Tales of the Grim Sleeper (Nick Broomfield, 2014): USA/UK

Reviewed by Dane Angus. Viewed in Hollywood at the AFI Fest 2014.

grim sleeper

Tales of the Grim Sleeper tells of a fascinating and haunting story about the cereal murders and disappearances of dozens and dozens of black women in South Los Angeles. These murders took place over a span of 25 years, and the man who terrorized hundreds of women, is most likely L.A. resident Lonnie Franklin.

Nick Broomfield does an incredible job of immersing himself in the community of South Central Los Angeles and gaining such detailed information on the story of the Grim Sleeper murders. Broomfield and his son, along with the help of their most useful witness/investigator named Pam come together to create a very informative, controversial film. Pam is an ex-crack addict and prostitute that turns out to be the best source of gaining information for the documentary. She is able to relate and attract many subjects that would not normally speak to englishman Nick Broomfield, especially on-camera. The camera work done by Nick’s son Barney is very well done. He gets close and personal with all the subjects in the film and Bloomfiled takes another Cinema Verite approach to this documentary.

Almost everyone interviewed in the documentary tells stories of how Lonnie is such a great guy and no one believes that he could even do such a thing as to hurt a human being. They say that he is a man that truly appreciates and understands the value of life. As the film goes on, more and more evidence comes to light revealing that the main suspect Lonnie Franklin may not really be the man that everyone thought he was. His close friends begin to speak about how his perversions and secret escapades with plenty of women over the years usually take violent turns at the end. Later on, several women come out with their tales of surviving being attacked, raped, and nearly murdered by Lonnie Franklin!

I feel that Nick Bloomfield did an incredible job with Tales of the Grim Sleeper and in my opinion it is one of his best documentaries yet! This film contains chilling scenes of terrifying stories that will rock you to your core, but it also has a very comedic side to it that will balance out the severity of the crimes that Franklin is accused of. He still remains on trial and has yet to be charged guilty with these horrendous crimes against the African American women in South Central LA .

I would recommend this film to all people of all ages and backgrounds. It will teach you of an injustice that has been taking place for decades against the black race in Los Angeles and all around the world most likely. The police department and government have gone to certain lengths to keep this tragedy hidden from the public for whatever reason, and this film will give you the information to decide for yourself who is to truly blame for these murders!

Give it a shot, I guarantee you’ll be entertained.

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