What's the most disturbing movie of 2012? It's West of Memphis, the amazingly thorough, profoundly affecting documentary from director Amy Berg and producer Peter Jackson (he of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey fame). Released in a limited number of theaters last week, the staggering 147-minute film investigates the whole story behind Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, and Jason Baldwin, better known, collectively, as the West Memphis Three. And if you're unfamiliar with said story, West of Memphis will surely punch your gut, heart, and mind with equal force.
Frankly, the same goes for those who've been following the West Memphis Three for years now. Berg's documentary examines the trials, imprisonments, wrongful accusations, and everlasting traumas caused by the deaths of three young boys in May 1993. At the time, Echols, Misskelley, and Baldwin were all pegged as the killers, due to their apparent interests in the occult and Satanism, when, really, they were just antisocial, anarchy-loving Goth kids.
As West of Memphis fascinatingly shows, the subsequent years following their initial ties to the deaths brought forth evidence and developments that opened the case up beyond devil-worship and into more horrifyingly personal terrain. Which isn't to say that Hell's overseer is an altogether innocent bystander in the world of true, nightmarish crime. To get a spine-tingling look at just how (indirectly) culpable Lucifer is, read all about The 10 Craziest Real-Life Crimes Committed in the Name of Satan.
Written by Matt Barone (@MBarone)