Saturday, 6 February 2016

DVD Review - The Lizzie Borden Chronicles

$26.99; 337 minutes; Buy Link: Amazon
The name Lizzie Borden has become somewhat of a legend over the years; mostly thanks to wild tales, books, television movies and feature films.

For those that don't know who Lizzie Borden was, I'll give you a quick history lesson. Lizzie was thirty-two-years-old when she was accused of brutally murdering her father, Andrew, and her stepmother, Abby, in 1892 at their house in River Fall, Massachusetts. Andrew was hit with a hatchet 18 or 19 times and Abby was hit with a hatchet 11 times. Lizzie was arrested for the murders; which was quite odd for a women to be accused of murder at the time, and the media went crazy over the trial. In the end, Lizzie was acquitted, though many people believed she was guilty.

In 2014, Lifetime aired a 90-minute television movie, titled Lizzie Bored Took An Axe, which starred Christine Ricci (Adams Family, Casper) in the title role. While the movie followed actual events, most if was fictionalized. The movie was a big hit for the cable channel with 4.4 million viewers.

A little over a year later, an eight-part limited-series, The Lizzie Borden Chronicles, premiered on Lifetime with Christine Ricci returning as Lizzie Borden and Clea DuVall returning as her sister, Emma. The series was released to DVD on February 2nd from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Special features includes deleted scenes and a gag reel.

Set after the trial, the series shows what happened to Lizzie and Emma as they try to get on with their lives, which all the plots are speculative and fictionalized. While their father was rich, he had a lot of bad investments, so Lizzie and Emma have a hard time trying to get a hold of their inheritance. The situation gets worse when their half-brother, William (played by Andrew Howard) shows up wanting his part of the family fortune. Lizzie has no choice, but to go back to her old ways and get rid of their problems in a bloody fashion.

Lizzie tries her best to be a good citizen of River Fall, but due to business affairs and just plain nosy people, the bodies start to pile up. And hot on her trail is Charlie Siringo (played by Cole Hauser), a Pinkerton detective that will do anything it takes to stop her murdering rampage.

Final Thoughts: I've always been fascinated with the Lizzie Borden. I recall reading a book about her when I was in elementary during the early 1990s. I did watch and liked the 2014 film, but for some unknown reason I wasn't aware of there was a series (or miniseries) until I saw a press announcement for the DVD release. If you're looking for historical accuracy, you're not going to find any here. The real Lizzie Borden wasn't accused of killing anyone else after the murder trial. In the series, she kills a lot! She kills Nance O'Keefe (whom she was rumored to be romantically involved with in real life), Tom Horn (well, she was involved with his death in the series) and Bat Masterson, which in reality never occurred.

The production-values and cinematography are topnotch. The modern music (rock 'n' roll) that was in the 2014 is also in the series, which adds a bit of fun to the d ark plots. The acting is pretty solid, especially Christina Ricci's performance as the insane hatchet swinger. While it was billed as a limited-series, the final episode leaves it open for more, but unfortunately Lifetime didn't order any more episodes. 

Overall, I thought the The Lizzie Borden Chronicles was entertaining to watch; though the series isn't for everyone as you have to be a horror fan to really enjoy it.

*Disclaimer - I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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