|B R I E F S Y N O P S I S|
|Nick Broomfield first told the story of the world's first female serial killer in Aileen Wournos: The Selling of a Serial Killer. Aileen's lawyer, her born again Christian mother and the Florida state police all tried to sell her story to the highest bidder. Convicted of murdering seven men, Aileen ironically emerged as the most honest person in the film. She makes an unforgettable impression in Broomfield's raw, compassionate follow-up. He reveals the lack of any societal support for Aileen, and his frustration with Florida officials anxious to execute her in spite of her ravaged mental health. Co-directed by Joan Churchill. (Aileen's story is dramatized in the feature film Monster.)|
| Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial
Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer is the most personal and most disturbing film I have made. I knew Aileen over the course of 12 years, and the barbaric nature of her death had a profound effect on me, and months of nightmares. It was one film I didn't choose to make, I came to it as a witness and ended up attending an execution. The violence of taking a life remains the same whether it is legally sanctioned or not. It introduces murder into our vocabulary of behavior.
Aileen Wuornos murdered seven men. They were terrible crimes and she caused enormous suffering for the victims' families.
When Aileen, 47, was executed in Florida by lethal injection, there were mirrors around the gurney. The mirrors were placed there so that if Aileen Wuornos turned her head away from the witnesses in her last moments, they would still be able to see her expression at the moment of death.
When we were making the film Aileen: Life and Death of Serial Killer, we came across a chair where the prisoners are prepared for execution. It was disgusting and the stuffing was coming out of it. When I suggested it was time to get a new one the guard said "Oh no, it's like that intentionally, we want them to know when they are sitting there, that they have come as low as they can get."
Aileen's life was a circle of violence. She was violently treated at home where she was beaten and abused. Aileen responded to the violence by herself becoming more violent.
What is also apparent from looking at her life is that there was no awareness of what was going on, on the part of social workers, school teachers and those in the local community and, if there had been, none of this might have happened. As it was, after having a child at the age of 13, Aileen was abandoned by her family and lived in the woods as an outcast in the freezing Michigan winters for nearly two years before becoming a prostitute and leaving for the warmth of Florida.
For more than a decade, Aileen and I kept in touch writing occasionally and then last year I was served with a subpoena to appear at Aileen's final state appeal before execution. Extracts of Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer (my first film about her) were shown in court.
After not having seen Aileen for 12 years, by the time I met her again, she was deeply paranoid and talking about her mind being controlled by 'radio waves' being beamed into her cell. Then, unexpectedly, Aileen suddenly announced she had killed the seven men in cold blood, not in self defense as she had pled previously, and she wanted to die immediately. In a subsequent interview Aileen admits in an unguarded moment when she thinks the camera is turned off that she did kill in self defense but that she can no longer stand being on death row (12 years) and has to die.
Jeb Bush, who was running for re-election, welcomed Aileen's decision and announced his intention to reunite Aileen with her Maker as soon as possible. He was determined she would be executed no matter what. It was clear that the State of Florida was executing an insane person. In her last interview, Aileen believed she would be taken away by a space ship. The film provides an insight into the mind of a deeply paranoid yet sympathetic person who lost her mind and killed seven people.
Aileen Wuornos was executed on October 9th, 2002.
For more information please visit www.aileenfilm.com
©2004 Landmark Theatres