As the new Peter Jackson financed documentary West of Memphis, is debuting at The Sundance Film Festival, HBO has been airing the third installment to the Paradise Lost sega, Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, their answer to the West Memphis 3 murder convictions. Having read all of the craziness occurring at Sundance with Jackson’s arrival with Paradise lead Damien Echols, we thought it would be interesting to watch the third installment we had heard so much about in the past few weeks.
Twenty years ago it was a different time in the United States. Kids weren’t so concerned with Roth IRA’s or presidential debates. The era of the mid-90’s was filled with the end of sex, drugs and rock and roll. The West Memphis 3 were a perfect example of this debauchery and perfect targets for a murder case. Interestingly, I was also a perfect example of this debauchery. They weren’t much different than me or my friends at the time, probably a small fact which has drawn me to them for the past twenty years since the case began. Probably the same reason so many other people have been drawn to them as well. They could have been anyone in the wrong place at the wrong time but most importantly, misunderstood.
It goes without saying that the Paradise filming crew has once again mastered an amazing documentary as I found myself late into the night watching from behind the safety of my blankets, now an adult, wondering, just what the hell happened in those woods so long ago. This is the crux of the focus of this installment, which, if you haven’t kept up with this story, will literally surprise the hell out of you. An amazing soap opera which made me begging to find out more, even though the lost characters seem to be the three small children who lost their lives so long ago.
Before seeing West of Memphis you must watch the three-part series Paradise Lost. Just as enticing today as it was when it first aired, rich with character study and intrigue, it will literally pull you in as if you also live in West Memphis.
Interestingly, while the majority of the three films have focused around the lead character, Damien Echols, the producers decide to end the entire trilogy with a poignant monologue by Jessie Baldwin, one of the other accused killers. Seventeen years older and much more wise to the world, he seems to have found some truth within the walls of prison which left me wondering…is he the real story?
Eyes Open, We’re Watching