The other day I saw a trailer for the upcoming horror film, The Gift. The movie, starring Rebecca Hall as Robyn and Jason Bateman as Simon (in a non-comedic role, no less), is about a couple who finds themselves reacquainted with one of Simon's old high school rivals, Gordo (played by writer/director Joel Edgerton). As the story unfolds, however, we learn that sometimes grudges from the past can come back to bite us.
While most of us are able to blow off some steam and let go of old grudges over time, for others the time apart only makes the old wounds fester. This got me to thinking about revenge; is it really a dish best served cold?
Here are five real-life revenge stories that will make you terrified to see what The Gift might bring:
1. A Grudge Lasting Half a Century
In January of 2012, 73-year-old Carl V. Ericsson sought revenge for a locker room prank that had taken place 50 years prior by shooting 72-year-old Norman Johnson, a former high school instructor and beloved member of his community, killing him in cold blood.
Back in high school, Johnson was the well-liked, popular star athlete who was dating a cheerleader. Meanwhile, Ericsson's life was on the sidelines as a student manager. The details of the prank are somewhat fuzzy, the story goes that a jockstrap had been placed on Ericsson's head while the team taunted him. Whether Johnson was the one in charge or had just laughed a little too hard, his name stuck with Ericsson as the one to seek revenge against.
Ericsson, who suffered from recurrent depression and anxiety, began obsessing over the incident. One late winter night, Ericsson knocked on Johnson's door and asked, "Are you Norm Johnson?" Once Johnson confirmed his identity, Ericsson shot him twice in the face. Carl V. Ericsson was given a life sentence for his crime.
2. The Marked Man
Anthony Stockelman, who is facing a life sentence after being charged with the molestation and murder of 10-year-old Katlyn "Katie" Collman in 2006, has his crimes displayed for all the world to see.
After his sentencing, Stockelman was placed in the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. A few months into his time at the prison, guards woke up to Stockelman bearing a tattoo that reads "Katie's Revenge" across his forehead. Since crimes against children are considered the lowest of the low by other inmates, it was hard to pin down just who inked the murderer.
After an investigation, officials realized that Katie Collman's cousin Jared Harris, who had been arrested for burglary, was serving time in the same prison. It is suspected that in the dead of night, Harris cornered Stockelman in his cell and tattooed his forehead with his late cousin's name. The revenge doesn't quite match up to the crime, but now Stockelman's past will follow him wherever he goes.
3. Killer Teens
The 1954 Parker–Hulme murder case has been inspiration for books, plays, and the 1994 film Heavenly Creatures, and remains famous as one of the more chilling revenge stories of two young girls who turned against their own parents to stay together.
16-year-old Pauline Parker and 15-year-old Juliet Hulme were best friends and as close as two people could be. So close, in fact, that their parents feared they were overly obsessive of each other and may have even been lovers. Back in a time when homosexuality was consider a mental illness, their parents took steps to keep the girls away from one another.
When Juliet's parents decided to separate, they decided that they would use this as an opportunity to move Juliet from New Zealand to South Africa to live with relatives. When Pauline's mother, Honorah, refused to allow her to move to South Africa with Juliet, the two girls took revenge by bludgeoning Honorah to death with half a brick in an old stocking. Being as young as they were, the two girls were each sentenced to five years each. Both women are leading normal lives today and Parker has expressed a deep remorse for her crime.
4. A Student's Revenge
After being accused by his teacher of cheating 21 years earlier, a South Korean man named Kim went back to his former instructor seeking an apology, but instead ended up having to confess to murder.
As a 10th grade student, Kim was reportedly beaten by his teacher - who is only identified as Song - about 100 times after he was caught "cheating" on a test in 1987. In 2008, he decided to confront the teacher and demanded an apology. After calling his house and showing up at the school, the teacher rebuffed him time and time again until Kim finally snapped. Finally he showed up on his former instructor's doorstep, and after being ignored one last time, he attacked the 58-year-old Song and killed him.
These stories really make a person wonder, will the mistakes of your past come back to haunt you? If you haven't already, check out the creepy trailer for The Gift below:
The Gift will be delivered to us on August 7, 2015.