Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer

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Published on 23rd March 2017 by

In 1993 the British documentary film maker Nick Broomfield made a documentary about notorious American female serial killer Aileen Wuornos, who had been convicted of killing seven men in Florida in 1989 and 1990. That documentary, Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer, charted his attempts to arrange an interview with Wuornos whilst she was behind bars. The film effectively exposes the way that her family had monetized her crimes, even the police involved in her case appeared interested in the potential fortune they could make in the event of a movie deal. Footage obtained in that first film was used by the defense lawyers in her 2001 retrial in an attempt to prove the incompetence of her initial lawyer and to accuse the police officers involved in her arrest of having a vested interest.

Ten years later Broomfield returned to the subject and created this second feature length film, Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer, which was screened the year after Wuornos was put to death by lethal injection. It focuses primarily on Aileen’s declining mental state during her final few years in incarceration and questions the ethics of the decision to execute her despite her being of unsound mind, it climaxes with the very last Aileen Wuornos interview which was undertaken the day before her death. In the interview she claims that she was tortured in prison. Broomfield comments that he finds it hard to believe that the person he interviewed is the same person who the day before was deemed to be of ‘sound mind’ by psychiatric examiners.

BOOK

Those wanted to gain further insight into the life of Aileen Wuornos and her troubled mind should read the autobiographical book Monster: My True Story, written by Aileen Wuornos herself with the assistance of Christopher Berry-Dee. It was published in 2004, almost two years after her death.

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