Viewers' Responses for the movie:

This is a very difficult film to watch as it is about the violence of children against other children.  Something that seems to be happening more in the past ten years and the question is why?  It was l994 in Holtville, California when a 13 year old neighbor boy stabbed to death a 14 year old girl.  He stabbed her 74 times and then carved a pentagram on her stomach. To say this was a disturbed boy is putting it mildly. 

Holtville's population is around 5,000.  It is located near the Mexican border and is an agricultural town.  Some people moved there because they thought it was a safe-haven from big city crime.  However, underneath the peaceful surface it is known as the "Methamphetamine and Heroin Capitol of the World."   

But murder is not a common occurrence and the Andrea Hines murder shocked the community and probably would have shocked the world more if the O.J. murders hadn't happened around the same time.  The media covered O.J. because he was famous but this crime should have gotten more attention as it affects every town and every society in America today. 

The boy was from divorced parents whose father left him early and whose mother was either too busy or too embarrassed to notice he was watching violent video games, listening to heavy metal music and studying witchcraft.  Also Andrea's father who was unemployed admits he was a drug abuser. But he  felt sorry for the boy and actually taught him how to use a knife as he was an avid hunter and thought hunting might give the boy a hobby. 

The boy admitted the killing and was sentenced to 10 years in the California Youth Authority.  He was released in 2005 and is now a potential risk to society because no one knows if counseling has changed his personality.   

 "Blitz Attack" is an excellent documentary because it makes us look at families and how adults should take more responsibility for raising their children.  The character of America stands in the balance. 

Santa Barbara, CA

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"Chilling...riveting, a multi-layered probe into the making of a horrific crime. A hard-hitting yet compassionate confrontation of some of the darker realities of modern America :  the fact that in many ways-- too many ways--ours is a narcissistic, image-driven, drug-dependent and violence-obsessed culture. Constance Jackson, in making Blitz Attack , renders a powerful, timely and ultimately heartbreaking portrait of what can happen when shame and humiliation are allowed to develop unchecked in a mind that is fascinated with violence. When such a mind commits the kind of crime that is so carefully unraveled in the film, it properly warrants being seen as an entire society's cry for help--indisputable evidence that something has gone terribly wrong at a personal as well as larger community level. Hence, the film is a compelling appeal to consider a question we too often avoid when humans commit heinous acts: how did it happen, really? In the case of the teenager in Blitz Attack who commits a brutal murder, we are prodded, merely by watching the film, to ask ourselves: Who created this murderer? We are aware that he didn't create himself, for no one does, really. So who or what created him and his crime?  Blitz Attack  does not directly answer this question, and herein lies its power and beauty. It presents us with a choice: see the murder as an isolated act of a tormented and twisted mind (there are plenty of facts presented to argue this case), or listen to the people touched by the crime, those whose lives will be forever wounded. Beneath the rage and the blame and the guilt, you can hear in their voices some as yet faint recognition of another, more difficult but more hopeful truth: that perhaps we really are our brother's keeper, and that when genuine help is here, the cries will no longer be necessary. 

Paul F. Dorin, Ph.D., MFCT/Author

"Truly a film for the family. Good luck with this film. I really enjoyed it and I’m sure it will do well."
London, England
"This is an amazing body of work. This is the first film I’ve seen that doesn’t exploit or sensationalize the victim or the 'perp'.”
San Diego, CA
"As a doctor in psychology, I wish my university had case studies available on this scale when I was a student. What a terrific study of a family who needs lots more therapy from this mind-blowing tragedy. I’m amazed that this family shared the level of intimacy and privacy that they did. The world can learn from them.
Los Angeles, CA

"My friend and I really appreciated seeing this film. Ms. Jackson sure did a great job!"
Monterey Park, CA 

"What a senseless murder. Heads need to roll other than that 13-year-old murderer."
Wilmington, CA

"I’m glad Erika is not my best friend. On second thought, if I were Andrea, I’d be proud to have Erika as my friend speaking on my behalf. She is a strong woman who was able to shed some light on this very very bizarre story."
La Jolla, CA

"Geeze! Is Skip still alive? He must be full of guilt. Vickie too. Christina too. The whole town should feel guilty. How could they miss this crazy kid’s behavior? Negligence was written all over the place—the school, Adan’s home, the Hines house, the lack of mental health services…. "
Orange County, CA

"I feel sorry for all of those poor people, even the town, but most of all, I feel sorry for Andrea and Adan who are forever lost." 
Boyle Heights , CA

“Blitz Attack: The Andrea Hines Story” is successful as a documentary because it skillfully weaves multiple points-of-view to create a multi-textured mystery of a heinous murder – without ever exploiting the subject or descending to sensationalism… In its “home movieish” way, it tastefully portrays a family and town, leaving the reader to participate in the interpretation of events. Why was 14-yr-old Andrea Hines murdered? The quest for answers probes deeper social, psychological, and ethical questions.

I thought the true subject of this film was responsibility. Who was responsible for Andrea’s murder? What could possibly drive a 13-year-old boy to commit such a heinous crime? And while we heard many voices, the voices of Adan’s friends, Andrea’s best friend, Adan’s teacher, Andrea’s parents, brothers, and cousins, psychologists and other professionals, as one by one, those interviewed advance different interpretations of what motivated the murder and offer different perspectives on Adan and Andrea, the viewer must ultimately draw their own conclusions.

The movie begins and ends with Holtville, a tiny California town near the border of Mexico whose neat houses, unobtrusive families and seemingly low crime rate quietly camouflage a myriad of unresolved social, economic, and psychological/family problems. Holtville is clearly the focus, perhaps because the murder of a teenage girl is not so much an aberration as a symbol or portent of what will come… After that, we are treated to subtle inferences and sometimes conflicting theories: Adan killed because of his obsession with Andrea, because Andrea mistreated him, because his mother mistreated him, because his father abandoned him, because Holtville was a tempest of unemployment, drugs, and disaffected males without productive roles in life… Adan killed because he and Andrea were the victims of neglect, because of his obsession with the O.J. murder, because his mother’s rejection of him triggered a boundless rage. Adan killed because he was the object of scorn among his peers, because Andrea made fun of him or perhaps provoked him by rejecting his sexual advances. Adan killed because he was possessed by the devil.

While this was a boy, or barely a teenager, he is not a boy that elicits our sympathy, perhaps because we are never privy to his pain or point-of-view. That being the case we are left to ponder why our laws allow him – a juvenile murderer - to walk away scott free when he is 25 years old with all record of this crime forever sealed and inaccessible. Even his psychologists can’t rule out the possibility that he won’t kill again.

The filmmaker kept some distance from all the personae – as if to suggest that they are all in some way responsible for this crime. Even the town bears the burden. Yet for us, the crime, even solved is unresolved. Perhaps if we fail to address the larger problems suggested here, history will repeat itself. It’s Adan’s generation and our society that’s at risk and Holtville is just a microcosm of that. With its allusions to the O.J. murder, I could not help but draw the conclusion that the escalation of violence against women in the past decade and the proliferation of crimes by adolescent males against women is a function of changing sex roles and women’s emerging independence. What happened in Holtville is a mere microcosm of some of the tensions in American society.

The film inspired multiple theories and interpretations. While I did not see that much of relationship between the crime and Holtville’s drug issues, I did feel that Adan was driven to violence by the inordinate amount of personal rejection he experienced at a very vulnerable time in his life. Moreover, he was troubled by gender issues – issues that trouble males and particularly minority males in society-at-large. The rejection he experienced at the hands of his mother, possible sexual abuse by his father, the lack of clear role models for men in his own life and in his community – one riddled with high unemployment and drug problems, and the sense he must have gotten that men are somehow omnipotent or beyond society’s punishment, (which is what he viewed as Andrea’s mother turned the other way, ignoring her husband’s drug addictions and irresponsibility, failure to provide, etc – as well as direct hand from watching O.J. as he evaded responsibility for a heinous crime) – all of these were contributing factors in this crime. What was also painfully apparent to me was this young man’s own increasing alienation and the rejection he experienced from his peers. The unemployment issues in the town and the lack of positive role models for Mexican males may also have had a share of responsibility here – as Adan likely felt that he had nothing much to look ahead to in his own life and that his “machismo” was the only source of self-esteem he had, one which was shattered on an ongoing basis by his mother and by his peers – particularly Andrea. The “trigger” point of bottomless rage was Andrea – whose rejection of him symbolized the overwhelming sense of rejection he experienced in his own life.

For me, this was a crime of retaliation – against family and community and women. Adan wanted Andrea to experience the powerlessness, vulnerability, and pain he experienced at her hands – and at the hands of everyone that mattered to him in his own life. While I don’t know enough about Adan to speculate whether he will go on to become a serial killer, as some psychologists predict, he clearly needed help. In his prison interviews, he seemed unable to connect to his emotions or feels remorse; therein lies the danger for us.

We, the viewer, are not privy to Adan’s version of what happened that night. This creates further mystery – even if the reason for the omission is that his family dreads the publicity of the documentary on the eve of their son’s release from state prison. Without the voice of Adan or Andrea, and with no witnesses to the crime, the audience must instead patiently piece together events and draw inferences from a tapestry of scenes and interviews, trying to find patterns and resonances. This made the film special.

I enjoyed the documentary… it made many powerful statements. The lives of ordinary people are often more interesting than fiction. Such is the draw of reality television – and such is the appeal of this documentary. Most importantly, the film resonated and sparked illuminations several days later. Few movies leave you with something to think about – and when they do, they are important ones. For a first film, this was a stunning achievement.

West Hollywood , CA

 

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