This documentary by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky details the murder trial of Delbert Ward. Delbert was a member of a family of four elderly brothers, working as semi-literate farmers ... See full summary »
Documentary on the Friedmans, a seemingly typical, upper-middleclass Jewish family whose world is instantly transformed when the father and his youngest son are arrested and charged with shocking and horrible crimes.
In the spring of 2002, filmmaker Joe Berlinger traveled to Vienna to witness the burial of the preserved brains of over 700 children killed at a Nazi "euthanasia" clinic. GRAY MATTER ... See full summary »
Berlinger and Sinofsky's documentary of a gruesome triple murder in West Memphis, Arkansas and the subsequent trials of three suspects, takes a hard look at both the occult and the American justice system in 'small-town' America. Three teenagers are accused of this horrific crime of killing three children, supposedly as a result of involvement in Satanism. As in their previous documentary, things turn out to be more complex than initial appearances and this film presents the real-life courtroom drama to the viewer, as it unfolds. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
In August 2011, after eighteen years in prison, Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols, and Jessie Misskelley (known as "The West Memphis Three") entered an "Alford" plea (which allows them to maintain their innocence while simultaneously acknowledging that the state likely has enough evidence to convict them). They were given credit for the time they had already served and freed instantly. Echols said that if not for the films made about the case by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, the Arkansas justice system "would have murdered me, swept this under the rug, and I wouldn't be anything but a memory right now." See more »
Damien Wayne Echols:
I knew from when I was real small people were gonna know who I was, I always had that feeling... I just never knew how they were gonna learn. I kind of enjoy it now because even after I die, people are gonna remember me forever. People are gonna talk about me for years. People in West Memphis will tell their kids stories... It'll be sorta like I'm the West Memphis boogie man. Little kids will be looking under their beds - "Damien might be under there!"
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Truth may be stranger than fiction, but the American courtroom is stranger, still. For the two hours during which I've watched this film I've gained a valuable insight into the nature of the witch trials. I feel powerless, as there is not much I can do to help these kids. But perhaps there is a lesson in it for us, and everyone who has seen the film should have taken some mental notes. First -- never name youself or your children 'Damien' -- especially if you live in the Bible Belt. And, as a general survival strategy, do not be the black sheep of the local community. There may come the time when your eccentric behavior alone will be used against you to sentence you to death.
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