The bloody tale of Lizzie Borden has been immortalized in dozens of books and films, spawned from a haunting nursery rhyme based on one of American history's most notorious murders. Director Craig William Macneill is the latest to tackle the tale in his upcoming movie "Lizzie," which reinterprets the notorious crime as a dark and tension-filled lesbian romance. Starring Chloë Sevigny and Kristen Stewart, the tightly crafted period piece is already garnering praise from critics.
On August 4, 1892, at around 11 AM, Lizzie claimed to have discovered the brutalized bodies of her parents. In interviews with police, Lizzie offered contradictory narratives of the events preceding and surrounding that day, which had been filled with filial tension. Accused and acquitted of killing her father and step-mother on June 20, 1893, Lizzie Borden's story has been a subject of speculation for centuries.
Countless artists since have been inspired by the sanguine story. Operas, TV dramas and short stories are based on the lives of the Bordens, attempting to piece together the emotional world surrounding the infamous ax-murder.
Macneill's take on the events imagines Lizze (Sevigny) and her maid (Stewart) entangled in a forbidden love affair leading to the killing. The New England gothic aesthetic differentiates this new project from the recent (and much campier) take on the same subject, 2014's Lifetime special, "Lizzie Borden Took an Ax," starring Christina Ricci in the eponymous role.
"Lizzie" premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2018. Reviewers praised the film for its clever combination of drama and horror tropes.
"The movie is engrossing, with Sevigny delivering a fierce performance that inspires empathy in spite of — or perhaps because of — the awful things the audience knows Lizzie will eventually do," wrote critic Bryan Bishop of The Verge. "The killing sequence is horrible and chilling, and not just for the violence itself; the way the acts affect both women is more disturbing and more memorable."
Check out the trailer for the new film, which will be released in theaters on September 14, below.
Daryn and John discussed the Lizzie Borden murder on a recent episode of the Martinis & Murder podcast. Listen below.
[Photo: Screenshot via YouTube]
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