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Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer (2003)

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1:21 | Trailer
Nick Broomfield's second documentary about serial killer Aileen Wuornos, focusing on her mental state on death row.
2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Aileen Wuornos ... Self
Nick Broomfield ... Self
Terry Humphreys-Slay Terry Humphreys-Slay ... Self - Her Father was Killed by Wuornos (archive footage)
Leitha Prather Leitha Prather ... Self - Victim's Sister (archive footage) (as Leitha Prater)
Shirley Humphreys Shirley Humphreys ... Self - Victim's Widow (archive footage)
Joe Hobson Joe Hobson ... Self - Wuornos' Attorney
Steve Glazer Steve Glazer ... Self - Wuornos' Former Attorney
Arlene Pralle Arlene Pralle ... Self - Wuornos' Adoptive Mother (archive footage)
Dawn Botkins Dawn Botkins ... Self - Wuornos' Best Friend
Tyria Moore Tyria Moore ... Self - Wuornos' Former Lover (archive footage)
Uriel Blount Uriel Blount ... Self (archive footage) (as Judge Muriel Blount)
Danny Caldwell Danny Caldwell ... Self - Wuornos' Childhood Friend / Witness
Jerry Moss Jerry Moss ... Self - Wuornos' Childhood Friend / Witness
Michelle Chauvin Michelle Chauvin ... Self - Wuornos' Childhood Friend / Witness
Jeb Bush ... Self - Governor of Florida (archive footage)
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Storyline

This documentary looks at Aileen Wuornos convicted of killing 7 men while working as a prostitute in Florida. This is actually the second Wuornos documentary made by this group the first being Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer (1992). With her execution now on the horizon Nick Broomfield returns to Florida to complete the story. Her argument has always been that the killings were in self-defense but she eventually pleaded no contest or guilty to most of the murders. Broomfield was able to film several interviews which reveals her state of mind and puts into question her mental competence. Written by garykmcd

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Genres:

Documentary | Crime

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, including violent and sexual dialogue | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Quotes

Nick Broomfield: [voiceover] Dawn insisted that gays hadn't been invented when she and Aileen first become friends.
Dawn Botkins: They weren't invented or whatever, there was no gay people.
Nick Broomfield: Well, what were they are all doing?
Dawn Botkins: They weren't gay. There was no such thing as gay.
Woman: [off camera] There were in the closet.
Dawn Botkins: No, they weren't! There was no such thing, I don't remember a person at school, 'gay'. I didn't hear this gay stuff 'til 10 years ago. Well, maybe 15. It's just now starting to be acceptable. But no, there was not. Was ...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in The 50 Greatest Documentaries (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Your Wildest Dreams
Performed by The Moody Blues
Written by Justin Hayward
Courtesy of The Decca Music Group Ltd.
Licensed by kind permission of Nightswood BV/Sherlock Holmes Music
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User Reviews

chilling documentary
31 July 2004 | by Buddy-51See all my reviews

The documentary `Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer' provides an interesting companion piece to `Monster,' the film that earned Charlize Theron the Academy Award for Best Actress of 2003. This is actually the second documentary British filmmaker Nick Broomfield has made about Aileen Wuornos, a prostitute who was executed in Florida in 2002 for the murders of seven of her johns during the late 1980's. His first film on the subject was made in 1992 during Aileen's initial trial. Now, ten years later, he is back recording Aileen's final days, trying to get her to reveal the unvarnished truth about what really happened all those years ago.

Broomfield does not pretend to be totally fair and unbiased in his presentation of the case. He is clearly sympathetic to Aileen and is not shy about voicing his own opposition to the death penalty. Nevertheless, the film he has made offers a meaningful glimpse into the mind of a killer, as well as the role that the legal system and the media play in sensational murder cases. Broomfield spends much of his time visiting Aileen's childhood home, interviewing people close to her, chronicling the events of the trial, and documenting Aileen's time in prison. But the most compelling scenes are those in which he interviews Aileen herself, prodding her to open up and reveal whether she committed the murders out of self-defense as she claims or whether she killed her victims to steal their money as the prosecution successfully argued. The main bone of contention between filmmaker and subject centers around the first killing. Through footage taken at her trial, Broomfield shows how, on the witness stand, Aileen wove a compelling and convincing tale of how that first murder came about. According to Aileen, her first victim was attacking and raping her, causing her to reach into her purse, grab her pistol and shoot him dead. Indeed, this is the way in which `Monster' portrays the scene as occurring. Yet, in 2002, Broomfield captures a much different account, as Aileen confesses point blank to the camera that the story was a bald-faced lie she came up with to engender sympathy for herself with the jury (it clearly didn't work). Later in the film, however, Aileen reverses the story again and implies that the first killing was indeed an act of self-defense.

`Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer' is a depressing and disturbing film on a number of levels. First, it places us face-to-face with the incomprehensible mindset of a cold-blooded murderer. Aileen comes across at times as warm and rational, honest about her guilt and repentant for the pain she's caused. At other times, she explodes in anger at friend and foe alike, cusses a blue streak, calls vile curses down on those she feels have wronged her, and blames everyone but herself for the fate that has befallen her. Second, the film makes us question whether one can ever really know if a person is telling the truth, even under oath. Third, it makes us wonder just how many people there are out there whose messed-up lives and upbringings can lead to this type of dangerous antisocial behavior. Fourth, Aileen's clear and intense paranoia even up to the day of her execution – she was convinced that the police knew all about her killings long before they brought her in and let her go on killing so that they could get rich off her story - clearly raises questions as to just how `sane' she really was when the state of Florida sent her to her death. Though, by the end, Broomfield is generally convinced that Aileen was a pathological liar and most likely guilty of first degree murder, he does not let all the other parties in the case off the hook that easily. He is quick to point out the shoddy defense she received in her original trial, as well as the way in which many of her closest friends and even some Florida law enforcement officials made money off her by selling her story to various media outlets. This film offers a stinging indictment of all the parties involved in this case.

One could wish for a little less personal involvement on the part of the filmmaker. Too often we feel that he has sacrificed his objectivity, that he isn't providing us with all the angles on the story we need to render a fair and reasonable judgment. For instance, he spends virtually no time interviewing the loved ones of the men Aileen slaughtered. Still, if you've seen `Monster,' `Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer' will provide further insight into that film's dark subject. It will also show you just how extraordinary a job Theron did in capturing the real woman at the story's core.


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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 November 2003 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Aileen: Bir Seri Katilin Yaşamı ve Ölümü See more »

Filming Locations:

Florida, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,158, 11 January 2004

Gross USA:

$97,362

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$97,362
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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