Skip to Content

Tabloid by Errol Morris []



This documentary feature recalls the strange adventures Joyce McKinney, a former Wyoming beauty queen.  Using interviews with the woman herself, a pilot, an ex-Mormon, a British tabloid reporter, a photographer and a scientist in the field of cloning, we learn learn the bizarre history of McKinney.  While mostly relying on these talking head interviews in front of a greyish background with archival footage and cut and paste animation, Morris creates a riveting, suspenseful film.
It recalls a period in the late 1970’s when Joyce McKinney became a British tabloid star after flying to the U.K. with a small crew to “rescue” her estranged Mormon missionary boyfriend.  She claims he was brainwashed by members of the church and so she took him to an inn for three days to deprogram his brain.  His story differs.  Kirk Anderson (who did not wish to be interviewed for the documentary) had claimed that he was kidnapped at gunpoint, tied up and then raped by McKinney.  After the news broke, tabloid papers looked into the beauty queen’s history and produced several scandalous pieces.
While viewing Tabloid, a particular scene from the film Head seemed rather poignant.  The Swami tells Monkee Peter Tork, “all belief possibly could be said to be the result of some conditioning. Thus, the study of history is simply the study of one system of beliefs deposing another, and so on and so on and so on…”  How will the story of Joyce McKinney’s life ultimately be documented?

Tagged: ,