Why You See a Face in the Bloody ‘Mindhunter’ Inkblot

By Lucy Huang
on June 17, 2017
Inverse (Science & Chill)

Droplets of blood fall and bloom in the trailer for the upcoming Netflix psychological thriller series Mindhunter. Between shots from the show, which will explore the FBI’s partnership with serial killers when it premieres on October 13, the drops expand and gather into symmetrical blotches, forming the well-known shapes of a Rorschach test. For some viewers, they may seem to pool, eventually, into a very familiar pattern. If you start seeing an agonized face in the crimson splotch, you’re not the only one.

The Rorschach test was developed in 1918 by Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach, who made the ink blots himself by dribbling ink onto paper and folding them in half. Rorschach, who believed the test could help psychologists understand their patient’s perception and mental grasp, asked people what they saw in the blots and then analyzed their responses. What he was really doing was exploiting a natural phenomenon called pareidolia, which occurs every time we see things that aren’t actually there.

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Five Questions for: David Fincher

Interview by Ellie Walker-Arnott
October 10-16, 2017
Time Out (London)

DIRECTOR DAVID FINCHER is renowned for exploring the darker recesses of the human psyche, with brilliantly unsettling crime thrillers ‘Se7en’, ‘Zodiac’ and ‘Gone Girl’ to his name. Now he’s bringing his forensic eye to the FBI’s elite serial killer unit with a new Netflix series ‘Mindhunter’. Prepare for a trip to the dark side.

1- This isn’t the first time you’ve looked at serial killer psychology. What was it about this story that intrigued you?

‘“Mindhunter” is about a lot of things. It was a time and a place where the FBI had to begin to understand they didn’t know everything about criminality. I was taken with this idea that, in order to truly comprehend your enemy, you have to empathise with them.’

2- ‘Mindhunter’ is set post-Watergate in 1979. Do you think it also speaks to today’s political turmoil?

‘My parents lived through the Great Depression, assassinations and the Cuban missile crisis. They thought the world couldn’t get more crazy. My dad, who was a journalist, would probably be shocked at how things are now. In every generation, humanity finds a way to shock and disturb.’

3- You’ve done TV before with ‘House of Cards’. How does it compare to making feature films?

‘A motion picture is like a band’s first album. There’s a lot of time figuring out what you want to be. Television is more like a second album. “Quick! We need another album”. It’s more frenetic, but allows you time for characterisation. The audience have to invite you into their home and be willing to go places that you want to take them.’

4- You’ve spoken before about wanting to shock audiences. Is that always your intention?

‘If you’re just shocking people for the sake of it I don’t know that it becomes indelible. The most indelible moments an audience has with a film come from a subconscious place, from curiosity. People won’t go into the basement with you unless they want something.’

5- The movies that you’ve made stick with people. What films have left that kind of impression on you?

“‘The Exorcist” still troubles me. “Jaws” is incredibly evocative. I can remember the summer of ’75 because of “Jaws”.’ ■

‘Mindhunter’ is available on Netflix from Fri Oct 13.

David Fincher Knows Exactly Why We’re All So Obsessed With True Crime

Eliana Dockterman
Oct 10, 2017
Time

David Fincher has made a career of delving into abnormal minds, with Seven, Fight Club, Zodiac, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Gone Girl. But he says his newest project, Mindhunter, isn’t about psychopaths. It’s about the people who figured out how to hunt psychopaths — and that’s an important distinction.

Fincher produced and directed four episodes of the addictive new Netflix show, which starts streaming Oct. 13. The series is about the agents who interviewed the likes of Charles Manson and the Son of Sam in order to better understand the psychology of mass murderers. By doing so, they created a psychological profile for these killers that would allow the FBI to catch similar psychopaths more quickly in the future.

The show is based on the real life events chronicled in the book Mindhunter by the FBI agents who coined the term “serial killer.” But Fincher says he struggled with how deeply the show should dive into the details of these grisly murders. “I said many times as we were in the process of making the show, ‘Wait a minute, we’re making this show about serial killers. We’re not making this show for serial killers,'” the director says.

Fincher spoke to TIME about why he hates the idea of becoming the “serial killer director,” casting the cheery Glee star Jonathan Groff in a dreary role and why we’re all so obsessed with true crime stories.

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A little behind the scenes teaser for Mindhunter

Christopher Probst (Instagram)

Netflix debuts filmed-in-Pittsburgh ‘Mindhunter’

Photo: On the set of David Fincher’s ‘Mindhunter’ in Pittsburgh, PA (15 July 2016) (John Sant, Twitter)

by Rob Owen
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
8 Oct 2017

The first season of Netflix’s filmed-in-Pittsburgh 1970s FBI psychological dramaMindhunterhas been shrouded in secrecy from the start, but the show finally sees the light of day on the streaming service Friday.

Mindhunter” is executive produced by David Fincher, who also directed four installments in the 10-episode first season. Mr. Fincher previously brought Netflix its early scripted hit drama “House of Cards.”

Mindhunter” stars Jonathan Groff (“Looking”) as FBI agent Holden Ford, an upstanding young agent who gets partnered with a jaded veteran, Bill Tench (Holt McCallany, “Lights Out”). The pair are part of the FBI’s “road school,” traveling the country to meet local law enforcement and share details of the bureau’s latest techniques. Along the way, they are asked to consult on local cases.

But they also interview incarcerated serial killers in an attempt to understand what makes these damaged men tick as the FBI pair pioneers research into deviant minds for the bureau’s behavioral science division.

Just because there are intense interview scenes between wet-behind-the-ears Ford and these killers, don’t compare “Mindhunter” to 1991’s “Silence of the Lambs,” even though both were influenced by the work of real-life FBI profiler John Douglas. In “Silence” the Scott Glenn character, Jack Crawford, was supposedly inspired in part by Mr. Douglas; the “Mindhunter” producers bought the rights to Mr. Douglas’ 1995 book “Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit,” which inspired the Netflix series. Ford and Tench are fictional characters, but the serial killers they interview are based on real people.

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David Fincher’s MINDHUNTER is coming to NYFF

Showtimes: Wednesday, October 11. 9:00 PM
Venue: Alice Tully Hall
Buy Tickets

David Fincher
111 minutes

In this long-awaited adaptation of John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker’s 1996 chronicle of Douglas’s career in the FBI’s Investigative Support Unit, developed and produced for Netflix by David Fincher and writer Joe Penhall, Jonathan Groff (Hamilton, Looking) is Holden Ford, an instructor at Quantico in the late ’70s who plunges headfirst into the still-emerging field of criminal psychology and profiling. In the first two episodes, meticulously directed by Fincher, Ford’s evolving fascination with psychology takes him on the road with Special Agent Bill Tench (Holt McCallany, Lights Out) and to a face-to-face meeting with a looming, near-sighted, baby-faced serial killer (Cameron Britton). A chilling, engrossing, and thoroughly mesmerizing experience. A Netflix Original series.