Chained: Is Bob Fittler Based on a Real Serial Killer?

Directed by Jennifer Lynch, ‘Chained’ is a 2012 crime thriller film featuring a sadistic serial killer named Bob Fittler. Bob, who works as a taxi driver to kidnap his victims, abducts a nine-year-old kid and his mother after their trip to the movie theater. After killing the mother, Bob holds the kid captive, chained to his house in the middle of nowhere. Tim, renamed “Rabbit,” lives out his childhood and teenage years trapped inside the house under Bob’s rules and abuse. Meanwhile, Bob tries to break the kid’s innocence and have him follow in his deviant footsteps.

Primarily the film explores the dynamic between Bob and Rabbit and its psychological implications. Due to the same, Bob plays a significant role in the film through whom the narrative delves into themes of trauma, violence, and apathy. Given Bob’s realistic portrayal as a serial killer, viewers must be curious about his character’s origin. Therefore, here is everything you need to know about Bob Fittler.

Is Bob Fittler a Real Serial Killer?

No, Bob Fittler is not based on a real serial killer. ‘Chained,’ written by director Jennifer Lynch, based on screenwriter Damian O’Donnell’s original script, follows a fictional story populated with fictional characters and storylines. As such, Bob Fittler, only referred to as Bobby in the film, is just a product of Lynch and O’Donnell’s imagination created to serve the story.

Initially, O’Donnell’s rendition of Bob’s character presented a more outright gruesome and visibly violent killer. Named simply “The Dicer,” in O’Donnell’s version of the script, Bob killed his victims through torture. Ultimately after Lynch rewrote the film, she modified Bob’s character to provide extra nuance and depth to him and wrote out the nickname “Dicer.”

Still, it’s worth noting that there can be a possible connection between Bob, the Dicer, and another fictitious killer. According to the urban legend behind the famous nursery rhyme “The Muffin Man,” London saw its first documented serial killer in 1589 and 1598. The fabled killer, known as Muffin Man or the Drury Lane Dicer, lured kids out with muffins to kill them in dark alleys. Due to the similarity between the two serial killers’ names and their “stories” revolving around kids, it’s possible that Drury Lane Dicer inspired some aspect of O’Donnell’s Bob, the Dicer.

Nevertheless, Lynch denied having taken any inspiration from any serial killer. Regardless of the same, Bob’s serial killer storyline further roots him in reality. According to reports, as of 2020, 3,613 serial killers were documented within the country. Moreover, about 27.3% of these killers, like Bob, derive sexual pleasure from their victims. As such, even though Bob doesn’t take inspiration from any real-life serial killer, his motive has a connection to reality.

Lynch also discredited other possible parallels viewers might draw between Bob and the identically named antagonist from her father, David Lynch’s 1990 TV series ‘Twin Peaks.’ While discussing the same in an interview, the director said, “He’s [Bob from ‘Chained’] his own fella. It didn’t occur to me that there was a connection, and he’s never called by name in the film.”

Sharing her actual intention with Bob’s character, Lynch said, “I just needed a regular, common-sounding name because we needed one for reference, and Bob was pretty common. The terrifying thing about him is that he’s just this ordinary guy driving a taxi around on the surface, yet has this underlying subtlety of horror, serial killer dark side within him.”

Instead of embodying any particular serial killer lifted from reality, Bob’s character is used to explore the makings of a serial killer. Since Lynch likes to believe serial killers like Bob aren’t born but rather made, his backstory about an abusive father and forced incest allows a window into his psyche that explains his behavior without excusing it. After Bob’s father makes him rape his own mother, Bob develops a deep-seated hatred for women.

Bob starts believing all women are devious and deserve to die. His rejection of accountability and deflection of blame on his mother conveys a strong statement about blind social hatred driven by outside influences. Therefore, it’s safe to say any sense of realism Bob Fittler may possess comes from Lynch’s dedication to developing him as a well-fleshed-out character. Ultimately, he doesn’t have a firm connection to a real-life serial killer.

Read More: Chained Ending, Explained: Does Rabbit Kill Angie?