There was the acclaimed Isaiah Washington drama, “Blue Caprice,” a film based on the sniper that terrorized the Washington DC area and Virginia back in 2002 – John Allen Williams, who joined the Nation of Islam and changed his surname to Muhammad years before going on a shooting spree with a young accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, that took the lives of at least ten people.” Was he a serial killer?
A feature film inspired by the real-life story in the title of this post was produced by, and aired on the Lifetime network, earlier this year. Titled “The Grim Sleeper,” it starred Dreama Walker, Macy Gray, Ernie Hudson and Michael O’Neill.
And now a documentary feature that tells the real-life story that the above film was based on, is complete and set to make its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), as part of its TIFF Docs lineup, kicking off today, September 4.
Titled “Tales of the Grim Sleeper,” the documentary, directed by Nick Broomfield (“Biggie and Tupac”) digs into the case of the notorious serial killer known as the “Grim Sleeper,” who terrorized South Central Los Angeles over a span of twenty-five years.
After a string of murders in the 1980s, the violence seemed to end; but almost 14 years later, another murder spree began, leading the killer to be dubbed “The Grim Sleeper.”
In 2010, a suspect believed to be the Grim Sleeper, named Lonnie David Franklin Jr., 57, (a black man, now 61 years old, married father of 2 and former LAPD mechanic and sanitation worker for the city of Los Angeles) was arrested and charged with the murders. A grand jury indictment was issued about a year later. Franklin has been in jail since his arrest, awaiting trial, because of the amount of time it’s taken to gather and prepare what is said to be a large amount of evidence in the case, some dating back as much as 30 years.
In March of this year, LA Weekly published an extensive piece on the Grim Sleeper, in what it called “L.A.’s serial-killer circus,” which you can read here.
This year’s Toronto International Film Festival, one of the top movie showcases and a favored platform to unveil Oscar contenders, will run from September 4-14.
Here’s a first trailer for the upcoming film: