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The Killer In The Backseat

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Abigayle Schulz

on 2 June 2014

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Transcript of The Killer In The Backseat

Killer in the Backseat
Introduction/ Thesis
Moral Lessons
"ALWAYS lock your car doors, even if you're gone for just a second"
"Check underneath your car when approaching it for reentry, and check in the back before getting in"
"Always be aware of your surroundings and other individuals in your general vicinity, particularly at night!"
Secondary Message: Listen to everything someone says before jumping to conclusions/ don't judge!!
Tertiary Message: Just trying to keep people (women) safe, people tell this story to warn others that this could happen so be aware.
This urban legend dates back as far as 1967 and became one of the best liked scary legends during that time.
Despite the legend's many variations and long history, there is no record of it ever really happening.
It is a cautionary tale warning us to be aware of our surroundings.
It may have been provoked by a real news story:
"Research shows that one true case of "The Killer in the Backseat" did occur in 1964 in New York City, when an escaped murderer hid in the backseat of a car. The car, ironically, belonged to a police detective who shot the man. The differences between the legend and the true occurrence are extensive (the real occurrence did not feature a lone female; it didn't necessarily happen at night; and no third person was involved)"
It has also been said that this legend is part of a gang initiation.
"The gang initiation theme surfaced again in 1999, with bad guys looking to join a gang lurking at gas stations in hopes of severing a body part off a woman as a trophy, and in 2000 with them lurking in the same venue, looking to kidnap a woman for the gang to rape".
While analyzing the urban legend,
The Killer in the Backseat
, we discovered that the setting is mainly based on the roles each gender is supposed to fulfill according to societies expectations.

Analysis & Stable/ Variable Features
Setting is usually on a dark road/ highway on the way home from a night out with friends.
The female is always the damsel in distress and the male is always saving her.
The person in the backseat is also always male.
"This legend first appeared at least as far back as 1967 and Cartoon of the legend quickly caught on, becoming one of the favorite scary legends of that period. In addition to circulating orally, it showed up in Ann Landers' column in 1982, presented as a harrowing experience that had befallen the letter writer's friend."
Stable Elements
Woman in a car
midnight - 3:00 am. (late at night)
Away from home.
killer is mostly never affiliated with the driver.
woman almost always stops at a gas station

Variable Elements
followed by another driver
man in backseat is either part of a gang or is a serial killer
A gas station attendant gets her away from the car and is either successful or not in his attempt to save her.
"She always needs a man to set the record straight. The task of rescuing her from a dangerous situation also falls to a guy; the woman is never involved in either containing the bad guy until the police arrive or in tussling with him if he tries to escape."
The guy is always the one to save the day, and also the killer, and the woman is always the damsel in distress. This shows that men are usually looked at as heroes in society and women as, not helpless, but not resourceful enough to defend themselves (not strong enough).
"Killer in the backseat" gas station version
Out of the people that we surveyed, 25 out of 38 had hear a version of this story, and 19 of those people were females.
Full transcript