Jodie Foster described Se7en as “about as close to a perfect film on the topic as I can think of”. Dark, inexorably pessimistic, with a plausible, reasonable, honest, empathic killer at its core, Se7en twisted genre paradigms in ways that had never been seen before – but which have been much emulated since.
The screenplay is based on the 1959 novel written by Robert Bloch (who sold the screen rights for a measly $9000). Bloch’s book was inspired by the real-life story of Ed Gein, the reclusive Plainfield, Wisconsin farmer whose curiosity about human anatomy turned into necrophilia, murder, and cannibalism. This lurid tale also provided the source material for movies as diverse as Silence of The Lambs and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Bloch was fascinated by the relationship between Gein and his domineering mother, who cast a long shadow across her son’s psyche from her death in 1945 to his arrest in 1957.