Three children were slain and dismembered in an Arkansas backwater in May, 1993 Three teenagers were convicted for the crime and sentenced to punishments ranging from life imprisonment to death. Cut and dried, except that along the way crucial evidence was 'lost' by police, confessions were extracted over gruelling 12 hour interrogations and the prosecution's evidence included such gems as the boys being guilty of listening to Metallica and wearing black T-shirts.
Paradise Lost shocked MIFF audiences in 1996 Five years later, directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky returned to the scene of the crime for Paradise Lost 2: Revelations, after a series of bizarre events made the prosecution's case seem even shakier. The three convicted boys, Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, and Jason Baldwin, have attracted a loyal support group, who have mounted a media campaign and even persuaded musicians including Pearl Jam, Steve Earle, Tom Waits and Rocket From The Crypt to record the Free The West Memphis 3 benefit album. Filmmakers Berlinger and Sinofsky show the three boys were clearly little more than scapegoats for a town desperate to shut the books on a nightmare that practically destroyed all shades of normalcy. Ironically enough, the soundtrack comes courtesy of Metallica.