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Wisconsin Death Trip (1999)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, History | 9 March 2000 (Denmark)
A series of grisly events that took place in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, between 1890 and 1900 are dramatized.


James Marsh


Michael Lesy (book), James Marsh
3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Ian Holm ... Narrator (voice)
Jeffrey Golden Jeffrey Golden ... Editor (as Jeff Golden)
Jo Vukelich Jo Vukelich ... Mary Sweeney
Marcus Monroe Marcus Monroe ... Young Anderson
Marilyn White Marilyn White ... Pauline L'Allemand
John Schneider John Schneider ... Asylum Clerk / Whispering Voice
John Baltes John Baltes ... Undertaker
Raeleen McMillion Raeleen McMillion ... Crying Woman
Krista Grambow Krista Grambow ... Mourning Woman
Clay Anton Clay Anton ... Eloping Couple (male)
Bobbie Jo Westphal Bobbie Jo Westphal ... Eloping Couple (female)
Scott Hulbert Scott Hulbert ... Pouch
Zeke Dasho Zeke Dasho ... Edgar L'Allemand
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kathryn Anderson Kathryn Anderson ... Mrs. Larson
Kevin Anderson Kevin Anderson ... Larson Child


Wisconsin Death Trip is an intimate, shocking and sometimes hilarious account of the disasters that befell one small town in Wisconsin during the final decade of the nineteenth century. The film is inspired by Michael Lesy's book of the same name, which published in 1973. Lesy discovered a striking archive of black and white photographs in the town of Black River Falls, dating from the 1890s and married a selection of these images to extracts from the town's newspaper from the same decade. The effect was surprising and disturbing. The town of Black River Falls seems gripped by some peculiar malaise, and the weekly news is dominated by bizarre tales of madness, eccentricity, and violence amongst the local population. Suicide and murder are commonplace. People in the town are haunted by ghosts, possessed by demons, and terrorized by teenage outlaws and arsonists. Like the book, the film is constructed entirely from authentic news reports from the Black River Falls' newspaper, with ... Written by MAR

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | History


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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User Reviews

A fascinating look at a town hitting the Modern head on
21 September 2000 | by mr_impossibleSee all my reviews

Some seem to have missed the whole point of this engrossing documentary. I wouldn't normally regard myself as a documentary person but this film is stylistically excellent using period photographs and specially shot black and white footage mixed in with colour shots of the town of Black River Falls (which the movie examines at the turn of the century) as it is now. To put it bluntly, and I don't feel I'm spoiling anything by saying this, the population is suffering from insanity ranging from the homicidal to the simply inexplicable. Ian Holm provides a haunting narration culled entirely from the local newspaper of the day and this is interspersed with excerpts from the records of the local asylum to which many of the towns inhabitants are committed.

The story is one of collapse as harsh victorian values prove incapable of dealing with the economic and social conditions the town is experiencing. The towns inhabitants are simply incapable of dealing with their circumstances. Suicide and mania are the results.

An excellent film let down almost not at all by the slightly banal comparisons made between the town in its victorian 'glory' and its modern status as a crime capital which falls a little flat but is not without interest. Proof of the effect of environment on psychology.

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Official Sites:

Hands On Productions, Inc.





Release Date:

9 March 2000 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Wisconsin Death Trip See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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