Aileen - Life and Death of a Serial Killer
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Acclaimed director Nick Broomfield's vision takes you behind the sensational headlines of America'sfirst female serial killer and into the true life and unbalanced mind of a woman trying to deal with a brutal past and an even more deadly future. Both timely and terrifying, this powerful film provides an unsparing look at a madwoman's trial, appeal and execution. You will be mesmerized by the true and tragic story of a paranoid prostitute who began killing her customers in a murderous rage. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone says her eyes, radiating madness, will haunt your dreams. Filmed at Aileen Wuornos request, and containing her last interviews, this unflinching film recounts Aileen's life at the margins of society and shows her escalating psychological unraveling as she approaches her execution.
"We have evil in us, all of us do, and my evil just happened to come out because of the circumstances," said serial killer Aileen Wuornos in an interview conducted shortly before her execution in 2002. Director Nick Broomfield, in this sequel to his previous documentary Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer, delves further into Wuornos's horrific childhood (including an interview with her biological mother) and follows the appeals process as her case goes through its final efforts. But the movie's core are the fascinating, devastating interviews with Wuornos herself, alternately lucid and delusional as she obsesses about the police, whom she believes allowed her murders to happen to increase the potential for profit from movies and books about the case. Anyone who's seen Monster, based on Wuornos's story, will find the real woman even more compelling and frightening than Charlize Theron's award-winning portrayal. --Bret Fetzer
- Monster trailer
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Aileen was a hitchhiking hooker. She killed a total of seven men before she was captured, and late in the movie, she asserts that the main reason was that the cops "let her do it." She argues that there was plenty of evidence at the scene of the first murder, but the cops chose to ignore it so that she would keep killing until they had a sensational serial killer who would make them a lot of money on book and movie deals.
Sadly, there seems to be a good bit of basis for that argument.
This movie also serves as a compelling argument against the death penalty. There was no question of her guilt, but that's only one problem with the death penalty. Aileen convincingly illustrates another: we kill crazy people who were entirely unable to appreciate the gravity of their crimes. Late in the appeal to Governor Jeb Bush for clemency, Aileen was ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation to decide whether she was sane enough to be executed. There's something very strange in the concept, but I suppose they mean whether she was sufficiently sane to justify imposing the death penalty. Two state-appointed psychiatrists spend a grand total of 15 minutes with her before concluding that she was legally sane.
Of course, I would argue that a serial killer is, pretty much by definition, insane. Sane people just don't kill someone in order to rob them and leave no witnesses, which was her primary motive. Not seven times. But there was a lot more. She had a lot of crazy delusions, and it was also pretty clear that her grandfather was also her father, which would mean not only a severely dysfunctional family, but very likely genetic problems caused by the doubling up of his genes. He was not a very nice guy.
I am opposed to the death penalty, even though I am not fanatical about it. I will acknowledge I see this movie through that lens. So it is pretty disturbing to see the extent to which Aileen welcomed her execution. She had "got religion" to some extent, and was convinced that she was going to God. Apparently she had no trouble believing that she was forgiven.
I would recommend this movie only to those with a significant interest in criminal law or in the death penalty specifically. It's of little value to anyone else.
One detective suggests a woman did it (most serial murderers are men). At home Lee has a nightmare. The police find blond hair in two cars, and note the seat position. TV news tells about the murders and the suspect. Later Lee finds her girlfriend has left her. The police get a tip, investigate, and locate the motel. It’s Christmas time, Lee remembers her past as a young teenager. A thumb print brings up Aileen Wuornos’ records for the police. The police visit Ohio to learn about Tyra Moore, who learns about Aileen’s past. The police narrow their search to a few locations. Two undercover policemen locate Aileen in a bar. She dances by herself. The police need the gun to tie her to the murders, and her girlfriend. But she can slip away. They will arrest her on an old warrant and pretend they know nothing more. She is invited outside.
“What is going on?” “I’ve no idea.” There is no gun, they need to find Tyra. Her father tells where she is, the police take her into “protective custody”. “I’m glad its over.” Tyra offers corroboration and tells about Aileen’s storage shed in Daytona. She will cooperate in a telephone call. Tyra gets another call from Aileen. She talks about suicide. This convinces Aileen to confess and clear Tyra; she does. “I’m very sorry” for the killings. She was tried, convicted, and executed in 2002.
The movie said she was raped by her father and brother, and gave birth to a child at age 13! It was taken away from her. With a hard life like that why was nothing done by local government? Do other killers have a history of an abused childhood? [Or make it up to gain sympathy?] What about her relatives? Would an extended family made a difference instead of a “nuclear family”? What about Child Protective Services? This does not excuse her later actions. Why do some children turn bad? Is it abuse at home? What did her school teachers do? “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Her killings were done for money. If she had a good job at good pay would this have happened? Serial killers are hard to detect since there is no prior connection to the victim. Most murders occur between people who know each other. There is another movie on this case with another point of view.