I talk with Sean Cribbin, survivor of serial killer Bruce McArthur, and Sean’s partner Steve Sauder, who also provided the music score for the documentary. Was I Next? The Sean Cribbin Story, a multiple-award winning documentary from iCogitate Productions, tells the story of Sean Cribbin, a gay man who lived through a shocking brush with death at the hands of Canada’s most brutal serial killer, Bruce McArthur. After years of communicating via online dating apps, in July of 2017 Sean agreed to meet McArthur, but once they were at his apartment, McArthur gave Sean a larger than normal dose of GHB, a known date-rape drug, which made him black out. McArthur photographed Sean’s unconscious body in a number of ritualized poses, as he had done before with his 8 other victims before killing them, dismembering them, and hiding the remains in large planters. This time, however, McArthur’s roommate unexpectedly returned home, having taken the afternoon off work, unknowingly saving Sean’s life. After regaining consciousness, confused and entirely unaware of how closely he had come to dying, Sean returned home and chalked the encounter up to a bad date. Seven months later, in January of 2018, in the days after McArthur was arrested for 2 of the 8 murders he would eventually be charged with, the Toronto Police contacted Sean. They had found the photographs of his unconscious form on McArthur’s computer, and asked him to come in for an interview. It is at this interview that he learned the truth about what happened at the hands of a serial killer now charged with multiple counts of murder, of the remarkable coincidences which saved his life, and just how close he had come to his own end. While the extraordinary events above serve as the catalyst for what follows, they are only the starting point for the documentary (in fact, the filmmakers made the conscious decision to avoid saying the killer’s name whenever possible in the film), which tells a remarkable tale of trauma, survivor’s guilt, cyber-bullying, victim-blaming and eventually healing.
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