- Directed by Nanette Burstein
- November 2, 2022
This is the story of a bodybuilding couple and their tragic end on Valentine’s Day.
I came across this documentary series when I wasn’t looking for anything. I had decided to take care of some house stuff and turned on Netflix because I hadn’t watched anything on it in a while and this was one of the suggestions. Being a fan of murder documentaries for background noise I popped it on and came to experience a rather interesting story about an interesting individual.
Killer Sally focuses on amateur bodybuilder Sally McNeil. On March 19, 1996 Sally McNeil was convicted of second degree murder for shooting death of her husband and fellow bodybuilder Ray McNeil on Valentine’s Day of 1995. She had claimed self-defense.
They start the series off humanizing her and making her a very sympathetic figure. She is portrayed as a battered wife who blindly supported her abusive husband as he worked to become a professional bodybuilder. She is a passionate woman who could let her emotions get the best of her and go too far.
This gives way to a much more complex and less sympathetic image when then begin to talk to friends of Ray though Ray is far from a saint either. I was left with the impression Ray was not as invested in the relationship as Sally was with Ray treating it more as casual boyfriend/girlfriend thing than a marriage.
By the end you are left with an understanding of why she did what she did and for me personally I could not believe she got the sentence she had. I’m not sure she should’ve gotten away scot-free based on how they presented things but the amount of time she spent in prison seemed excessive and more about winning the case and not delivering justice.
Perhaps that impression is left in part because the prosecutor Dan Goldstein doesn’t do himself any favors in Killer Sally. In his responses he comes off, well, as a bit of a jerk. He didn’t seem so much interested in a just outcome as securing a win for himself. He seems a little more focused on how it reflects on him rather than doing justice.
This documentary shined a light on female bodybuilding and the body bodybuilding world in general of the era in which this all occurred. There is some weird stuff that went on. The name ‘Killer Sally’ comes from a character she played in videos that could be best described as muscle porn. She was the breadwinner in the family via muscle porn and that appears to have played into a lot of the issues in the relationship.
This is also a good depiction of how an obsessive love can go horribly wrong when both sides do not have that. It will pull on your heartstrings and be informative about something you may have heard about but not been too well-informed on.
Killer Sally is an engaging documentary series. It has minimal style to it but the direction and the editing does a good job of pulling you in as well as humanizing the main character. And at no point is she portrayed as a monster but rather a sympathetic figure. You will find yourself strangely unable to pull away. This will become something you’ll sit down and binge right through.
Killer Sally is a great documentary series. It’s got emotion and it will make you feel as it holds your attention from start to finish. This is definitely something to check out. Currently available on Netflix.