Winnie the Shrew

Growing up in Geneva, New York, Scott Coblio's storybooks were all about murder. "My mother was a huge true-crime buff," the filmmaker recalls from his home in Los Angeles, "and so Helter Skelter and biographies of Lizzie Borden and Hitler, those were my storybooks." Coblio was especially drawn to Phoenix's own Winnie Ruth Judd, known for decades as "the trunk murderess" after she turned up at a Los Angeles train station in 1931, her luggage filled with two dead women, one of them chopped neatly into pieces. "Winnie's story was almost like a different take on Alice in Wonderland, except, in this case, the looking glass was a bad decision." Murderess: The Winnie Ruth Judd Story, Coblio's full-length film about Arizona's most notorious crime, tells Winnie's story using marionettes and arty photography in a movie that's more about emotion than murder. "I'm more interested in the emotional aspects of a story like Winnie's," Coblio says. "My movie doesn't just recite the facts of Winnie's case, it hopefully digs a little deeper." Murderess will play at Trunk Space the very date and time that the infamous murders took place 76 years ago.

Tue., Oct. 16, 10 p.m., 2007
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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela