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Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer

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Twelve years ago Nick Broomfield made a film Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer.  Aileen's lawyer, her born-again Christian mother and the Florida State police have all been involved in trying to sell her story - that of America's first female serial killer - to the highest bidder.  Aileen herself, who was convicted of murdering seven men, ironically emerged with the most credit.
Aileen and Nick Broomfield kept in contact, writing to each other occasionally.  Then, in October 2002, Broomfield was subpoenaed to appear at Aileen's final State appeal prior to her execution.  Extracts of Aileen Wournos: The Selling of a Serial Killer were shown in court and many of her childhood friends were also called as witnesses.
Then, unexpectedly, Aileen changed her plea and announced she had killed the seven men in cold blood, not in self-defence as she had asserted previously and she wanted to die immediately.  Jeb Bush, the State's governor, welcomed Aileen's decision and announced his intention to reunite Aileen with her maker as soon as possible.  In a subsequent interview Aileen admits in an unguarded moment, when she thinks the camera is turned off, that she did kill in self defence but that she can no longer stand being on death row and has to die.
The film portrays Aileen's childhood in Troy, Michigan, as one of terrible abuse and violence, which continued during her years on the road as a hitch-hiking prostitute and ultimately culminated in the murders.  In her last interview, which Aileen grants to Nick Broomfield exclusively, she said she believed her mind was being controlled by radio waves and that she would be taken away by angels on a space ship.
The film provides an insight into the mind of a deeply paranoid, yet seemingly sympathetic person, who lost her mind and killed seven people.
Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer is a powerful statement against the death penalty and raises disturbing questions about executing the mentally ill.
Aileen Wuornos was executed in the State of Florida on October 9th, 2002.


Type of film
Running Time
89 mins
Nick Broomfield, Joan Churchill
Jo Human
Claire Ferguson
Director of Photography
Joan Churchill
Stephen Murphy
Rob Lane
Principal Cast
Aileen Wournos


Production status


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Last updated 28th June 2007

Production Company

Lafayette Film

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