times, kills and robs an army payroll guard, marries and abuses a music teacher, then disappears for five years--and begins his two-year rape/murder orgy: 22 victims, whom he identifies with the dead sex priestesses of antiquity. Throughout his madness Nelson--whose mind we're often inside--never accuses himself of guilt; indeed, he regularly quotes his Bible passages when indulging in necrophilia. And always on his tail is San Francisco detective sergeant John Davis, who Finally nails him in Canada. Some dreadful documentary horror--but mostly a lurid, unconvincing psychomix of fact and fiction.

Pub Date: April 26th, 1982
Publisher: A & W