Tales of the Grim Sleeper

Tales of the Grim Sleeper

Nick Broomfield (2014)

15 Certificate


Our Score
After his controversial films about death-row inmate Aileen Wuornos, documentary-maker Nick Broomfield delves into another serial-killer case - the Grim Sleeper murders that plagued South Central LA for 25 years. It begins with the 2010 arrest of ex-garbage collector Lonnie Franklin, accused of 10 homicides but suspected of more involving scores of missing Black women. In 2014 (when the film was shot), Franklin was still awaiting trial, so Broomfield decamps to the suburban area where he lived to find out how this unobtrusive family man had managed to evade capture for so long. What emerges is a disturbing picture of an individual with a dark, deviant history, but who managed to avoid investigation for a quarter of a century. It's compelling stuff and is as much about South Central itself, scarred by decades of poverty, drugs and police apathy ("He was only killing hookers"), as it is the murders themselves. Still displaying his unassuming trademark style of interrogation, Broomfield is initially labelled a "peckerwood" by Franklin's pals, only for them to co-operate as it transpires that their friend could be guilty. But most memorable is ex-crack addict Pam Brooks, who helps Broomfield and his cameraman son Barney gather quite jaw-dropping evidence by introducing the pair to mistrusting locals as "my friends from England". Utterly engrossing.


Nick Broomfield's documentary about Lonnie Franklin Jr, who is suspected of carrying out a killing spree in South Central Los Angeles over the course of several years and has been implicated in a growing number of murders. The film examines how he was arrested in July 2010 and tells the story of the victims, examining the vulnerable, poverty-stricken neighbourhoods they lived in.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Nick Broomfield
Director Nick Broomfield

Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Sky VisionGuidance: Swearing, nudityReleased on: 30 Jan 2015
Documentary Reality