Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer

This 1992 English documentary has a lot in common with the second part of Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song, the subject being the merchandising of death-row killers by the media, though here we also get the participation of the police, the convicted killer's lawyer, and others. In more ways than one, this grim, sordid, and violent Florida story is a tale of buffoons—apart from Wuornos herself, who seems sad, brutalized, and enraged well beyond buffoonery. But where does that leave documentarist Nick Broomfield, who doesn't breathe a word about the monetary benefits he's reaping from this muckraking exercise? Are we to conclude that his motives don't need to be examined? This is about as interesting in a scuzzy sort of way as the Vanity Fair article about the same case; as in other Broomfield documentaries (Chicken Ranch and Driving Me Crazy), the rhetoric indicates more noble intentions on the part of the filmmaker than anything we see or hear.

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