Aileen: The Life and Death of a Serial Killer

For those of you who saw Charlize Theron's acclaimed performance in Monster as Aileen Wuornos — executed in Florida in 2002 for the murder of seven men — this documentary from Nick Broomfield and Joan Churchill is shocking and indispensable viewing. It's not just that Aileen makes a better Aileen than Theron, who needed Tony G's makeup artistry to transform herself into this truck-stop hooker who said sheilled out of self-defense. It's the indictment of the American justice system that this documentary delivers with gale force. The Wuornos who faces the cameras for a last interview displays a mental imbalance no actress could capture. But no stay of execution was ordered, despite her obvious condition. Broomfield had made a 1992 documentary, Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer, about the efforts of family, friends and enemies to hustle Wuornos' story to Hollywood. But the new film digs into the soul of this abused child, who never got the treatment she needed. Her eyes, radiating madness, will haunt your dreams.

From The Archives Issue 271: August 10, 1978
x