Sigourney Weaver plays a psychiatrist who specializes in serial killers. She suffers from agoraphobia and her only link to the outside world is her computer. A serial killer who copies the methods of famous serial killers (hence the title) threatens her on-line. Holly Hunter plays a cop who is on the trail of the killer. Together they try to identify him and, hopefully, despatch him.
This is the first of two hangings in the film. After giving a presentation on criminal psychology, she’s escorted to the bathroom where she prepares to do her business. Unbeknownst to her, one of the members of her audience is hiding in a nearby stall. Her police escort doesn’t notice him and leaves Sigourney to herself. We then see the killer remove the women’s’ shoes he was wearing to avoid detection and starts stringing a steel cable over a section of pipe above the stall Sigourney’s in. Then, just as Sigourney’s about to take her seat, the killer drops the noose around her neck and quickly pulls down on the other end to tighten it. Sigourney caught completely by surprise, can only react as she’s swiftly pulled up off the floor. The killer then fastens his end of the cable to the stall he’s in, leaving Sigourney to struggle against the noose while trying to maintain what footing she has left on the toilet seat.
Hearing the commotion, the cop standing guard cautiously enters the bathroom. Upon seeing Sigourney strung up, he pulls his weapon and starts checking the stalls. Soon, he’s also taken by surprise as the killer raises a knife to his throat. After debating whether to shoot or stab him, the killer does both and then wipes his knife off. The clip ends with a shot of the guard’s partner running toward the bathroom.
As a fan of lift-up, lasso-style hangings, this scene was right up my alley when I first saw the movie in ’95. I only wish it had involved a throw-away character to treat us with a great death scene. In 2012, it was eclipsed by a death scene in a French flick called Blind Man.