The 70s were dark times for America. They call them "the Cynical '70s" because the proud and perfect way Americans saw themselves during WWII and the '50s soon turned to horrific and devastating disasters that made everyone lose their faith in the country -- and even God.
The Vietnam war and civil rights struggle tore the country apart. American manufacturing jobs largely disappeared as the country switched to an uncertain Information Economy for the first time, with short-lived careers and ever-dwindling wages and benefits. The Arabs retaliated against the West with Oil embargoes, price hikes and endless gas lines that plunged the nation into recession and stagflation. LBJ's lies and failures regarding Vietnam were exposed and Richard Nixon became one of the most corrupt Presidents in U.S. history -- and the only one to resign in scandal. We essentially lost Vietnam. A regime friendly to the West lost the Iranian Revolution -- where the Americans at the U.S. embassy were held hostage. Not to mention the Golden Age of Arab terrorists hijacking planes and wreaking havoc for Israel and all Westerners.
All this meant that Americans began to lose faith in the country. For the first time ever, Baby Boomers got control of Hollywood and joined the media in exposing the failures of American institutions -- with depressing movies like Apocalypse Now, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Nashville, The Godfather, The French Connection, The Last Picture Show, The Conversation, The Deer Hunter, Easy Rider. They were all questioning the American way because of the draft, the Vietnam War and the hippie counterculture movement.
And the hippies themselves started to realize their grand dreams of peace, love, happiness and equality were NOT going to happen. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. Nixon secretly ratcheted up the Vietnam War and expanded it to Cambodia, despite his promises to the contrary. George McGovern lost the 1972 Presidential election. Creepy cults that grew out of the hippie movement committed horrible atrocities led by charismatic psychopaths like Charles Manson and Jim Jones, which resulted in the Jonestown Massacre.
Hippie musicians turned into Heavy Metal ones and started singing about how the forces of evil were WINNING, starting with Black Sabbath. And real life-Satanic or witch cults -- and the media panic exploiting them — created public hysteria in the U.S. and Britain. Tabloids and horror films exploited this -- with witch cult movies from Hammer Horror in Britain. And the horror genre got MUCH more violent and dark than the world had ever seen before: The Exorcist was a massive hit that caused hysteria, fainting spells and heart attacks among shocked, American audiences. Never-before-seen splatterfests like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre emerged.
All of this may have created a sense of freedom in serial killers -- and society didn't yet have the technology to catch them so easily with DNA testing, or a video camera in everyone's pocket, or e-mail and social networking or The Patriot Act and domestic spying that the government does now.
All of this created a "Strange Brew" that must have seemed like springtime for serial killers.