The Vanishing (1988) | Crooked Media
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July 18, 2023
Ruined with Alison Leiby and Halle Kiefer
The Vanishing (1988)

In This Episode

Halle and Alison discuss what not to do at a hoppin’ European rest stop while they ruin The Vanishing.





[theme music]: If scary movies give you dread. Keep you up late night in bed, here’s a podcast that will help you ease your mind. We’ll explain the plot real nicely then we’ll talk about what’s frightening, so you never have to have a spooky time. It’s Ruined.


Halle Kiefer: Oh, hello. Welcome to Ruined. My name is Halle. 


Alison Leiby: My name is Alison. 


Halle Kiefer: And this is a podcast where we ruin a horror movie just for you. 


Alison Leiby: Just for all of you. Halle—


Halle Kiefer: Alison, I’ve gone blonde or I’m on my way to blonde.


Alison Leiby: I was about to comment. You look terrific. 


Halle Kiefer: Thank you the closer I am to blonde. I am not happy with it. 


Alison Leiby: I, that seems crazy to me. Seeing you—


Halle Kiefer: Thank you. 


Alison Leiby: —through a screen. It looks great. 


Halle Kiefer: My hair does tend to look like a wig. And I’ve been told this by hairdressers. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Because it’s so thick and abnormal to my head. But I will say this is making it look more wig like. So I’m going to go back in. Get more blonde—


Alison Leiby: What’s the plan if you don’t like? Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: I’m going to go to a different person. I didn’t do my research. That’s on me. I was blonde before the pandemic, just for fun. And it’s just. It’s just—


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: —goofing. It’s just the summer. It’s summer Pride. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, it’s summer. Summer is for experimenting with hair. 


Halle Kiefer: And you know what I love is wasting money. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: I love pissing away my hard earned dollars. 


Alison Leiby: Just working hours and hours to just throw money away on something I’m not happy with. [laughs] 


Halle Kiefer: To make my hair. Oh, and that’s so. And this is not I think it’s just a miscommunication. About what, setting expectations. I have very dark hair. I have a lot of gray. So, like, hey, this is what it is. But it did get to a point where we were arguing about like what the photos I sent her looked like or what how blonde they were. And I was like, once we’re once were arguing about what the human eye perceives, I think maybe we’ve had a breakdown in communication. 


Alison Leiby: We’re a little off. Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And that’s that’s on me, too, because I don’t know the words yet. And you know, you know Laura Smith. 


Alison Leiby: Of course. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. Lyra, a dear friend—


Alison Leiby: Friend of the Pod. 


Halle Kiefer: A Friend of the Pod who works over at iHeart. I believe she’s the VP of comedy now, an incredible person. She’s been blonde so long, she now dyes her hair at home and she’s like, If you commit to the blond, I can start showing you how to do that. I was like, let me get this fixed. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And then get get myself set up. And then I would love to learn that because it’s God, it’s fucking expensive—


Alison Leiby: It’s so expensive. It’s so expensive. 


Halle Kiefer: And her hair looks great. Like she’s like—


Alison Leiby: Yes, she looks great.


Halle Kiefer: She has studied the art of blonde. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: So but it’s just one of the things where I walked out of there. I’m like, no, I like it. I got home like I ruined my hair for no reason and—


Alison Leiby: I mean, I even felt that the last time I, like, chopped my hair, which wasn’t even it was just like six or seven inches. And it’s still everybody was like, it’s still really long. And I was like, it’s too short and I hate it. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Yeah, whenever you’re like I’m gonna get my hair cut I’m like, okay, but not in like a way that like, I can see, right? [laughs] Just in ways that you see.


Alison Leiby: Right. I get haircuts that are imperceivable to people, but yet my hair continues to be exactly the same for my whole life. 


Halle Kiefer: How are you doing, other. Other than my. My lament? 


Alison Leiby: I’m good. I the pools are open in New York. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh thank God. 


Alison Leiby: So I’ve been going and sitting outside at the pool well standing inside the pool because it’s too hot. So you just. I just stand in the pool and read my book. And there’s a lot of people with a lot of different ideas of what you’re supposed to do at the pool. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Ooh, okay. 


Alison Leiby: Because, like, it’s a crow— Like I swim laps, I’m a lap swimmer, and I know that I can only do that when there’s lane lines. And it’s like a pool designed for that. There are all these, like I would say, men in their thirties and forties, specifically, like just like very entitled Brooklyn folk who come to this pool that’s crowded and it’s full of kids and it’s a cooling zone. Like it’s for people to cool down and like play in the pool trying to swim laps through like children who are having a good time. And I’m like, I—


Halle Kiefer: I don’t—


Alison Leiby: What do you think they’re going to do? Move like, they like, get out, get out of here. Like, I want I would love to swim laps outside, but it’s not a reality in New York. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, there is something where, and I see a lot like people in L.A., like walking on the sidewalk, not walking on the subway, walking on the sidewalk and then walking their dogs where it’s like just because you’ve chosen to do something a certain way does not like—


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: —to then act shocked that other people say, want to use the sidewalk. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Or if you stop dead in the middle of the sidewalk, there are people behind you. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: I and I wonder what that is like I what, is it I don’t know maybe it’s just human nature. 


Alison Leiby: Is it narcissism? Is it just like it’s like forgetting other people? Like it’s just it’s just not very city like to live like that. 


Halle Kiefer: At this point. I think, you know, I would like to start offering free dog training classes to the city of Los Angeles because as a long time member of 4-H and specifically in the dog training categories. 


Alison Leiby: Oh wow. 


Halle Kiefer:  I went to state several times I didn’t actually go because we were on vacation, but I did qualify to go to states with my miniature dachshund, Rosie. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. I love a miniature dachshund.


Halle Kiefer: I love, God I love dachshunds so much. 


Alison Leiby: They’re so cute. 


Halle Kiefer: They’re so annoying, they’re so sweet. But I will say [both speaking] I can start whipping these dogs. It’s not the dog obviously. You have to train you’re training the owner—


Alison Leiby: You’re training the people. Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: But it’s like when people have like like 20 foot long leashes across the street, like up five stories and they’re just standing there smiling. It’s like other people have to walk. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: What are you doing? 


Alison Leiby: Get out of the way. What are you doing? [both speaking] This isn’t your street. It’s not your pool. 


Halle Kiefer: What are those swimmers like? You can’t be enjoying this. 


Alison Leiby: Well, it’s like you can’t even like you just [both speaking] and then they, like, this guy today like, had this, like, whole annoyed. Like every time there was, like, someone in his way—


Halle Kiefer: Oh my God. 


Alison Leiby: —he would, like, stand up and kind of like [sighs] like, be annoyed. And I’m like, you are trying to do a thing that this place isn’t for, like [laughs] get out of here. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Like, also, like, don’t be mad at the fucking children who are here who are like trying to, like, have fun with their friends and not be hot. 


Halle Kiefer: For God sake they have nowhere else to go. It’s New York in the summertime. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s it’s humid as hell like you can’t escape that heat. 


Alison Leiby: It’s so humid. It’s a nightmare. 


Halle Kiefer: Please. Let them have fun.


Alison Leiby: Get out of the way anyway so that’s mostly what I’ve been up to. 


Halle Kiefer: I’m sorry that’s that’s infuriating. And just a reminder, if you’re listening to this, when it drops, you can still listen to our live show. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Which we did on Monday the 17th. It’s available for 72 hours. So if you want to get that popping off, please do. It was vomit inducing. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. So if you’re dying to hear what Art the clown was up to in Terrifier 2,  and you can still get a ticket you still you know it’s up for 72 hours. The merch is available for that whole time so the window might be closing. If you’re listening to this on Tuesday or within a day or two. But please, if that interests you. And I guess if you listen to the podcast, it might go to and go listen to/watch the live show from the other night because it’s still available. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. We also we have our we’ll have our Pride merch available and I just want to say I really do believe that it is Summer of Pride, but really what else I mean is it’s just from here on out, it’s going to have to be from Pride 24/7.


Alison Leiby: Yes. All the time. 


Halle Kiefer: You know, after it we talked about we were already recorded an episode on the 30th of June when we talked about the Supreme Court. I don’t know. I just want to say like Summer of Pride, World of Pride, Pride from here to 2024. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s just going to be continuing. And I think that was so shocking to me about my first out Pride was just realizing that this is what it’s going to be like, like there’s no end to it. And I hadn’t been a part of I mean, to be fair, as women, obviously, you know, like the patriarchy—


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: —exists to control you, but like at a certain point, I feel like the patriarchy’s so entrenched. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Like you do kind of like, get to the point where it’s like there’s nothing you can do about it. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: So then to become a queer was both, like, shocking to be like, oh, no, I’m having some. I now have sex that people fundamentally, morally are opposed to, which is insane. And then also it gives me a lot of hope and it gives me a lot of hope, even like as a woman, as a feminist, like, I mean to me queerness is like a hopeful. The reasons that the right derides queerness and transness is the reasons I’m hopeful about it. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: But yeah, I don’t know. I just feel like Summer Pride, forever for Pride. And you know, in case you like me ended out end of the month be like, okay, well that was that was not good. 


Alison Leiby: Mm mm. 


Halle Kiefer: That was worse than last year. And who knows what it look like going forward. We’re obviously with you. And I don’t know, I just wanted to say that. And we love you. Oh, and now we get to do a genuinely fucking scary movie. 


Alison Leiby: I’m excited. 


Halle Kiefer: This movie scared the fuck out of me, and I think it is my exact perfect kind of movie because it’s played really realistically. It is a realistic film. Not that, I mean, I love, you know, the thing obviously but like—


Alison Leiby: Sure. But there’s something very harrowing—


Halle Kiefer: Yes. 


Alison Leiby: About feeling like you could walk out your door and be in this movie. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. And the movie is, of course, The Vanishing, which is on like every list of scary twists and scary like every if you if you’re a horror fan who can tolerate watching this, you I’m sure you have seen it or you should. And it is the Dutch, it’s a Dutch film. It was directed by George Sluizer as adapted from the novella The Golden Egg by Tam, by Tim Krabbé, which is Krab with two B’s and E with an accent at the end. 


Alison Leiby: Krabbé. 


Halle Kiefer: Who I assume is a crab that’s capable of writing and the Dutch title is Traceless or Without a Trace, but it’s called The Vanishing in English. This movie fucks me up. I’ll tell you what. We had we always like to have Alison watch the trailer. Alison, what did you think of the trailer for The Vanishing? 


Alison Leiby: Okay, well. The trailer did this really annoying thing where there is like music with words playing, but it’s also obviously in Dutch and you have to—


Halle Kiefer: Oh okay. 


Alison Leiby: —use subtitles. And it was almost impossible for me to follow anything that was happening because it was so confusing in my brain. I had to at one point turn the sound off, but then I was like, I feel like I’m missing something by not hearing the sound. So it does seem eerie, but I have almost no grasp of what was going on. 


Halle Kiefer: Ooh, okay, I like that. 


Alison Leiby: Like, obviously somebody is missing, but I don’t know, like, who? 


Halle Kiefer: I think that’s that’s pretty much the that’s all you need to know. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: I think that’s that’s going to get you started. And then how scary, as relatedly, how scary do you find the concept of a loved one suddenly disappearing inexplicably with no clues or information about where they could have gone? 


Alison Leiby: [gasps] That’s so scary because especially now, like, that’s so hard to do. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. 


Alison Leiby: We carry a tracking device in our pockets at all time. Like there is it. It is even less likely to happen now than it was in the eighties. But boy, having just no trace, that’s because, like the unsettlingness of never having the information of what happened would just ruin my life. 


Halle Kiefer: It is. That, I think is exactly what I find so scary about it, is that it would haunt you. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Like it would ruin your life. And I. I can only imagine being what a horrific situation to find yourself in. I don’t know. And again, something different that we’ve done, which is like a spooky clown. I mean like, you’re probably only going to run into that every once. Once in a blue moon. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, not that often.


Halle Kiefer: My loved ones are wandering around. I don’t know where they are half the time. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, no. 


Halle Kiefer: At any point I could get a call me like, hey, somebody, you know, disappeared and it’s like, well, okay. 


Alison Leiby: When Rizz is under the bed, I have like a panic attack. [laughs] I’m like, where is he? 


Halle Kiefer: When someone leaves the room, I think—


Alison Leiby: I think they died. 


Halle Kiefer: I think we need to get our object permanence checked first of all. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. I think I lost object permanence during the early days of the pandemic.


Halle Kiefer: [laughs] Not using it. I’m here to be blonde and have fun [laughter] and eat crackers over the sink. Would you like to? Before I get started, guess the twist in The Vanishing, knowing that based on the trailer, you know virtually nothing about the film. 


[voice over]: Guess the twist. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. I’m going to guess that the person who goes missing was killed by the person who first reported that they were missing? 


Halle Kiefer: Ooh. Okay, great I love that. 


Alison Leiby: So then that’s like there’s a lot of covering up going on. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay. And then do you want to even say, like, do you how do you think that she died or what do you think happened to her specifically? 


Alison Leiby: I’m going to guess that she was on fire. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, Alison, that’s scary. 


Alison Leiby: I know. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: I don’t know. That’s a real thing. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, after being indoctrinated every month, every week, you are getting so good at this. Terrifying. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Nothing is scarier. 


Halle Kiefer: Very good. Very under the skin. I love it. 


Alison Leiby: Ooh. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay, so let us begin ruining The Vanishing. Alison, we open on a stick insect in a beautiful field in France, and we overhear a Dutch couple. They’re driving in their adorable little eighties Volvo. I’m not sure. I don’t know cars, but—


Alison Leiby: I love that. 


Halle Kiefer: They. They have their bikes mounted on the top. They’re driving from Amsterdam into France to for a biking vacation. And it really is in America was just it’s everything is so spread out. It’s so gigantic. You really I do forget all the time, like, oh, yeah, you could just drive to France one day. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Like they’re just going for a week. 


Alison Leiby: It’s day trips from country to country. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, that sounds like heaven. 


Alison Leiby: I’m like, I could barely get to Pennsylvania, like— [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: And I won’t. I simply won’t. 


Alison Leiby: I don’t want to. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, I’ve never been to San Diego. I, I it would take too much out of me trying to go. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So they’re on vacation. They are playing a card game again to establish like we are in love, we’re having fun. We’re like, hee hee, ha ha—


Alison Leiby: Having fun. 


Halle Kiefer: And she says, let’s get off the highway and drive some local roads to, like, really take in the local culture. And he says, only if you drive. You have to drive. We have to switch off. And she’s like, nope. Which again, is, I think, setting up like fun, low stake, not like low stakes, but like it is so easy to develop character—


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: In movies that it’s really strikes at you when you see a horror movie where they don’t even give a fuck about like, give me anything. 


Alison Leiby: Anything. 


Halle Kiefer: And their thing is he’s like, she refuses to drive and he’s like, please, we I want to switch off, you know, I will immediately I’m like, oh, I like this couple. I know this couple. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: We see she’s putting on lipsticks and they are approaching a gas station in passing. And she’s like, looks at the gas gauge. She’s like, are you sure we shouldn’t stop? Like, we’re getting low? And he’s like, you know, you can see the gas gauge better if you were driving. She’s like, okay, I’m not going to do that. You’re the driver. And there’s like a bunch of little funny bits in the car. Like she keeps counting the trees. She’s like, oh, there’s one tree as there’s like thousands of trees. [laughter] And at one point he’s like, could you peel me an orange, and she just pretend to bite into it like an apple? And I was like, they’re having a great time. So, you know, something horrible is gonna happen. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, they’re having too much fun. 


Halle Kiefer: So they’re driving it. It’s also like these windy, insane cliff roads, like in the mountainside, gorgeous. But I wouldn’t want to be dri— Like I’m with him. Like I would be like please switch off. 


Alison Leiby: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. 


Halle Kiefer: And then suddenly they’re driving through a tunnel through the mountain. So it’s incredibly dark inside compared to the daylight. And Saskia, the woman says, oh, my God, It’s like that nightmare. I had my nightmare again last night. And Rex says, oh, that nightmare you have all the time where you’re in a golden egg, you can’t escape and you float all alone through space forever?


Alison Leiby: What she’s like, oh, that old thing? That keeps ruining my sleep?


Halle Kiefer: She says the loneliness is unbearable. And she says, but this time there was another golden egg far away. And I knew that if we were to collide, they would all be over. Alison. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: Just then the car fucking dies because they ran out of gas. 


Alison Leiby: Of course. 


Halle Kiefer: They were in the middle of a pitch dark traffic tunnel. And basically the way they’re positioned, they have don’t have emergency lights because I guess it’s the eighties. Now, if your car died, you could still put in the emergency lights. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: They are just sitting in the road and they both panic and Saskia’s like I told you, I wanted to fucking stop for gas. And she’s like, at least he’s like, I know this is my fault. I’m sorry, but we have to get out here cause it’s really dangerous. Like we could be rear ended by someone who, like coming from the brightness into the darkness, their eyes adjusting. They could just rear end us because we’re in the middle of fucking road. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, easy. 


Halle Kiefer: And so they’re both panicking and Saskia’s like well, I brought a flashlight, and so she’s looking for the flashlight but Rex is like, just get out, get out, get out. And they’re arguing and he storms off without her and she starts sobbing and she’s like going through the luggage and pulling everything out. And she’s like, don’t leave me here alone. Don’t leave me here alone. But he marches off and when he hears her yelling that, he has a little smile. And you don’t know what that means for a while. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: But I, when I saw that, I’m like this motherfucker. 


Alison Leiby: No.


Halle Kiefer: But it’s actually that he even in that moment, he loves her. But right then, I was like, I would fucking kill this guy. 


Alison Leiby: Kill him. 


Halle Kiefer: So he it turns out he grabbed the gas can, he walked all the way to the gas station and walked back. When he gets out of the car, it’s abandoned. She’s not in it. He feels out the tunnel. He drives out. Luckily, Saskia is waiting. She finally found the flashlight. She’s in tears. She’s on the end of the tunnel. And in their defense, this is how every vacation I’ve ever been on has, starts. [laughs] 


Alison Leiby: I mean. 


Halle Kiefer: Right?


Alison Leiby: Imagine just having, like, a flawless entree into a trip, like. No, it’s always like, I forgot this. I don’t. We’re already lost. Like, it’s always just chaos. 


Halle Kiefer: Right? All four tires blow off. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: You fly off the side of a mountain. Nobody has their medication like something has to happen. [laughter] So again, it’s really realistic. It’s like, yeah, this is the kind of shit that happens. People flip out because they don’t know how to handle stressful situations. They yell at each other and so then they’re in the car, driving silently, both furious. And it’s like an excellent contrast to how giddy they were. And like, everything was starting. And Saskia’s trying not to cry, but you can tell she’s really angry. Alison. We then see another man, a man whose name we find out is Raymond. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: He’s parked in his car and he’s putting out a fake cast on his arm in a sling. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. Okay.


Halle Kiefer: And we see him slide a bottle of liquid into the sling. And I really appreciate how artfully and quickly it’s like this motherfucker’s a serial killer. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: You know, the second someone puts on a fake cast—


Alison Leiby: Fake cast. 


Halle Kiefer: —with some vile liquid.


Alison Leiby: Yeah, I’m not. Not trusting that guy.


Halle Kiefer: I don’t need someone to explain it. Exactly. Unfortunately, he he is waiving for them. And I think that’s one of the themes of the film or the theme of the film is much like the golden egg, is that an omen? Can we avoid our fate? Do we do things happen? Can we avoid the horrible things that happen in our life? Like how do you opt out of fate other than by choosing? You have to make a choice and choosing or not choosing your future lays out for you. And how could we know what it is? 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: Which is terrifying. So Rex and Saskia stop for gas. There’s a lot of talk of gas stations, so I’m just going to say right now, this when I say gas station. I mean, like a big New Jersey turnpike. Like they’ve got multiple restaurants. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s full of people, It’s got picnic benches, it’s got a dog area, it’s got kids running around. This is like pack—


Alison Leiby: It’s not just like two pumps—


Halle Kiefer: Yes. 


Alison Leiby: —and like a dusty old, like man who’s not really there or like it’s it’s like a real like, like a rest stop. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, it’s hustle and bustle, including like, it’s summertime, so everyone’s going on their vacation, everyone’s traveling, driving around. And finally Saskia breaks the silence because they pull up to get gas and she’s like, if you want to just go back to Amsterdam, let’s just go back. I don’t want to do this if we’re just going to be angry. Rex immediately apologizes and said, I’m so sorry, I should have left you there. I didn’t know what to do, but I that was the wrong thing to do and I apologize. And I’m like, all right, okay. Okay. 


Alison Leiby: Okay some communication. 


Halle Kiefer: But again. Oh right. One of them is going to be kidnaped. Okay. So he’s like, I’ll be honest, when you called for me in the tunnel, I never loved you more. And she’s like, okay, great. When I yelled for you. I hated you. But then they kiss and they’re back at it and they’re like, okay, let’s just enjoy our vacation. We fucked up. But he apologized. Saskia says, I need to go to the ladies room and then everything will be all right forever. We’re just going to vacation. The movie’s just about two, about a couple on vacation. [laughs] Rex stays. He gets the car filled up, and then he has a extra gas can filled up. So then it cases happens again. They’ll be good to go. 


Alison Leiby: Smart. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison. We see Raymond, the fake cast guy—


Alison Leiby: Yeah yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: —follows Saskia to the bathroom and wait outside the bathroom for her. She comes back out to Rex. She’s bought a souvenir, she got a Frisbee and a lighter, and they sit underneath a tree to kind of just, like, stretch their legs and like, you know, fuck around. And we see, like, kids running around again dogs. People are eating lunch. People are like, just doing calisthenics. It’s Europe. I mean, people are active. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, people. Yeah, they leave their homes. They do stuff outside. It’s great.


Halle Kiefer: Can’t imagine. [laughs] And Rex says, okay, so does that mean I could still go on vacation with you? And she’s like, not only can you go on vacation, I’m going to drive. So again, that was sort of her consolation. I’m like, yes, everything’s good. And I will drive as long as you count all the trees. And they do this very sweet thing that again, it’s like is this a European thing? Is this a Dutch thing? Or just something that they did. It’s sort of a gesture of their reconciliation. They take each take a coin and they kiss it and they bury it next to a tree. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, I love that. 


Halle Kiefer: And it’s really darling. So, you know, something hideous is about to happen. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Saskia has Rex vow that he will never abandon her again, but it’s really cute. But, like, that’s what he’s saying, is he’s like, you will never abandon me. And they shake on it, and. But then both of them kind of have this look of like, there’s something, there’s some disturbance in them from that vow. And she takes the keys and she hates his keychain. She’s like, these are disgusting. I hate how this looks, but I’m going to take the keys. I’m just gonna run. I’m gonna get you a beer, me, a Coke, and I’m going to the bathroom again, which I’m like, this is. She’s me. You know. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. It’s great.


Halle Kiefer: Except for maybe not the passenger drinking in the car. But. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: She [coughs] so, you know, she’s headed back in and there’s a funny moment where she falls and I think she’s it’s a pratfall, but it looks at the actress actually might have genuinely fallen. 


Alison Leiby: They just kept it. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: And then she turns around to be like, did you see this and Rex is there. And again, it’s a really sweet, very like, oh, that’d be hilarious. Like, look, I’m falling. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: So, you know, and I wrote so, you know, she’s going to endure some kind of grotesque, traumatic experience. [laughs]


Alison Leiby: I don’t want that to happen. 


Halle Kiefer: I know. And Rex, Rex has a Polaroid for their vacation. He’s taking photos and he takes, you know, he’s kind of dicking around, he takes a photo of the gas station with their car in front of it. And he writes on it, car getting used to Saskia and puts it under the windshield wiper for her, like when she gets in. Alison, she’s taking a long time in there. She’s taking like way too long. There is something so fucking chilling, the idea that you could just be at a rest stop. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And your partner never comes back. 


Alison Leiby: No, that’s so no, it’s so upsetting. 


Halle Kiefer: You know? And again, this rest stop is packed with families. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Elderly people, singles like it. Like it is, you know, so again, it’s not like they’re isolated—


Alison Leiby: Singles? 


Halle Kiefer: And they’re trying to mingle. Listen again. It’s Europe. You could meet people at a gas station, you could meet people anywhere. He goes inside, no sign of her. He goes back to the car. So he’s starting to fucking panic. And he writes a note on the windshield like Saskia. I’m looking for you. Stay at the car if you come back here. Just fucking get in the car. 


Alison Leiby: That’s so smart and not something I would ever have thought of. 


Halle Kiefer: I would be screaming. I would immediately run away, start screaming. Which he does. He runs over to the gas station. He’s like, Saskia, Saskia, I’m looking for my wife. Has anyone seen her? He runs to the women’s room. He runs in they’re like, sir, he’s like, I’m looking for my wife. Can everyone. Help me. And he runs to the men’s rooms like she’s not in the men’s room. He runs to the back office where like the the rest stop manager is. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And he’s like, so gets him involved, goes to the cashier and shows her a photo of Saskia because he took a Polaroid of her earlier and she’s like, oh yeah, she was here. But like that was like 30 minutes ago. And she got change for the coffee machine. And he says, was she alone? And the woman’s like, there’s like a million people in here. I don’t know. I’m sorry. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: He and the manager go outside and talk to the gas, the pump attendant, and he’s like, oh, yeah, I saw her talking to a guy like right near the door, like 15 minutes ago. She had coke in one hand and a beer in the other. And so he’s like, waited 15 minutes ago. He runs back to the car, Alison, in the Polaroid he took of the gas station. You can see Saskia’s head like over another car. And she’s talking to a man. But it’s so far away you can’t see who he is or like, what’s going on? So Rex runs over to where they would have been. Alison, on the ground, there was a spilled coke and an unopened beer. 


Alison Leiby: [gasps] What did she just like? What’s the word were you like, was she raptured? [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Raptured. And he freaks out and he slams the car door and he kicks it and it shatters the passenger side glass. Oh, God. 


Alison Leiby: Alison. 


Halle Kiefer: That’s a whole headache. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison. What would you fucking do in this situation? 


[voice over]: What would you do? 


Alison Leiby: I’d get on the phone and call the police. 


Halle Kiefer: What else could you do? 


Alison Leiby: I mean, that’s kind of like the only. And I would also stop and talk to every single person there. Like, I wouldn’t just like. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. 


Alison Leiby: I would be like, just any person I saw. I’d be like, have you seen this woman? Like, did you see where she went? Like, she like I would just nonstop be confronting people. 


Halle Kiefer: Yep. 


Alison Leiby: And have somebody call the police and be like, here’s what she looks like. Just like, put out a. Like, search?


Halle Kiefer: APB? 


Alison Leiby: APB I was like APB. 


Halle Kiefer: APB. 


Alison Leiby: APB. 


Halle Kiefer: What do we think that means? 


Alison Leiby: Is it that? 


Halle Kiefer: APB, APB. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. That’s all you can do. But it’s like do you stay there or do you leave? 


Halle Kiefer: I fucking live, I live at the gas station now. I live in my car. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: I become a car person. 


Alison Leiby: I’m not leaving. Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: where else can you go? I mean, like, it will be like, this is my life now. I build a house behind—


Alison Leiby: Again a police station would be my thought or, like, driving, like, around to like see if she’s—


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Wandered off? I don’t know what that would—


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Yeah. Like, this is the kind of situation where, like, she has obviously been abducted. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Like, this is not like, oh, she, she, you know, you were hiking or like. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: Something else happened. 


Alison Leiby: She could have fallen. 


Halle Kiefer: Or she was at home and like, she maybe she left voluntarily or maybe, you know, like there’s no this is not a situation where there are other options. So he is, as you can imagine, fucking freaking out. 




Halle Kiefer: So he’s in the now it’s like night falls. It’s hours later. He’s in the manager’s office. The manager is like, let’s just call the the cops in the morning. Very Europe. I’m sorry. Like—


Alison Leiby: The morning. Like she’ll be dead by then. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Though I will be honest. Like I. Oh, God, there’s some podcast I haven’t listened to where, but it’s like a true crime podcast. And I appreciated that one of the hosts, like whenever you hear a story about like people trying to report people missing, by the way, the cops do not have any sort of standard methodology to that. 


Alison Leiby: Of course not. 


Halle Kiefer: Like and of course, it’s racist and like misogynistic and like all these other things. But I really appreciated what is it, was is it called? One of the hosts. Oh it’s called I Think Not, no, I think was called something else, but it’s called I Think Not and one of the hosts would call it like it’s like, oh, it’s in Atlanta, I’m calling the Atlanta PD and be like, well, so what’s the actual policy? And I really appreciate—


Alison Leiby: Oh wow. 


Halle Kiefer: Trying to do some kind of like—


Alison Leiby: Actual journalism. 


Halle Kiefer: But unfortunately, of course, they’re like, oh, it’s this. It’s like, well, that’s not what it was they were told like, oh, well, we we changed that. It’s different now, you know, it’s like it just really depends on how much they actually give a fuck. Now, in this case, it’s a white woman, you know—


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Maybe they’re fucking stepping up. I don’t I don’t know what the police are like in France, obviously. 


Alison Leiby: I have no clue. 


Halle Kiefer: But he’s and also it’s the eighties, so he’s like, honestly, they’re just going to say you have to wait 24 hours. We’ll call them in the morning. Rex is losing his fucking mind. 


Alison Leiby: Understandably. 


Halle Kiefer: And he’s like, okay, she was at the coffee machine. If she was talking to someone there, we have to get the coins on the coffee machine because that person’s fingerprints could be on the coins. I was like, Rex is like, on it. Like he’s like—


Alison Leiby: You be police now. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. And the guy’s like, that’s absurd. And it’s like, even if you think that’s absurd. Just say, okay, well we’ll tell the police to do that. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Like don’t say, don’t say to a man whose wife is for all we know—


Alison Leiby: Gone. 


Halle Kiefer: Already dead. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: That’s absurd. Just say yes. Okay. Well, let’s write down some other ideas. Like give him anything. Alison. And we see Raymond, who again, we know immediately is a serial killer. 


Alison Leiby: Mm hmm. 


Halle Kiefer: And he arrives at a French home and it’s sort of rundown with his and he takes his bottle of murder juice, murder medicine and sort of hides it amongst it looks like it was abandoned and it’s being redone. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: So kind of hides it among the glassware that’s left in the house and outside it says house for sale. So basically, he is working to redo this house like slowly over time. And in the meantime, he’s using it as a stash house, as a serial killer. 


Alison Leiby: Okay, great. 


Halle Kiefer: We then see and we actually jump back in time. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And we see Raymond at this house. He’s having dinner at the house because basically, like they live he and his family live in an apartment. He’s redoing this house for them. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: While, also being a serial killer. So like what [both speaking] not a great dad. I can’t imagine he’s a great dad or he’s he’s got two huge hobbies, redoing a home and murdering people. So.


Alison Leiby: And murdering people. But, I mean, he’s having dinner. 


Halle Kiefer: That’s true and—


Alison Leiby: He’s showing up for meals.


Halle Kiefer: It’s like and they have a table outside and he and his wife, Simone, and their two daughters, Danielle and Denise. And what I thought about this was like, the kids are so like what regular kids are like. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: They’re just so like, like starter jacket, like screaming like‚ 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: In a way that most kids in movies in America are like too smart—


Alison Leiby: Yeah or they’re like, weirdly, like from a different era. [laughs] 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. Yes. 


Alison Leiby: It’s like they’re always just like playing with like, what’s that toy? Toy that’s like just a wheel and a stick that they like. Like, I feel like that’s what kids are doing in every horror movie, no matter what year it is. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. What do you call those? A penny farthing? No, that’s the. That’s the big bicycle—


Alison Leiby: [both speaking] The bicycle with the big wheel. Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Why do we do that? Why have we retained information about the penny farthing?


Alison Leiby: I don’t know where my kids are right now, but like, I know what a penny farthing is [laughter] who, who could say. 


Halle Kiefer: So he’s there. He’s a little bit late. He says to his wife, Simone, I got you this nice bottle of wine. They’re going to eat dinner outside this house that will be for them, like as soon as he’s done redoing it and which again, is going to take a bit longer because he’s a serial killer. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, it’s a it’s a workspace and a renovation site. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: And to be fair, you have to have a hobby that you don’t monetize or else it’s going to drive you crazy. Okay. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah no. It’s true. 


Halle Kiefer: And he says to Denise, can you open the drawer, or they open a drawer in the table, which seems very French. And she screams, It’s full of spiders. Alison.


Alison Leiby: Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: And Raymond says, oh, what a scream. Let’s hear it again. And then Denise and Gabrielle take turns screaming. But again, it’s like as a kid screams like [screaming] and they’re they’re both like tweens, so they’re, like, awkward. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Like, middle school. So, like, they’re just old enough for, like, in a couple of years that you can’t be screaming like that. But as a kid your just— 


Alison Leiby: Right. But right now they can. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. They’re like, I’m, we’re having a screaming contest. You know? 


Alison Leiby: I miss screaming. 


Halle Kiefer: And they say, I know there’s just not a lot of appropriate venues as a as an adult to scream. 


Alison Leiby: I have like three jokes on my show that are scream jokes. And I think that I, like, wrote those that way just so I had like the opportunity to. Scream all the time. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: I really. Now I really want to go screaming somewhere. There should be a I guess you could just go anywhere and scream. But in L.A. I don’t want anyone to be worried that it’s a genuine scream. 


Alison Leiby: Well yeah exactly in New York, too. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: My friend Divya, a friend of ours, used to say, she was like, oh, I used to scream in elevators, in buildings. And I was like, those aren’t soundproof. So that’s—


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. I feel like security here is that it’s like, all right, it’s going to be a bad day. 


Alison Leiby: Also like, if you were waiting for an elevator that passed by and you just hear, like, a scream, like— [screams]


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Imagine. 


Halle Kiefer: I want to go to the middle of the woods and just fucking scream and scream. That sounds good. 


Alison Leiby: Scream your butt off. 


Halle Kiefer: They say, how about you, Mommy? And both Simone and Raymond scream and scream. Later, the the family heads back into the city where they have a beautiful fucking apartment. Gorgeous like rich family with a balcony over a plaza. 


Alison Leiby: Good for them. 


Halle Kiefer: Stunning. So as. But of course, Raymond makes trips to this house repeatedly. Again, it’s sort of that’s his cover like, oh, I’m I’m I’m gone a lot I’m redoing the house and he stops a neighbor who comes by with like a big fruit basket like, oh my God, I’m so, so glad somebody’s redoing the house. I’m excited for you guys to finally move in. And he’s like, you know, I’m sorry. My kids were screaming last night. Can you hear screams if it’s on my property? Do you hear any screaming? The guy’s like, oh, no, we’re far enough away. I can’t hear anything you guys do. It’s like, oh, oh, that’s good to know. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s good to know. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, what what an important piece of information about real estate. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison. We see Raymond stop to pick up a young, beautiful hitchhiker, but this must have been a hitch hiking thing. When he stops, she sort of whistles and her boyfriend comes out of the brush, and Raymond peels off pissed because he just wanted her. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So that must have been like, you have to hide. 


Alison Leiby: The thing. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Where it’s like nobody’s going to stop for both of us. 


Halle Kiefer: But also, it’s like, I don’t want anyone who would just stop for me then. 


Alison Leiby: Like, yeah, no, no, no, no. 


Halle Kiefer: We see Raymond. Oh, God, this shit fucked me up because this is like. This is. This is BTK. This is serial killer shit. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: What if you read about like, you know, like Jeffrey Dahmer was like he was going to build, like, an altar out of skulls and like, BTK wanted to build like a dungeon, like an underground dungeon. And you’re like, all this is like I spent a lot of mental energy thinking about queer and trans liberation. Their mental energy was building a rape and murder dungeon. And it’s like— 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Just like the ambient ideas you have, like, whatever you’re thinking day to day that was theirs. 


Alison Leiby: That sucks. 


Halle Kiefer: And—


Alison Leiby: Get some Legos, bro. 


Halle Kiefer: I, I don’t think that would have satisfied whatever’s going on. 


Alison Leiby: Whatever’s happening with these people. 


Halle Kiefer: We see Raymond, of course, at the house they’re redoing. He’s got his murder liquid, which turns out is chloroform. Alison he—


Alison Leiby: Oh okay great. 


Halle Kiefer: —he starts chloroforming himself and then timing it to see how long it will knock him out so he chloroforms himself.


Alison Leiby: I mean that’s dedication to the craft. 


Halle Kiefer: And he’s dedi— if nothing else, he is very dedicated. So we see him, it’s like, oh, it knocked me out for 18 minutes and 45 seconds. He has a notebook where he’s collecting all of this information. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: And again it’s like knowing that he is not just a father, but to his family. A loving father is so fucking horrifying because that’s real. That’s true. Unfortunately.


Alison Leiby: That’s real. Right. It’s like even when you see it in like, the microaggressions of like the men who would always leave the nastiest, like fuck you, fat, c-nt. Like, on like as a reply on Twitter to like, you being like, I like waffles or whatever. Like, you always go to their profiles. It’s always like husband and father—


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Christian, American. Like, it’s just like it’s guys whose like, profile photo is them at a picnic with their kids and you’re like, this is what you’re doing when you’re not with them?


Halle Kiefer: It’s so fucking dark. 


Alison Leiby: It’s so fucked up. It’s so fucked up. 


Halle Kiefer: And I have well, we’ll talk about that, you know, I’m on one about that, I’m like, I think we can fix that. I think we could actually fix it. And we just have to get rid of the patriarchy. 


Alison Leiby: I think we should. 


Halle Kiefer: And I think we could see it’s choking all of us. But this is—


Alison Leiby: Yes all of us. 


Halle Kiefer: I do think serial killers are in many ways a representation of how we think. I mean, obviously they are also mentally ill. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Or like whatever that is is not very common. But there is something about like how we objectify the people like we have sex with, which in most cases. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Like if you’re a man it’s a woman like to think of the other as object, but like in a way, where it’s genuinely literal, like this is this idea of like I have a project and my project is murder—


Alison Leiby: To accumulate women—


Halle Kiefer: Women. 


Alison Leiby: Use them the way I want to use them, and then I have to get rid of them when I’m done with them. 


Halle Kiefer: And I rationalized it to myself because they’re not really people or like what I want is more important than their life, basically. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Which is a tough reminder sometimes when you see that, that, that, that that exists and what’s also crazy so then he starts practicing, Raymond starts practicing basically like getting a woman into the passenger seat and then him getting into the car and he basically as he walks around the back of the car, him pouring chloroform into the handkerchief, and then as soon as he gets in, he puts it against her head. So it’s like he’s practicing it over and over and over again. And they’re playing this like kind of jaunty French music the entire time because he’s having a good time. 


Alison Leiby: Yuck. 


Halle Kiefer: We then see him pick up his daughter from school, who, from all appearances, is she’s a normal teen and he’s like a normal, doting father. And he when she gets in, he reaches over and locks the door behind her, which he’s just been rehearsing basically. She’s like, why did you do that? He’s like, oh, there’s a news article. A girl fell on the highway so you can never be too careful. But his daughter is like, I’m here to talk about something else. Do you have a mistress? Are you having affair? He says what, he’s like well you’re always at the house. 


Alison Leiby: I don’t have time for an affair. [laughter]


Halle Kiefer: Yes, it’s like my job’s too busy trying to murder all these women. And she says, no, you’re always going to the other house. Are you? Is there a mistress? Is that what’s going on? And she says, I’m not dumb. At your age, you’re allowed to right, which is what I think France is like. 


Alison Leiby: Very French. 


Halle Kiefer: Seems very French, like well we all have a mistress. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And he doesn’t reply, but he kind of smiles and they both laugh. And I’m like, this is a bizarre exchange, sort of not an American exchange, that’s for sure. Later, we see Raymond. He stops a blonde on the sidewalk and says, oh, do you know where this pharmacy is? She says, oh, yeah, I’m actually walking there. He’s like, oh, how about I give you a ride there? But of course he’s getting his reps in, right? And she’s like, you know what? I’m I’m enjoying walking. It’s so nice out. It’s like, okay, great, no problem. And when he gets back in, Alison, he’s measures his pulse rate. So he’s like trying to basically, like he’s doing Tour de France. And that’s another theme is like we keep hearing radio reports about Tour de France and there’s a bicyclist called Fignon and they keep talking about, oh, is he going to win the yellow shirt? 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And so we’re seeing Raymond. This is his Tour de France. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And he is training as if he is he wants to win. 


Alison Leiby: I want the answer to this whole movie to be that she has just been swept up in the Tour de France and wins. 


Halle Kiefer: I love that. Yeah, she inadvertently—


Alison Leiby: That’s where the wife went. 


Halle Kiefer: —inadvertently wins. 


Alison Leiby: Wins. 


Halle Kiefer: Well, I got some bad news. 


Alison Leiby: It ain’t that? 


Halle Kiefer: This guy is the Lance Armstrong of kidnaping women unfortunately. 


Alison Leiby: Cool. 


Halle Kiefer: So that night he goes home and his wife Simone confronts him and says, is there someone else? He, she has the same question like, why the fuck are you always gone? Like. And her thing is I saw the speedometer and you were racking up so many miles. So even when you’re telling me you’re not going to the house, you’re going to the house. He’s like, no, I promise you, I love you. I love our life. I love our two daughters. And I am the only Frenchman who can be proud of having known only one woman in his life. It’s like, well, I guess he’s not planning to have sex with these women, just murder them. And I—


Alison Leiby: I guess that’s better? 


Halle Kiefer: I guess if I had to choose. 


Alison Leiby: No it’s not. Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But you don’t get to choose. That’s the whole point of being a serial killer, I imagine. And he says, I promise you, I’m not seeing other women. That’s not what’s going on. It’s like, well, he’s seeing them, but he’s seeing them try to get into his car—  


Alison Leiby: He is seeing other women. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: But not in the way that you were afraid of. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. His daughter Denise, comes in, he tells her to get the hell out of the room. He’s talking to her and he’s like, I guess the truth is, like, the house has become an obsession. He’s talking about redoing the house but he’s really talking about becoming a serial killer. And he’s like, you know, you can’t measure an obsession in miles. Like, I’m dedicated to it. And she’s like, I guess my husband is really great. The next day, he tries to lure a woman into his car and he’s basically like, oh, do you know where the this highway is? Turns out it’s his daughter Gabrielle’s old volleyball coach. And she I think this is what I interpret it from this interaction that she’s like, oh, he’s trying to hit on me. And she says, oh, okay, it’s France. Would you like to get a cup of coffee? But he’s I mean, he that’s what he’s doing, obviously. So he’s like, oh, no, I’m good. But he she assumes, oh, I thought you were trying to pick me up. She’s like, I’ll be honest. Where is the highway? You could go wherever you want. If you want to go meet women, take the highway in any direction. She didn’t say that. So I’m just interpreting. She says, take the highway in any direction. Go to one of the rest stops. It’s full of tourists, honey. There are plenty of women and they’re on vacation. Okay? And I was like, you’re not only willing to fuck this guy, but like, you’re like, oh, if you don’t want to fuck me honey, let me tell you, there’s plenty—


Alison Leiby: I’ll tell you where you can find some women who will.


Halle Kiefer: Go to the gas station. It’s pussy central, you know? [laughter] Which does beg the question, Alison, is it cheating on your wife to murder a woman? 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: I think so. 


Alison Leiby: Like, if people could be like, you know—


Halle Kiefer: Call us prudes, but I think so. 


Alison Leiby: Call me a prude. But if you add, you know, kidnap drug and then hack up a woman, I think that’s cheating. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes, I absolutely agree. 


Alison Leiby: If like texting a lot at night with your coworker is like considered like kind of like an emotional affair or whatever, then like this is also cheating. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. You’re he’s definitely emotionally involved with these women. The emotions are unfortunately murder related emotion. 


Alison Leiby: It’s just a different emotion. Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. He gets in the car and records his pulse. It’s through the roof. But now, Alison, now he knows to go to the gas station. Like the woman was like oh honey—


Alison Leiby: It’s like this woman—


Halle Kiefer: It’s France, it’s like she inadvertently gave him the best idea, which is just go to a gas station and kidnap—


Alison Leiby: Tourists, yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Of course. Then we cut to him with the newspaper and his fake cast. Seeing Saskia that day. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: We now cut to the current day. So now we are three years after Saskia disappearance. Right. 


Alison Leiby: Woah. 


Halle Kiefer: So we are caught up. She’s been gone for three years. Alison. Rex has gone completely fucking insane. Like he—


Alison Leiby: There’s no other path. Mentally.


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. 


Alison Leiby: If this happens to you. 


Halle Kiefer: And he’s he keeps putting up like disappearance posters, like putting his entire life savings. We see his apartment at one time. It’s got, like, the Homeland Board. It’s got like he’s just like—


Alison Leiby: Of course. 


Halle Kiefer: He’s just like, I have to figure this out because—


Alison Leiby: You would dedicate your whole life to it. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, absolutely. And he did vow to her like, I will never abandon you again. Like, literally right before she disappeared, he’s like, I can’t abandon her. I have to find out what fucking happened. Even if, presumably she is dead. I don’t think he’s sort of deluded about that but he’s like what happened?


Alison Leiby: But. But I would need to know, like—


Halle Kiefer: Yes. 


Alison Leiby: How? Like, where is her body? Like what. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly? 


Alison Leiby: Who? How? Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And also the posters has Rex’s name and number on it. So he has the direct contact, and we see Rex driving and he stops in the middle of the road. And he has this new girlfriend and I don’t remember how you pronounce her name, but I would say it’s L I E N E K E, Lieneke. I’m going to call her Lynn because I’m not going to get through this. 


Alison Leiby: Lynn is great. 


Halle Kiefer: So his girlfriend obviously his girlfriend. His girlfriend says like he basically stops them on the road, runs out to like, check on his posters because some got taken down and they get back into the car and his new girlfriend says, I’ll be honest, this I don’t know if I can be a part of this menage a trois for very much longer. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, it would be really hard. But also—


Halle Kiefer: Girl. 


Alison Leiby: If you’re seeing someone who—


Halle Kiefer: Yes. 


Alison Leiby: Most of their energy and emotions were consumed in finding out how their previous wife or girlfriend. 


Halle Kiefer: Absolutely. 


Alison Leiby: Died and disappeared like, no. 


Halle Kiefer: But I do think that’s something you could figure out by the third date. Like, I don’t think Rex is in any way hiding that this is his lifestyle. 


Alison Leiby: There’s no way that this is like months into a relationship. You find this out about him. 


Halle Kiefer: I mean, you walk in his apartment, there’s a gigantic poster of his missing wife. 


Alison Leiby: A murder board. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, exactly. But, I mean, that’s fair. And I think, you know, plenty of us would hit the wall at some point time with regards to how much of the disappearing wife we could tolerate Alison they are arriving in a cafe because Rex has received a letter asking him to meet at the Cafe Dubois, Arts at 3 p.m. from someone who claims to be the person who kidnaped Saskia. So of course he’s gonna fucking go. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, he’s going. 


Halle Kiefer: And obviously Raymond has his information from the missing posters. So we see Rex, he’s waiting and he’s eyeballing anyone eating alone, singles, singles ready to mingle. Are they singles trying to mingle or are they—


Alison Leiby: Or mangle? 


Halle Kiefer: Are they here to, are they singles ready to mangle? Thank you, Alison. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. Looks like we have a dating app for serial killers. 


Halle Kiefer: Meanwhile, I was like, every dating app is a dating app for serial killers. 


Alison Leiby: That’s actually very true. 


Halle Kiefer: Meanwhile his girlfriend’s trying to, like, have a little bit of fun takes photos of the square is kind of like wandering around. Obviously their relationship is kind of headed towards the end, you know. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But she joins him and they both have a cigarette and he’s like, I feel like I could either keep Saskia alive and keep looking or let her die and find out the truth. And I have to choose—


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: —to let her die. His girlfriend’s like, can we just, like, order a sandwich or something? Like. [laughter] Like it’s like, I really am sympathetic, but like, can we not? And Rex reveals that he has received five postcards to meet from the ostensibly the abductor within 62 miles of the gas station. So he has to keep coming from Amsterdam down to France. 


Alison Leiby: God, it’s like the mileage you’re putting on that Volvo. 


Halle Kiefer: And he says the killer never shows his face because he might have seen him at the gas station. And so it’s like even in just passing, maybe he saw this person if you saw him again. So the person never fucking shows up. And the girl was like, look, you’re never going to find out if this guy who keeps sending letters is the person who kidnapped your wife, he’s a sick bastard who’s getting off on this. 


Alison Leiby: Correct. 


Halle Kiefer: Who’s getting off on forcing you to meet and he knows that you are dedicated so you will come to France over and over again. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison We look up, we see Raymond is on a balcony on one of the floors. That’s his apartment with his family. 


Alison Leiby: Of course, of course. 


Halle Kiefer: He’s looking out. So this is the closest he has brought Rex to his actual family. And he’s, again, clearly getting off on this. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: You know, the postcard said 3 p.m. it’s 3:45. The girlfriend’s like, girl, he is not coming. And Rex, of course, is like, I can’t leave, you know. And he said, come with me, we’ll go lie in the sun will be together and you can have some pleasure, you know, in your life. And he’s like, if Saskia was here, I would go with you because I love you. But if I could be anywhere, I would choose to be the gas station. Three years ago. I am still there. And so his girlfriend storms away—


Alison Leiby: At least he’s like, honest about that. 


Halle Kiefer: 100%, he is very honest. Like he’s not trying to. He’s like, I am still stuck there. I’m so sorry. But she storms away and he runs after her because obviously there is love there. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And this is the most fucked up possible way to fall in love. But they are going to go on a little mini mini holiday to the [?] I’m so sorry. Every French person who listens. I can’t. My brain’s not good at English. It’s certainly worse in French. And they stop at the bottom of this hill and they start walking up towards it’s like beautiful vista with, like this abandoned, like stone building. And they’re walking up the hill and Rex turns to see himself in the car with Saskia driving up the hill. Obviously, it’s a hallucination or manifestation of is what he is desires. And he starts chasing the car and he gets to the top of this gorgeous vista and the car disappears. He collapses to the grass and his girlfriend finds him, and he’s shaking and trembling and he’s fallen asleep, is gasping. Golden egg, golden egg. He’s howling. And that night. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: So he’s he’s doing even worse. He screams, Saskia. And his girlfriend’s like, okay, so probably I need to get back out is where I am is what I’m thinking. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But that night, Rex goes alone. And he goes back to the square with the cafe and he gets in and he screams because he was like, this person could still be here, he’s screaming, come down, here I am Rex Hofman. You fucking sent me a letter, you fucking coward. Show yourself and all these residents start coming out and being like, shut the fuck up. And we see Raymond watching Rex through the curtains. 


Alison Leiby: Loving it, I’m sure. 


Halle Kiefer: Getting off on it. That’s the problem, with serial killers. How do you how do you stop them from getting off on it? We don’t know. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: We don’t have the technology. But speaking of technology, you see Raymond at his day job. Unfortunately, Alison, he’s a chemistry professor at a college, which is why he has access to so much goddamn chloroform. 


Alison Leiby: Of course, because I was like, where is he getting this? 


Halle Kiefer: But yeah, he is unfortunately, much like how BTK was like neighborhood watch. [laughs]


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s like he is a chemistry professor and he has access to murder fluids. We see it. You know, he collects all these students tests and that night it’s like a perfect domestic scene we see Simone mending Raymond’s pants and Raymond’s on the couch watching an interview with Denise and Gabrielle. And they’re watching an interview with Rex. And Denise sits up and goes, oh, my God, did you just see us? We were on screen and we cut to the anchor is explaining Rex’s situation and says, Rex, you know, it’s been three years and you’re doing a new push to find your wife and you wanted to come on here and issue a statement to the person who did this. And because Rex is like, fuck this, I have to talk to this motherfucker like I can’t live like this. Rex says to the camera. I’m not mad. I will do anything to know what happened to my wife. So if you were the person and you’re watching this, contact me. I need to, I will do anything to know. 


[clip of Gene Bervoets]: [speaks French]


Halle Kiefer: Back at Rex’s place, which again is basically looks like an FBI headquarters. Like it’s barely a human— 


Alison Leiby: He’s got all the information. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. So some time later, his girlfriend’s moving out and she tells him, like, I do hope eventually you know everything and I’m so sorry. And he shows her all the mail. He’s starting to get all this crackpot mail. So it’s like, oh, she’s in a brothel in Versailles. She’ll be home in three days. Like, people want to be involved. They don’t know anything. And he’s like, do want to watch the interview before you go? And he’s like, sure. Okay. So we see that during the interview, when one of Raymond’s children points to the screen. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: There is a there is secure essentially security footage of a previous time when Rex was at like a fountain where he was supposed to meet up and you could see Raymond and his family are there. 


Alison Leiby: Oh my God. 


Halle Kiefer: But Raymond’s family just would assume. Oh, my God, that’s so crazy. We happened to be there when this guy was there. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: Because they weren’t there for them. They don’t know anything about this. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: And of course, unfortunately, Rex still doesn’t know where Raymond is, so he can’t clock or I don’t think we’re to presume that he ever even saw Raymond, right. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison, we cut to the outside of Rex’s apartment, and Raymond is sitting on a park bench. We see the interviewer say it’s been three years. Like why or why, why now? Like, why what? What is the impetus now? I mean, I’d be like, fuck you, the impetus is my wife is still fucking missing. What are you talking about?


Alison Leiby: Yeah I need to sleep at night. 


Halle Kiefer: I’m not gonna stop looking for my loved one. But instead, Rex says, recently I had a dream. It was the same dream my wife had repeatedly. It was a nightmare, and it was about being in a golden egg. And I believe that that is an omen that we will meet again. And even if we don’t, this is my homage to her. Like I have to do this. And his girlfriend says, which I though was a very fun response, she goes, nice. I was like, I don’t know, maybe you’re French that means something different, but I’m like, that’s a very silly way to like, reply to that. 


Alison Leiby: Nice, nice. 


Halle Kiefer: They say goodbye and she tells Rex like I believe she and he’s like, I’m so sorry. Like, I’m so sorry to hurt you or whatever. She’s like, you know, I ascribe to a law that’s mine and it’s going to take me half as long to get over you as we dated. So it’s going to take about four months. So they dated for eight months. And he says, you know, if there had never been a Saskia, I believe that we would have been in love and this could have been something. And she says, But there was a Saskia and there is, and she leaves and you’re like, oh my God, this guy can’t catch a break. Everything’s got to be bad. And she leaves and we see her walk past Raymond, who is standing outside. 


Alison Leiby: Ooh chilling. 


Halle Kiefer: And we see there’s a moment where Rex tries to search available woman on on his computer, which is like with a black screen, with the green text. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And it’s like the size of his entire desk. 


Alison Leiby: I remember the sound that those keyboards used to make. It was kind of like the springy. Like,  [sound effect] I miss typing on those. 


Halle Kiefer: And every time he searches a woman’s name, it just gets replaced by Saskia over and over again. And even then he smiles because he still loves her. Like even seeing her name. 


Alison Leiby: Of course. 


Halle Kiefer: You know, and he’s just thinking of her. So he goes downstairs. Alison. Raymond approaches him and says, Mr. Hofman, I am the man you’re looking for. And he hands him the car keys that Saskia had on her. Three years ago as proof that he was the one who kidnaped her. 


Alison Leiby: What? 


Halle Kiefer: And he says, come with me to France and I will tell you everything. And Rex says even how she died? And Raymond says, yes, I offer you this unique chance. Alison, I got to ask you, who will survive? 


[voice over]: Who will survive? 


Alison Leiby: I got to hope that Rex survives and kills Raymond. 


Halle Kiefer: That’s the hope. But do you think that is what will happen? 


Alison Leiby: No, I think it’s going to be the other way around. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. The problem is, once you become so devoted to knowing the truth, you forget the other truth, which is it’s not good to go somewhere with a serial killer. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. You’re so intent on getting answers that you’re like, oh, I’m putting my own life—


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. 


Alison Leiby: —in the same danger that I have been revisiting every day for three years. 


Halle Kiefer: And this is always, our, you know, repeatedly bring up never, ever go back. Never. If you escape, keep going. Do not put yourself back in harm’s way. Especially with a serial killer. 


Alison Leiby: Especially. 


Halle Kiefer: You know, a situational horror. You know, what can you do? But this kind of thing you are getting in a car with a serial killer at a certain point. Rex just fucking attacks Raymond and starts beating the hell out of him. 


Alison Leiby: Go, Rex. 


Halle Kiefer: And again, I. If I. If my wife was abducted and then this person shows up three years later and tells you that I am having him bite the curb and I am fucking stomping on the back of his skull, this guy is dead. Like, I don’t give a fuck. Like, I don’t. I mean, I would want to know what happened, obviously, but, like, I will beat this motherfucker to death with a baseball bat. No question. 


Alison Leiby: Absolutely. Absolutely. 


Halle Kiefer: And he gets Raymond down on the ground. He’s just kicking him in the ribs. There’s two kids play with a frisbee. They look over and watching and he finally stops because again, Raymond says, if you harm me, if you tell anyone, you will never know what happened to her. If you come with me, you will find out my offer last 5 minutes and he walks off to his car. Alison, Rex follows him and he gets in Raymond’s car and they drive to fucking France. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And after that, baby, you know where this is headed? 


Alison Leiby: Mm hmm. 


Halle Kiefer: Raymond says if you’re hungry like Raymond again, he wants total control. So he’s like, I prepared you a box lunch and a hands him two sandwiches, like a little Tupperware. And we see in the backseat there’s a thermos. He says, give me your passport as they come to the French border. And in case Rex wanted to scream or get out of the car, it’s like, if they don’t stop us, then you will know everything. Basically, like, because Rex could have freaked out. He could have said something. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And he. They check they, they get cleared through the border and he hands Rex his passport. To me, that’s also a huge red flag. If a serial killer lets you see his passport. Baby, you are not getting out of this alive. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, you’re dead or that’s not a real passport. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, oh absolutely. 


Alison Leiby: Those are like the two options here. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. He’s not just like anyways, this is me. This is my passport number. This is where I was born. Exactly how old I am. And here are the details of a horrific murder. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, and Rex does say at a couple points. He’s like, oh, you’re insane. And Raymond’s like, yeah, yeah, absolutely, man. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, one hundred percent. 


Halle Kiefer: So of course he sees oh, when he looks at the passports like, oh, you lived in the town where we went to the cafe in the plaza. You made me basically go to your house so you could see me and Raymond’s like absolutely. And just, you know, like if you were to leave now and go talk to the police, just so you know, you have no evidence. There is no evidence. I did this. It would be your word against mine. And everyone knows you’re sort of like crazy. But Rex is like, no, there would have been fingerprints on the coins. And they did take all the coins, so they did fingerprint it. And you’re in the photo of the Polaroid. And Raymond’s like, if I had gotten coffee, I would have touched the coins only by the edges. And of course, I didn’t. We do see that he got coffee because, like, I wouldn’t have left my fingerprints on it. And I couldn’t have been visible in the Polaroid, because if I had, you would know what I look like and you would have recognized me all those other times. Because every time I told you to meet, guess what, bitch? I was in that plaza. I was near that fountain. You’ve seen me a bunch of times. I know for a fact that I’m not in that Polaroid. And I’m like, well, shit, he’s smart. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And he and he also tells—


Alison Leiby: That’s when I would really be like, this is a bad idea. I mean every time— 


Halle Kiefer: Oh I’m getting out of the car. We wouldn’t have gotten in the car that’s—


Alison Leiby: We wouldn’t have gotten in the car. But like, you know. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Up until like, this is a real, like turning point of like, oh, I’m better at this than you. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And so Raymond also says, I know that you could kill me, and I accept that risk, but I think you’re too curious to kill me. You want to know what happened? So then Raymond sort of tells Rex his origin story of when he sort of feels like he started on the path to becoming the monster he is today. And he says when he was 16, so he was living in that same balcony. So it must have been a balcony, the apartment with the balcony over the plaza. So that must have been a family in his family. He’s like, when I was 16, I leapt off the balcony and I broke my leg. And we see him sort of dangling over and it’s only a fall of like two stories. But he’s like, I realized that nothing was keeping me from jumping. And if you jumped, then wasn’t it your destiny to jump? Like, whatever I decided it was already something that was going to happen. Now, I would argue that, quote doesn’t make any sense. But of course he’s a serial killer, so he’s going to sort of rationalize everything he does like, well, that was what was going to happen rather than I have free will. And again, that’s the issue of like fate in this movie. And he just he’s like, I broke my leg in seven places. I lost two of my fingers in the fall, and I discovered that I was a sociopath. But, you know, I basically didn’t act on it. And then 26 years later, and this is where the thing and we’ll say like, I’d love to get your thoughts on this premise basically says he was at the canal with his family. They were taking a photo and one of his daughters looks over and there’s a little girl struggling to swim in the canal and without thinking because he, again, is sociopath so he’s not afraid of anything. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Raymond just took off his jacket and leapt in and saved her. And he’s like, my daughters were so proud of me. But I was like, oh, I don’t I didn’t it wasn’t like a heroic moment. 


Alison Leiby: Heroic? Yeah, yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: I just did it. And I decided, you know, her pride is unworthy. I’m not worthy of her pride, unless I prove to myself that I was completely incapable of doing anything evil. So I conceived of the most horrific act imaginable. And then I struck out to see if I could do it. Alison. This feels like the whitest, straightest cis-est man thing to do. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. Just like proving—


Halle Kiefer: Does that make a god damn lick of sense to you? 


Alison Leiby: Like proving that you’re not like, I guess if I was confronted with like, no, that is not. That is yeah, that’s a. I hate that.


Halle Kiefer: If you force yourself to do something horrible, then you’re going to do it. Look at the idea of like fate or like whatever it’s like and then only acts as a force if you believe in it. And so if it’s not real, which is not, then you’re just becoming a monster to prove nothing to no one. 


Alison Leiby: Right. And also, like, if you put all like the whole path of being able like, here’s all the instructions, here’s all the stuff you need to kidnap and kill somebody in front of most people, they would be like, no, thank you. Like, that’s not like it. You being in front of it is not like fate. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: You’ve, you’ve constructed this. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. And there is something about it that does strike the same note to me is like, I don’t know, like when people who claim to be liberal, like, they get pushback on something, it’s like, well, you made me become a neo-Nazi. It’s like, no, that’s not real you’re—


Alison Leiby: You chose that. 


Halle Kiefer: —choosing this. And but yet there’s something that’s like, well, I had to do this. So I think we’re to think like, this is like how he conceives the world is so fucked up that like, this made sense to him. Then he says, Alison, just so you know, killing is not the most horrific act. Not to me. So what he’s saying is, what I did to your wife is worse than just straight up murdering her. Alison, what do you think that could mean? 


Alison Leiby: I don’t even fucking know. 


Halle Kiefer: Just throw it out. First thought first feeling. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, rape. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s not rape. 


Alison Leiby: That’s not what we’re talking. 


Halle Kiefer: No. 


Alison Leiby: Did he like skin her?


Halle Kiefer: I think that’s a good that’s a good guess. Because then because then Rex is like, is she still alive? Do you—


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: Are you keeping her somewhere? Because that, to me, would be worse than getting killed. 


Alison Leiby: Like, that would be worse if she’s like a prisoner, that he’s—


Halle Kiefer: Just in the fucking basement of their second home, their country home. Fucking terrifying. Which also does happen, you know, being from Cleveland. 


Alison Leiby: Yes of course. 


Halle Kiefer: You know, we have that horrible story about those three young women who were kidnaped and kept alive. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: So it’s like, oh, no, if you want to do something, you’re always gonna be rationalizing it. And unfortunately, there are some people who want to do horrific acts. 


Alison Leiby: Mm hmm. 


Halle Kiefer: So Rex says, hey, can we go stop and stretch our legs and we stop at a, they stop at a rest stop and they have like a very long conversation about, like, weird names and the meaning of names. I didn’t understand a damn word what we’re talking about, but—


Alison Leiby: That’s okay. 


Halle Kiefer: That’s fine. And they sort of talk about it. They talk about the Tour de France, about chasing the yellow shirt. And we see Raymond in the past rehearsing different phrases. So. So last time we checked in with his serial killer development, he had just realized he could go to the gas station. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: So this is before Saskia’s kidnaping. He he’s trying different phrases to make him seem like he’s like he is also a tourist. 


Alison Leiby: I see. 


Halle Kiefer: And he basically was just like, this is a very Jeffrey Dahmer. No, no, sorry. This is a Ted Bundy move, where he had the he didn’t have the fake cast yet he had a trailer hitch and he was going up to women. Huge red flag, of course, if you’re a woman. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, I’d be like you actively—


Halle Kiefer: Of all the people here. 


Alison Leiby: Unless you want to kill me, you don’t want me near this. 


Halle Kiefer: Also, it’s like like women with their hair done and miniskirt and heels. And it’s like, yeah, I’m not going to pick up a trailer hitch. Maybe I would have if I was in jeans and a T-shirt. But why would you come talk to me of all the people here?


Alison Leiby: Right, right.


Halle Kiefer: So, you know, he’s keep trying to. And he’s talking to a woman. The woman’s like, oh, okay. Yeah. But then when he takes her over to go hitch, her husband, shows up, and was like, what the fuck are you doing? 


Alison Leiby: Great question. 


Halle Kiefer: And he the husband picks up the trailer hitch and then slaps Raymond in the face. It was like, I know what the fuck you’re doing. Leave my wife alone. They drive on. Rex and Raymond get in the car and they drive on. And Raymond explains that he wasn’t interested in sex workers because nobody cares about them. And they’re too easy. And it’s like, I would love to put a— 


Alison Leiby: Okay asshole. 


Halle Kiefer: —bullet in this guy’s head. And we, of course, cut back to Raymond at his birthday this is still before Saskia’s kidnaping and all of his family, they’re singing him the French birthday song, which I don’t know, and they give him a bunch of gifts. His wife gives him tiles for the house in the country, these beautiful tiles. Gabrielle gives him a green sweater, which we saw what he was wearing when he first put on the fake cast when he abducted Saskia. And Denise gives them a keychain with a letter R on it. And then the final gift is a baby book, but a life book, I suppose, or starting with him as a baby and then leading up to him as an adult. So sort of like Raymond, a Life. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And in that they’re flipping through and they see a photo of him at 16 when he fell from the balcony and he sees that he’s wearing a cast. That’s when he realizes, oh, the problem is I’m too threatening to women if I wear a cast. I become weaker. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And women become more comfortable, which is literally what Ted Bundy did. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: You know, so that day we see him at the gas station, the day that he’s about to abduct Saskia, He’s got he’s wearing the sweater his daughter gave him. He’s got his fake cast. And again, we keep hearing about Fignon chasing the yellow. And as Saskia gets out of the car we, we see that she has a yellow top on. She is his Tour de France. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: He is going to finally achieve it. And again, it’s like all these moments where like Saskia actually went out and they, you know, like they played with the Frisbee, they buried the coin. So like she could have just gotten in the car. They wouldn’t, she would have been fine. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And Raymond in that moment thought, oh I didn’t get her, I’ll get someone else. So he actually asked another woman for help and he got so far as to get her in the passenger seat. But then he kept sneezing into his chloroform handkerchief and he sort of freaks out and he runs inside and she just like, gets out of his car, leaves. 


Alison Leiby: [laughs] Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So again, he’s thinking, I just blew it again. But by the time he comes out of the bathroom, Saskia had come back in to buy beverages. If she had just gotten a Coke and a beer, they’d be fine. But she goes to the coffee machine where he’s standing and he’s telling Rex, you know, if I hadn’t sneezed, if she hadn’t come back in, if you hadn’t buried those coins, if she hadn’t buried the coins, she wouldn’t have to turn and ask Raymond for change for the coffee machine. He doesn’t have it. So she goes to break a bill for the change and comes back to the coffee machine. So she didn’t. She didn’t take a coin from him. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: So even if the fingerprints are there, it doesn’t matter. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: So all these moments that Raymond attributes to fate that this is leading him to, it had to be her, right? 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And she turns to him. And like she’s such a bubbly, like outgoing person, she’s like, oh, my God, I’m going to drive on the highway for the first time. I’m like, oh, that’s why it was such a big fucking deal. That’s terrifying. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, that’s terrifying. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison, She see’s the keychain his daughter gave him, and it has the letter R on it. She’s like, oh my God, my husband’s name also ties with R, where did you get that? He has the ugliest little keychain I hate it so much. Look at my keys. And Raymond says, this is the craziest thing. I actually sell these keychains and I’ve got a bunch of them in the car. If you want, you can just buy one right now. Alison she goes to the car, which parked around back of the gas station and he has the box of tiles. So he’s sort of like, oh, comments in the passenger seat. You can sort of go through them. There’s a bunch of different styles. And she hesitates. But then she looks and she sees the photo of him with his family at the canal, which he has sort of like in the little change divot.


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Which like is like very like, oh, he’s a nice family man. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. 


Alison Leiby: He has a wife and kids. He’s not going to hurt me. 


Halle Kiefer: He’s got a job selling keychains. 


Alison Leiby: Not true. 


Halle Kiefer: Because no one who is no one who has ever had a family could be evil, as we all know. 


Alison Leiby: Could ever do anything wrong. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison. Raymond gets in the driver’s seat. She goes to the passenger seat. He has a chloroform rag on her in seconds, and he, she screams. He grabs her, and that’s it. And I think I just wanna say I think this this moment speaks to I think I think we’re moving past this, I hope, into more of a holistic conversation about this. But it really did make me think of people say like, well, not all men. It’s like, no, no, no, no. Obviously not all men, but not no men. 


Alison Leiby: Right not no men. 


Halle Kiefer: Problem is that it’s not no, men. We have to get to the point where it’s as close to no men as possible. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. Right now we’re at some men. 


Halle Kiefer: Some men. That’s the problem. It’s not that it’s all men. It’s obviously not that we would we would have a lot more problem. 


Alison Leiby: Nobody would be alive. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s that it’s some men, you know. 


Alison Leiby: It’s some men. 


Halle Kiefer: And that’s enough. 


Alison Leiby: And we’d like it to be no men. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And as he drives away with her passed out of the passenger seat, he drives over her can of coke and it explodes. Back in current day, we see a cop pull over Raymond and Rex to yell at Raymond about not wearing a seatbelt. But Raymond says I actually have a certificate from a doctor. I don’t have to wear one because I’m claustrophobic. And I was like, that’s really funny because I have a phobia of rocketing through my fucking windshield at 70 miles per hour. But you do you girl.


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Getting a horrific head trauma because I slam into the windshield or the steering wheel or the seat in front of me. [both speaking] But that’s just my, that’s just my phobia.  


Halle Kiefer: A phobia of my head exploding like a fucking watermelon. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Hitting the side of a semi-truck. But sure. 


Alison Leiby: That’s just me. That’s just us. 


Halle Kiefer: Back on the road, Raymond says, You know, that’s a great example. Anything can fuck up your plans. But if it’s fate, then it’s fate. Like, that was like you couldn’t fuck up. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: What was going to happen. This, of course, is not true, but is it is what the movie suggests. And they finally get to the rest stop the gas station where Saskia was taken and they get out of the car and Rex says, so fucking tell me what happened to her. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: I came here. We are at the fucking scene of the crime fucking tell me. 


Alison Leiby: Tell him. 


Halle Kiefer: And Raymond says, I will only tell you by showing you exactly what happened to her. 


Alison Leiby: So he’s just going to. 


Halle Kiefer: But Rex is like, well, is she still alive? Like, what do you mean, you’re going to show me? And he’s like, no, no. And he hands him a cup from the thermos that was in the backseat and says, drink this. And Rex says, well, what is it? He says, it’s I’ve dissolved a sleeping pill in it. You’ll pass out and then you will experience exactly what she experienced. It’ll take about an hour. And Rex says, you’re fucking insane. I don’t want to punish you. I don’t want to go to the cops. I don’t care about you. I don’t. I’m not going to do this. I just wanna know what happened to her. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Just tell me. 


Halle Kiefer: And Raymond says, I know. And I believe that you won’t do that. But this is truly the only way. Rex, says fuck this and throws the drink in Raymond’s face. And Raymond just wipe it off and pours another one out of the thermos. And Rex is like you could be fake. Raymond hands him the keys says, I have your keys so you can say what you want. You know, I have the keys. And he’s like, look, you could leave right now. You could tell the police. I could be arrested and charged and tried. But just so you know, if that were to happen, I will never tell you what happened to her. You will never know. I will go to prison for that. I don’t give a fuck. 


Alison Leiby: God. It would be hard like, you know, you would like obviously, your own safety and like. Like being alive is at stake here. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. 


Alison Leiby: But boy, to be like you can know right now or you’ll never know when you’ve been—


Halle Kiefer: It’s so. And he’s like—


Alison Leiby: —truly haunted for three years. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. 


Alison Leiby: Of like what happened?


Halle Kiefer: He is consumed by it. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And that’s why Raymond is able to even ask it. Say, this is like he knows on some level that Rex is considering it. Again, if this ever happened to me, I know that my undoubtedly dead wife would want me to not do this. 


Alison Leiby: Yep. 


Halle Kiefer: So I would feel confident that I wouldn’t. But Rex is. He’s at such a bad place. It’s like, okay, I guess I’m going to do this. But he’s like, no, fuck you. And he storms away. It starts raining. And Raymond yells but what about the eternal uncertainty, Mr. Hofman? The eternal uncertainty. And Rex stops and he stops right near the tree where they bury the coins. And he gets down in the mud and he digs them up, and they’re still there. 


Alison Leiby: Aw.


Halle Kiefer: And then there’s this incredible scene of like, we’re watching Raymond sitting in the car and the rain is sort of obscuring and disfiguring his face as it falls. And then in the headlights, we just see Rex is going fucking insane. Like, he’s literally just running around on his hands and knees,  like, freaking out, like, crawling, like crying, doesn’t know what to do. Like in front of us losing his mind. Alison. Rex goes back to the car and the drink is on the hood, and he drinks it, and he throws a cup on the ground. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: And then we hear again the speech of Raymond saying, like, how do you what is stopping you from? What is destiny? Are you predestined? Is if what you want to do is isn’t destiny? How do you avoid it? Like, it’s sort of like, what is destiny in our role? Alison. Unfortunately. I hate to say this and you hate to see this. We cut to Raymond burying Rex alive in a coffin. And in total darkness we hear a Rex wake up and he has his lighter on him. And he starts to search for a way out. He’s screaming and screaming and then he starts laughing maniacally. And we hear him say, my name is Rex Hofman, and he’s screaming, my name is Rex Hofman. 


[clip of Gene Bervoets]: [screaming] Rex Hofman. 


Halle Kiefer: And in the light in the darkness, the flame of his lighter becomes a golden egg of light. And we see him in his final thoughts, ostensibly him driving out of the tunnel into the sunlight towards Saskia and then seeing her smile. And we end on Raymond finally moving his family into the house. It’s totally done it looks gorgeous. 


Alison Leiby: I mean. 


Halle Kiefer: And he looks miserable. And on in the newspaper for the day is a report of Rex’s mysterious disappearance three years after his wife. And I think we’re supposed to believe that Raymond realizes that that wasn’t that it had no meaning, that what he did wasn’t whether or when I was destiny, It wasn’t anything. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: The end. Alison, it seems almost comical to ask but what’s what are some fatal mistakes you think people made in The Vanishing?


[voice over]: Fatal mistakes. 


Alison Leiby: Getting in the car with Raymond when he showed back up and told him, told Rex who he was. 


Halle Kiefer: There is I don’t know if you’ve ever had a mistake that obvious and that large. 


Alison Leiby: That’s it’s like it’s just so clear. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s just. And you know that he knows that. 


Alison Leiby: He knows. I think like that’s what it’s saying is like he knows it’s wrong, but it doesn’t matter because he’s looking for answers. And if he can get answers, it’s worth that’s huge. It’s not even a risk. It’s a given that he’s gonna get murdered. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. And I guess he did find out. I suppose that’s in some ways. Something? 


Alison Leiby: Something. It’s something. 


Halle Kiefer: But other than that, I mean, Saskia. I mean, never get in anyone’s car. We know that by now. 


Alison Leiby: Don’t get in anyone’s car. 


Alison Leiby: It doesn’t matter how beautiful the key rings they’re selling are. 


Halle Kiefer: I mean, that that was the initial mistake. And then, I mean, what else can you say? Don’t get into a—


Alison Leiby: I mean once. Yeah. Don’t get into a car. 


Halle Kiefer: Don’t go to France with a serial killer. We’re begging you. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, don’t do that. Just don’t do that. 


Halle Kiefer: And then, finally, where would you place The Vanishing on the spooky scale, Alison? 


[voice over]: A spooky scale. 


Alison Leiby: I got to say this is like a 7.5 for me. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. I’m going to give this a nine. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, it’s like the you’re right. Like the realism of just like, this guy’s an asshole serial killer. And we’re seeing exactly how he became that. And we’re seeing somebody haunted and, like, destroyed by the complete vagueness of how his partner disappeared. Like, it’s just like that shit like happens. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, it is to know—


Alison Leiby: Also being buried alive is, like, truly one of the scariest things. 


Halle Kiefer: The one I know. I think for me, maybe the reason that this really tickled my pickle. I don’t know what the fuck. I don’t know why I said it like that, but this really got my goat, because I knew the twist. I read about this years ago and then to see it, it still packs such a fucking punch because it is so viscerally upsetting. 


Alison Leiby: It’s so upsetting. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s so. But, what a phenomenal movie. If this seems like something you could watch, go ahead and watch it again. Even though—


Alison Leiby: Yeah it sounds like a good one. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s so well done. Like just seeing that initial when Rex goes nuts, like when he realizes that she’s been taken and is just running around the gas station. It’s so scary. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But yeah, that’s a thank you for joining us again this week, everyone. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: We love you very much. 


Alison Leiby: We love you very much. And please keep it spooky. [music plays] Don’t forget to follow us at Ruined podcasts and Crooked Media for show updates. And if you’re as opinionated as we are, consider dropping us a review. Ruined is a Radio Point and Crooked Media production, we’re your writers and hosts Halle Kiefer and Alison Leiby. The show is executive produced by Alex Bach, Sabrina Fonfeder and Houston Snyder, and recorded and edited by Kat Iossa. From Crooked Media our executive producer is Kendra James with production and promotional support from Ari Schwartz, Kyle Seglin, Julia Beach, Caroline Dunphy, and Ewa Okulate.