The emergence of 24-hour national cable news, with CNN becoming hugely popular during the 1991 Gulf War, may have had something to do with the wave of high school shootings of the later 1990s that fizzled out in tedium in 2001. Events like Columbine were perfect for filling up many hours per day. Then, 9/11 and the anthrax poisonings came along and that gave us lots of new stuff to obsess about. Perhaps potential high school shooters intuited that not as many viewers would pay attention to them in the wake of 9/11, so why bother?
The Starkweather–Fugate case inspired the films The Sadist (1963), Badlands(1973), Kalifornia (1993), Natural Born Killers (1994) and Starkweather (2004).
Badlands, with Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek, launched director Terrance Malick's career. In the late 1970s, critic John Simon called it the best movie he'd ever seen. Natural Born Killers was made by Oliver Stone near his technical peak.