20 years ago, three teenagers were tried and convicted of the death of three boys in West Memphis. A trilogy of HBO documentaries were released about the murders, trial, and defense of the case, with the first, Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, the best-known. With (spoiler alert) the three being released from prison in 2011, a fictional film about the case, Devil’s Knot, will be released on May 5th. Starring Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth, the film was directed by Atom Egoyan. A trailer for the forthcoming movie was revealed today, and it looks like it will be an interesting film that will hold appeal not only to those that followed the case, but to those that might not have been aware of it.
A lot of the talk around the “West Memphis Three,” or Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. and Jason Baldwin, involved the fact that they were wrongfully convicted because of their love of heavy metal and the way they looked. The prosecution ruled that the three children killed were done so as part of a Satanic ritual. The Paradise Lost documentaries presented the three in a sympathetic light, and the music industry and many celebrities joined the cause. Metallica licensed their music for the first time for the documentaries, and a 2002 compilation, Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three, was released. Even Disturbed wrote a song about the three, called “3.” While the book that the movie is based on is also sympathetic toward the three, it seems, at least from the initial trailer, to be a lot more about the parents than the three themselves. Will it open a larger discussion about how metal kids are perceived? Perhaps, but it will be interesting to see how metalheads are perceived in this film, which is likely to be seen by fans of Firth and Witherspoon in addition to curious metal fans. Check the trailer below: