TEXT CRAWL ON BLACK SCREEN:
Elspeth Osbourne is the most feared and hated serial killer of the past century.
Prior to her capture, she was known only as Ozymandias for the torn page of a poem she left at the site of each abduction. She is believed to have committed nearly 50 murders over only four years, and yet
none of her victims were recovered while she was still at large.
El's crimes were especially heinous because of the nature of the victims she chose.
She killed only the kindest and most selfless people she could find; one from each state.
She was meticulous to a fault in her modus operandi, and only a brilliant and controversial sting by an FBI task force
was able to apprehend her.
She was adamant about her sanity, and never considered any plea but guilty.
After her conviction for the 2003 abduction and murder of Reverend Danielle Mundus, El was placed in the Mountain View
Unit, Huntsville Texas; awaiting execution by lethal injection.
Early last year, in exchange for an agreement to forego all appeals, El was granted permission to tell her side of
the story to our film crew. This is the first of many sessions conducted with El before the strange events of December 14,
TITLE OVER BLACK SCREEN:
19 JUNE 2005
INT. CELL ‑‑ NIGHT
The room is darkened with light on only El, in prison jumpsuit, on a chair in the middle of the room. She is still,
looking down, we can't really see her face. She begins speaking with venom, still not looking up.
So you wanna know what makes me tick, is that it? Preserve the perverse for posterity? If I told
you I just got off on it would you be disappointed?
Sometimes I kind of wish it was that simple.
She looks up now for the first time. There is no anger in her eyes, just emptiness.
But it's not. There's a purpose. I don't kill because I hate, I do it because I love. Sound Insane?
She turns the pale hollow of her neck toward us and begins again. The anger has disappeared from her voice.
My victims, as you call them; they were martyrs for a cause.
They died for love. God has abandoned us.
We are alone. All we have is each other.
But when I kill it's‑ it's almost indescribable. I look in their eyes. It's like looking into God's eyes. For
that moment; in that instant; when they know it's the end; there's a change. There's a calm, or a surrender. And for a moment
I feel the change and the release too.
Sensing that we do not get it, she decides to give an example.
Take for instance the first person I killed; Danny. He was the sweetest, kindest, most loving person
I have ever known. He was just a kid from the building where I lived.
I turned twenty the day he was born; the day I moved into the building. I even held the door open
for his parents as they brought him home from the hospital. As he grew, he was this vibrant little bundle of life. He was
life in its purest form.
I became very close with him and his parents. They never suspected that I was capable of anything
like what happened, of course. I mean, neither did I. I went to his little league games, birthday parties, I was like an aunt.
He turned fifteen the day I took him.
A couple of months before his birthday I was sitting on my balcony, relaxing, having a soda, thinking
about life; thinking about death.
She starts out calm, but gets more and more agitated as she tells the story.
I heard the radio from the apartment next door. News
bulletins. Fucking NPR. Ten dead
in a car bomb in Tel Aviv. And fifty dead in Gaza City in retaliation
for that attack. And seventeen more dead in Jerusalem in retaliation for THAT
Meanwhile back in the states, some guy was dragged to death behind a pickup truck because his ancestors
came from a part of the world where natural selection killed everybody with too little melanin in their skin to protect them
from the damage of the sun.
On that same day in Oklahoma, a woman decided that she was so much more right in her beliefs than
everyone else that God would want her to go and mix up a good old fashioned fertilizer bomb to destroy a
women's clinic. She killed ten women, three men, and two tiny little babies who were there for checkups.
Her rage builds to a fury as she gets louder and more animated.
What the fuck is wrong with people? What goes through
their minds when they choose‑ they CHOOSE to kill someone‑ to hate someone‑ because of how they look, or
how they think, or how they worship the same god, or how they choose to live their lives?
I could strangle each and every one of those dim, narrow, small minded, small people. People not
fit to breathe the same air as a person like‑ Danny. But there are so many like them, and so few like him.
Realizing she is getting away from herself, she comes back on topic.
I was talking about Danny.
Well as I sat there thinking about life and death I looked down, and I saw a gorgeous man coming
down the street. He was strong, handsome and confident.
I started thinking about the path that had brought me to where I was; alone, lost, lonely. I'd
known girls in college; in the army; back home. These women had found someone, started families, had kids of their own that
would be in their teens now. I started wondering why I hadn't found someone,
anyone. Maybe that guy on the street. A future.
Children. Happiness. Peace.
Didn't I deserve peace?
Anger is creeping back in on her.
But I was still thinking about the radio. About life
and death. Wherever there is peace, there is someone waiting to bring war. Wherever
there is happiness, there is someone waiting to bring chaos. Wherever there is Love, there is someone waiting to bring Hate. And where life, death. Maybe there is
no God. Maybe nothing pure can last.
She pauses to get hold of herself again.
I looked again to the man on the street. One last
look at the mythical happily ever after he represented. A fond farewell to the children who would never be born, never get
sick, never die. Farewell to the passion and companionship that would never become boredom and infidelity; to the love that
would never be hate.
But when I looked at him now, he looked at me. He
smiled and waved. It was no man, about to disappear forever. It was Danny. Danny the child, nearly grown. Danny
the kind. Danny the hopeful. Danny
the pure, not yet disillusioned by an impure world.
And I could not stand to see the last light in the darkness fall into line and compromise away
his purity. I made my decision right then.
I began preparations.
I gave notice at work, and at my apartment building. I
told everyone I was moving to Maine, even got a job and apartment in Bangor. I
bought a van for cash, wearing a disguise, and never transferred the title. I
left it at an abandoned farm in Connecticut, in the barn. I never touched it
I had committed myself to the morality of what I was doing, but it was vital that I not be caught
and held to the skewed morality of a bankrupt society.
You see, he was perfect, and through my actions would remain so forever. Everyone whose life he had touched would remember him and gain inspiration to live the kind of life of
which he would approve. I know you're thinking, wouldn’t they also grow to hate?
Hate the person capable of such a crime? Hate is a funny thing. It's hard
to pin down hate when you have no face to pin it to. Hate fades when you can't give it a name.
Now you tell me. Is that insane? Is it??
The only thing that could undo the good I was ultimately doing was getting caught. Then they’d have a face, a name, hate. So I couldn't
But I was caught. Yeah, that last one was a mistake. I shouldn't have done it. I should've
realized‑ Umm, anyway.
At one in the morning on Danny's fifteenth birthday I left Bangor under cover of fog. I switched cars at the farm in Bridgeport, Connecticut and caught the ferry to Port Jefferson. It's a little more than an hour across the Long Island Sound on the ferry.
That's a lot of time to think. I'd be lying if I said I didn't struggle
with my decision; my deicide. How could I think to harm my Danny?
She smiles now, sharing a memory. She seems almost normal.
I remember once, I was sick. He must've been about eleven. I had the flu for about a week,
and he came by to see me every day after school. He made me chicken noodle soup,
which I hate, everyday. The warmth in his eyes, I just couldn't disappoint him. I ate every drop, every day, and when I finally emerged after a week, he was sure
he had cured me. I started calling him Dr D.
I love that boy.
As if suddenly remembering what happened later, her face loses animation, and life.
Anyway, that's what I was thinking of as I stood against the rail of the ferry, face into the wind,
oblivious to all sound, carefully avoiding all other passengers.
I arrived on Danny's walking route to school at exactly 8:30.
I knew he'd be along any minute. I had on a disguise cheesy enough for him to see through, but good enough to fool
a casual observer. Kids straggled along for half an hour, but no Danny.
I was just about to give up the entire plan when I saw him jogging down the street, quite alone,
quite late for school. As he got close to the van I took a quick look around to verify that no one was watching. I had chosen this particular block because it wasn't residential, only a couple of old warehouses. I pulled off the wig and fake beard, tossing them into the back of the van. I stepped out of the van smiling and said‑
FADE TO WHITE
EXT. STREET ‑‑ MORNING
We are on a street as El described it, urban, buildings on either side, two stories high and no windows. A very different
El is standing next to the van smiling as Danny jogs near without paying attention. She appears younger, warm and alive, beautiful.
She is not yet shaped by the things she will do.
Hey Doctor D!
He stopped immediately, grinning. He hadn't
seen me in nearly two months so he was a little confused.
Aunt Elspeth? What are you doing here?
You didn't think I'd miss your birthday, did you sweetheart?
He ran to me, threw his arms around me and said‑
Danny mouths the words as El speaks them in voice over.
EL V.O. (CONT'D)
I've missed you.
EL V.O. (CONT'D)
I knew then that I had made the right decision.
They get in the van and drive away. There, tacked to the wall, is a piece
of a page torn from a book. On the page is part of the poem Ozymandias by Percy
"My name is Ozymandias, King of
Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
INT. VAN ‑‑ CONTINUOUS
It was easy to convince him to get in the van. He
They pass a school and continue down the road.
EL V.O. (CONT'D)
It was easy to keep him calm as I passed his school,
Flashback El mouths the words with a smile and warmth as voice over El speaks them flat and menacing.
EL V.O. (CONT'D)
Let's have a breakfast burrito and catch up on old times.
EXT. ALLEY ‑‑ CONTINUOUS
El pulls the van into an alley.
I pulled into an alley I had chosen a month before,
and it was easy to catch him off guard with the chloroform.
INT. VAN ‑‑ CONTINUOUS
She makes like she's getting something out of the back, and reaches around
his face with a chloroform soaked handkerchief. At first he thinks she’s
playing around and by the time he realizes that she’s not, it’s too late.
Next she ties him up in the back of the van. She puts the wig and beard
back on and drives away.
I tied him carefully, easily; in case he awoke before
we got to the farm. He didn't. I
put my disguise back on.
FADE TO BLACK
INT. CELL ‑‑ NIGHT
Another ferry ride and another eternity to think about
what would happen. I didn't falter. The farm was off a remote country road. No
one would see me. Everything was prepared as the rain began to fall.
I bound him on the bed before he awoke. He was no animal;
no prisoner, but he was getting to be too big for me to be certain of overpowering him.
FADE TO WHITE
INT. BARN ‑‑ MORNING
Danny is asleep on a twin sized mattress with clean fresh sheets and a fluffy
feather pillow. The head of the mattress is up against the wall. He is secured to the wall with a pair of leather shackles
on his wrists.
I watched him as he slept. The boyish face on the cusp of manhood; his auburn hair falling lightly across his brow; the body now blossoming
from boy to man. I loved him.
He awoke confused and tried to sit up on the bed.
Where are we? What's going on?
Good morning sunshine.
You want something to drink?
Umm, no thanks.
Where are we?
Why are we in Connecticut?
I'll explain it all to you, honey.
Fade out sound except for VO as she begins her explanation. He is afraid,
but not panicky. He tries to pull on the shackles once, and then looks back to her, listening intently.
And I did. I
told him everything, sparing nothing. I told him about that day on the balcony, about how growing up is all about compromise
and give, give, give until you give everything you are and you're left empty. I told him how I couldn't bare to see that happen
to him. I told him that I loved him. I told him what I was going to do.
He lay there calmly, and listened. When I'd finished, he turned to face away from me.
They sit in silence for a few seconds.
You're going to kill me.
It wasn't a question, it was a statement.
it doesn't mean I don't love you.
Haven't you been listening? It's because I love you. It's because I want
to protect you from the world.
Protect me by killing me? Do you hear
She sits next to him on the bed.
Danny, don't you understand? You're perfect. You're
a beacon of light to everyone around you. When you don't come home today, it will be the most profound event in their lives.
It will shape them forever. Your story will go out on radio and television specials, and you'll inspire millions to become
more like you. You'll never disappoint anyone, never hurt anyone, never fail.
He thinks about what she has said for a moment. He still thinks he can talk her out of it, but he’s beginning to panic.
It's time, Danny.
Realizing what she said, he knows that the time to remain calm has passed. He starts to struggle harder against his bonds, and cry like a child.
No! Please Aunt El, I love you. Please don't do this!
I've known you my whole life! You're the one who taught me about Stranger Danger when I was little, please! I'm not perfect,
I stole a dirty magazine from the Stop and Go, I'm not perfect, Please! PLEASE!"
El is beginning to get choked up as well. She's having second thoughts now
that the moment has come.
Calm down sweetie, calm down.
No! Can I have a drink of water now? Please? I'm really
El is crying now.
No Danny. No. It's too late.
He is trying to struggle away from her, but she has the leverage, and she
pulls him straight on the bed and straddles him.
I began strangling him with my bare hands. But I wasn’t pressing hard enough. I didn’t want
to hurt him. I didn’t want him to suffer.
I just wanted him to die.
She presses her thumbs into his wind pipe. His eyes dart around, searching
for a nonexistent avenue of escape.
EL V.O. (CONT'D)
Then he looked at me.
His eyes lock on hers. His
face is turning red. Tears stream from the corners of his eyes. Then the fear leaves his face and he stops struggling as he
looks into her eyes. A calm comes over him.
EL V.O. (CONT'D)
The fear in his eyes began to melt away. There was this serenity; so deep it felt like I was drowning. I
couldn’t go through with it.
She collapses, sobbing, on his chest. He coughs and wheezes for a minute. She reaches up and unties one of his hands. Amazingly, he puts his free arm around
her and begins whispering to her with the little bit of voice he can muster.
okay. It's okay.
He reaches over and unties his other arm. He holds her for a minute. He
lifts her head, wipes away her tears, and tenderly holding the sides of her face kisses her gently on her mouth. He is completely
transformed from the pleading child of only moments before.
I've always wanted to do that.
Then he smiles and lays his head back.
He is staring off somewhere above him, listening to her breathe as he holds her.
Slowly, he takes her hands in his, and puts her hands back on his throat, helping her to squeeze the life from himself.
She begins weeping loud and openly now.
At first she tries to pull her hands away, but he holds them tight. He is smiling and gazing into her eyes. She stops crying. She begins strangling him
with passion and purpose. He lets go of her, allowing one of his hands to fall
to his side as the other moves up to cup her cheek and wipe her tears. Their
gazes are locked. As his eyes start to lose focus, his hand falls away to rest beside his head and his smile fades to an expressionless
mask. She kisses him again and whispers
I love you.
But he is now beyond hearing her. She slides off of him, and lies next to
his body with her head on his chest as though they were two lovers cuddling after making love.
He gave me the strength to do what needed to be done. He opened my eyes and showed me my fate. I
had to take one beautiful soul from every state so that everyone would be touched by the loss, and inspired to love again.
FADE TO BLACK
INT. CELL ‑‑ NIGHT
El is crying quietly. When she looks up we see that there is a living
feeling woman inside the thing that she has become. She's lonely and broken and lost. She starts absently rubbing her thumbs
to her forefingers and staring off into space. After a few seconds, she realizes that she's doing it and starts watching herself.
Then she holds her hands, palm up, in front of her and stares into them. The sadness drains, and rage begins to fill her features
again. Her jaw muscle flexes. Her fists clench.
Ozymandias is back.
God looked away first. Don't you get it? It was God gazing into the abyss, not me. And what he saw
What colossal arrogance, to create creatures capable of immense love, and surround them with immeasurable
She is filled with anger, but also pain.
Putting me in here has made all of their deaths meaningless!
What I did was give people back their love.
Now you TELL me! Is that insane?