Lizzie Borden

Haunted Towns – Fall River MA – Lizzie Borden House – S01E07

lizzie-borden-houseFor the next investigation of Haunted Towns, we’re off to the legendary Lizzie Borden house in Fall River, MA. This is the site of the grim unsolved murder that still makes Lizzie a household name to this day. Chris and his team want to try and speak with her to find out who really killed Andrew and Abby and if Lizzie was guilty or innocent.

The TWC team also claim people report hearing voices, footsteps, the smell of cigar smoke and shadow figures. They believe there might be a darker entity at work, because next door, Mr. Borden’s uncle had tragedies of his own. His wife tried to drown all her children in a well and ultimately slit her own throat with a straight razor.

Doogie and Chris meet with Danielle, a historian who shows them around the house and some photos of the crime scene. Porter and Brannon go see the sheriff and the jail where Lizzie was held while she awaited trial.

As they get down to the investigation, Chris and Porter go to Master Bedroom, while Doggie and Brannon go to the Sitting Room.

While discussing what they plan to do for the night, the flashlight on the bed turns on. Right after, Porter says he sees a shadow moving in the next room.

Doogie also claims to see a shadow while in the sitting room. This is after he asks the dark entity to make a light flicker. It’s interesting that he picks a light, versus asking for the standard knocks. I get the feeling the light was already flickering and Doogie decided to work it into his schtick.

With no activity going on, they head to the basement as a group. There they get "Lizzie", "Borden", "Hatchet", and "Ax". Or at least that’s their story as those words are utterly garbled and unintelligible from the box. Of course, those are all great words when talking about the murders.

For Day 2, they investigate the Central Congregational Church where Lizzie taught and attended services. Doogie and Brannon head to the Changing Room where Brannon asks for the entity to touch the meter, which naturally goes off. Also notice, there are several words on the dictionary device-"tone" "vet/yet" and "east", but nothing is said about them. This shows the device puts out random nonsense and doesn’t gauge anything.

Also with the EMF flash, there is a moan heard by Doogie. However, Brannon doesn’t act on it until Doogie says something, then he’s quick to add "I heard that too!" like he completely missed his cue. I’ve noted a couple of times that Doogie has to "cue" people to respond to something he hears.

And again notice the dictionary shows the words, "drunk", "witch" and "camera", but aren’t mentioned. The device is on camera, but at a distance. They are so quick to call out every word, it’s puzzling why they ignore this set. Other than the fact they don’t make any sense or help support their wild theory.

It’s not just Doggie and Brannon either. When we catch up with Chris and Porter, there are plenty of words on their screen too, but they have decided to ignore them. However, Porter will make a big deal about the words, "August" and "Devil" that they capture behind the stained glass crawlspace. And again, Porter says he sees a shadow figure down in the basement. He’s developing quite a habit of seeing shadow figures just off camera.

At the end of the investigation, Chris leans toward the land is tainted and contains a dark energy that affected the Borden house and the one next door. Doogie is of a similar mindset, that a dark entity lurks in the house and "possessed" Lizzie, causing her to act out.

It sounds like they’re saying Lizzie is innocent due to demonic forces… That’s certainly a new theory.

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Lizzie Borden Took An Ax – Prequel to the Lizzie Borden Chronicles

imageIt was clear I needed to take a step back. I’d watched the Lizzie Borden Chronicles, but I hadn’t actually watched the Lizzie Borden movie. I’m not sure how I accomplished that, but I’m sure it took a special talent.

The movie came out in 2014 and although I made note of it, I was completely oblivious. Well, that has now been changed and I just finished watching. It’s a fictionalized account of the events that "could" have taken place in the Borden house on that fateful day. It takes some bits and pieces of the real events and weaves a tale of who might have committed the crime and how they might have gotten away with it.

Of course, the whole movie centers of Lizzie. It shows her with a strained relationship to her father and a less than ideal relationship with her step-mother. We sort of get the impression that Lizzie is overshadowed by the new mom and is no longer the center of attention within the family.

As we progress, Lizzie finds the bodies of her parents and then into the investigation we go. Of course, Lizzie is the prime and only suspect in the case. She was home or at least near the house when the murders took place, has a shaky story of her whereabouts and actions and gets a little confused when asked questions about the events.

When confronted about her relationship with her mother, she is quick to point out that Abby is not her mother. We then learn about the gifts the father had made to Abby’s side of the family, leaving his own daughters out of it. We hear about the family troubles, the barrage of axes and weapons in the house, Lizzie’s interest in poison to kill rats around the house, her contradictory testimony, the seeming lack of concern over the deaths and the burning of the dress she was wearing when the murders took place.

From there we get some insight into what "might" have happened. Did Lizzie plot the murders and lie in wait? Did she remove all her clothes then attack her parents so as to conceal the blood? Was she calculating enough to kill the mother first so as to not disturb the line of inheritance? Did she quickly bathe, clean and hide the evidence? Was the burning of the dress a cover up to conceal the blood which might have been mistaken for stew earlier?

Like the series that follows, we see Lizzie more as a plotter in the events rather than a hapless victim of them. We sort of get the impression she was tired of the step mom making off with the cash and took care of business so she could get the Maplecroft estate that she had her eye on.

So we are once again faced with a slew of questions about this murder. They are supposedly able to tell the time of the murders, but yet their evidence collecting is horrific. Lizzie was the only suspect and it seems the police didn’t look very hard for more clues or other suspects. Dozens of people trampled through the house, so no real preservation of the crime scene. And there’s a whole slew of other issues.

On the one hand it seems like Lizzie is in fact the prime suspect, but at the same time she doesn’t really seem up to the task. Was she really that good at covering her tracts? Was the evidence that lacking?

While it may not be award winning, it was still an interesting take on the Lizzie Borden story. It certainly paints Lizzie as the culprit and even in the final moments she whispers "the truth" to her sister. Who knows what was said, but do know that Lizzie and Emma had a failing out a few years later.

If you’re looking to waste some time and have a little morbid fun, this isn’t a bad movie to sit down to. It’s not revealing, nor insightful, but it does offer a couple of interesting bits and of course sets the stage for the Lizzie Borden Chronicles, which I thought was a wicked bit of fun to watch.

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The Lizzie Borden Chronicles – Season 1

imageIf you were asked to create a mini-series based on a famous historical figure, Lizzie Borden is probably not the first name that comes to mind. Perhaps if it was based on one of the most infamous women in history, then you’d have something. And so it is that Lifetime and Christina Ricci offer us this "fictionalized" version of the events that take place right after Lizzie is acquitted of the crime of killing both her parents.

Lizzie and Emma simply want to put the past behind them, perhaps move away from the looks, the stares, the nursery rhymes. But there is a problem, it appears father was in debt up to his eyeballs and the collector is knocking. The inheritance Lizzie and Emma are entitled to is not only in jeopardy, but is quite possibly going to be wiped out. If this sort of thing keeps up, Lizzie and Emma will be out on the street. What’s a girl to do?

In this narrative, Lizzie is a woman who knows how to get things done and how to remove obstacles. It usually involves the business end of a knife, axe or pitchfork, but she gets things done. People who cross her path usually end up face down in the river. There is little doubt that Lizzie was behind the events that plagued her mother and father, but it’s highly unlikely that it started there and it’s for damn sure not stopping there.

While Lizzie is hard at work with her negotiations and business dealings, a Pinkerton has rolled into town looking to find out information about Lizzie. He’s been tasked with looking into the murders. What’s he going to do with this information and who hired him remains to be seen. But he’s a determined investigator and is soon piecing together a most interesting tale.

She’s not the only one of interest though. We have the crass and possibly abusive Innkeeper, his demure and kind hearted wife who seems to have taken a shine to the Pinkerton, the police who feel the rash of murders in town are a strange coincidence, the constable that has taken a shine to Emma, the drunken half-brother that’s swept into town looking for his cut of the Borden inheritance and the frequently inebriated playwright that is looking to Lizzie to back his next work, the prostitute with a heart of gold that Lizzie brings in off the street and the "henchman" that probably knows a thing or two about the Borden murders.

The Lizzie Borden Chronicles is a pretty amusing tale full of deception, deceit, close calls, narrow escapes, uncovered evidence, secrets from the past, forbidden crime scenes and lots of "missing" characters. Lizzie is calm and meek on the outside, but under that ruffled dress with the wide shoulders lurks a very calculated woman.

I actually found this show to be quite entertaining. In many ways it reminds me of Dexter with the heroine trapped in an inescapable situation, yet there happens to be perfect timing or the unseen exit. Lizzie is just one step ahead of her story and every time someone asks too many questions, we shake our heads. Every time it looks like she’s disposed of a problem, someone new crops up looking for the person she just dealt with. Even Emma begins to suspect that things aren’t what they seem.

While it’s certainly an unusual topic, I quite enjoyed this series and wonder if we might be treated to a second season. It’s listed as a mini-series with only 8 episodes, but the ending certainly leaves the story open for continuation. I’d kind of like to see what Lizzie gets up to next. Will she actually settle down? Will she get found out? Dexter ran for several years, I don’t see why this couldn’t have a similar run.

For a Lifetime presentation, there’s quite a bit of hack and slash to this effort. We have flashbacks to the original murder scene and several of Lizzie’s other actions are replayed – in slow motion. Clearly not for the feint of heart, but then again, what part of Lizzie Borden gave you that idea?

I just watched the final episode, in fact, since the show just ended I watched all the episodes one after the other which made for exciting watching. There’s a lot of mixed reviews about this one, but I like it. If you’re looking for some campy thrill, I think this fits the bill quite nicely.

Here’s hoping to another mini-series or Season 2 or whatever they want to call it.

Of course, now I need to go watch the actual Lizzie Borden movie that Christina Ricci made. Seems I missed that along the way.

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