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[Closer to Death] ‘Compliance’ – The True Story Of A Young Girl’s Horrific Violation

Compliance is being called the most uncomfortable, get-under-your-skin film of the year, and while not exactly of the horror genre, there’s no denying that the entire event that takes place is psychologically terrifying and something nobody would want to go through.

In this week’s Closer to Death, we’re going to put the spotlight on a film (released this past August 17th) that may have passed under your radar, and peer into the true story behind it : the disgusting crime that inspired director Craig Zobel to lay out the sick psychology of what happened to a young girl named Louise Ogborn at work at McDonalds one unfortunate day.

When a police officer tells you to do something, you do it. Right?

Inspired by true events, Compliance tells the chilling story of just how far one might go to obey a figure of authority. On a particularly busy day at a suburban Ohio fast food joint, high-strung manager Sandra (Ann Dowd (Garden State) receives a phone call from a police officer saying that an employee, a pretty young blonde named Becky (newcomer Dreama Walker) has stolen money from a customer. Convinced she’s only doing what’s right, Sandra commences the investigation, following step-by-step instructions from the officer at the other end of the line, no matter how invasive they become. As we watch, we ask ourselves two questions: “Why don’t they just say no?” and the more troubling, “Am I certain I wouldn’t do the same?”

The second feature from director Craig Zobel (the man behind the 2007 Sundance hit Great World of Sound), Compliance recounts this riveting nightmare in which the line between legality and reason is hauntingly blurred. The cast delivers startlingly authentic performances that make the appalling events unfolding onscreen all the more difficult to watch – but impossible to turn away from. Delving into the complex psychology of this real-life story, Compliance proves that sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction.

Why isn’t it easy to “just say no….”

This really happened in 2004.

A young girl named Louise Ogborn was working her shift at a McDonalds when she was called to the back of the restaurant by her manager, who believed she had spoken with the police. The manager had been told that Louise was the subject of a crime – fitting the ‘police description’ to a ‘T’. She was asked to assist in a simple procedure, where young Louise was given the option to cooperate, or be subject to an arrest. Wanting to comply with the officer on the phone, Louise cooperated through stranger and stranger circumstances over the course of three hours, until she was eventually strip searched, spanked, spread open, and commanded to perform oral sex on another man brought in to assist.

Without ruining everything about the film, lets just say this case was cracked by local detectives, ending a consecutive string of about 70 similar crimes that occurred over a three year period, through 30 states, leading up to that dark and fateful day in Kentucky.

Some notable cases from that string listed by Wikipedia include:

– Two calls reported in 1992: one in Devils Lake, North Dakota and another in Fallon, Nevada.

– A McDonald’s manager in Leitchfield, Kentucky was convinced on November 30, 2000 to undress before a customer when the caller persuaded her that the customer was a suspected sex offender and that her serving as bait would permit undercover officers to arrest him when he showed an interest in her.

– A call to a McDonald’s restaurant in Hinesville, Georgia in February 2003, in which a female manager, who thought she was speaking with a police officer in the presence of the director of operations for the franchisee GWD Management Corporation, took a 19-year-old female employee into the women’s bathroom and strip searched her, and brought in a 55-year-old male employee to perform a body cavity search to uncover hidden drugs.

– On January 26, 2003, an Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar assistant manager victimized a waitress after receiving a collect call from someone who purported to be a regional manager.

– On June 3, 2003, a Taco Bell manager in Juneau, Alaska stripped a 14-year-old female customer and forced her to perform lewd acts, at the request of a caller who claimed he was working with the company to investigate drug abuse.

– In July 2003, a 36-year-old Winn-Dixie grocery store manager in Panama City, Florida received a call instructing him to bring a 19-year-old female cashier, who matched a physical description provided by the caller, into the office for a strip search. The cashier was forced to disrobe and pose in various positions as part of the search. The incident was ended when another manager entered the office to retrieve a set of keys.

– In March 2004, a 17-year-old female customer at a Taco Bell in Fountain Hills, Arizona near Phoenix was strip-searched by a manager receiving a call from a man claiming to be a police officer.

The caller on the line who forced these coercive acts of sexual fantasy over the phone probably suffered from compulsive voyeurism – fetish driven needs for interrogation scenes and erotic humiliation. Its amazing these callers got away with as many attempts as they did.

ABC NEWS VIDEO on the case

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~ John Marrone – CLOSER to DEATH



  • flesheater24

    This is going to be good

  • lucie-with-a-gun

    “Inspired by true events,…”
    bcause no one could ever possibly make something this insane up.

  • BurnTheBlueSky

    I heard about this on the news a little while back. It goes to show you how fucked up people are. Not only the people on the phone telling the workers what to do, but the managers who go along with it, and even down to the employees who are too afraid to just walk out and go straight to the police.

  • ReplicA

    Just saw Compliance, and holy shit. So many times, I found myself saying “no fucking way! There’s no way!” And yeah, I was wrong. I don’t know how so many people could be so willing to throw the rights of others out the window, cause a voice on the phone told them to. I just don’t get it. That many times, over that length of time, it insane. I like to think people aren’t generally stupid (outside of the internet anyway), but this really killed my faith in humanity.

    Great article, once again. But was anyone else disturbed by the end of that 20/20 clip? Maybe it’s just cause I don’t watch the news anymore, but to go from this incredibly awful story, and jump directly to a mathematician, who teaches kids is jarring to say the least

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