Over the course of about three months in 1965, Gertrude Baniszewski violently tortured Sylvia Likens, a neighbor’s child whom she had been hired to babysit. Status of Cable & Streaming TV Shows (A-d), The Most Bizarre Mother-Character in a Movie. Sylvia and her younger sister, the 15-year-old disabled Jenny Fay Likens (she had a limp due to polio and a brace around that leg) had been boarding with Baniszewski since early July. What transpires in the next three months is both riveting and horrific. Jenny tells them to take her so she can explain. Sylvia and her mother, Betty Sylvia was a normal, healthy sixteen-year-old girl prior to h… Actual Crime Scene Photos Of Sylvia Likens Sylvia & jenny with their 265 of 293 people found this review helpful. Sylvia was a pretty teen who along with her partially disabled younger sister Jennie was left with Gertrude Baniszewski and her seven children in home in an Indianapolis slum. Gertrude agrees for the fee of $20 per week. An American Crime Sylvia Likens. She died from brain swelling, internal hemorrhaging of the brain and shock. In October 1965, 16-year-old Sylvia Likens died after being held captive for nearly three months. It is interesting to note that not one is known to have publicly apologized or expressed remorse in the years following this crime. Sylvia Marie Likens Sylvia always smiled with her mouth closed, because she had a missing front tooth. Sylvia and Jennie Fae Likens, the two daughters of traveling carnival workers are left for an extended stay at the Indianapolis home of single mother Gertrude Baniszewski and her six children. A normal Friday service at a fast food restaurant becomes interrupted by a police officer who claims an employee stole from a customer, but something more sinister is going on. Sylvia Likens was born January 3, 1949 the third child of five to carnival workers Lester Cecil Likens and Elizabeth, Betty, Frances. Biography. Sylvia Marie Likens (January 3, 1949 - October 26, 1965) was an American murder victim from Indiana. Tortured by her caregiver and neighborhood children. Mar 5, 2014 - Explore Pamela Tibbetts's board "Sylvia Likens 'graphic content'" on Pinterest. Sylvia and Jennie Fae Likens, the two daughters of traveling carnival workers are left for an extended stay at the Indianapolis home of single mother Gertrude Baniszewski and her six children. The film was nominated for a Golden Globe, a Primetime Emmy (both for Keener's performance), and a Writers Guild of America Award. It's a horror film that isn't a work of fiction. Placing their daughters in the care of Gertrude Baniszewski, life becomes a nightmare. She also accuses Sylvia of flirting with Andy, father of one of Gertrude's sons, abuses Sylvia sexually, and orders Johnny and Stephanie's boyfriend, Coy Hubbard (Jeremy Sumpter), to push her down the basement stairs. Rated R for strong and disturbing depiction of child abuse and torture, Regina King @ 50: Stealing the spotlight in "Ray", Regina King Fans Celebrate Her 50th Birthday as One Night in Miami Arrives on Amazon, Cancelled or Renewed? The children who helped her to torture and kill Sylvia Likens were given incredibly short sentences; their lawyers skilfully laid most of the blame upon Gertrude Baniszewski - she'd been the only adult involved and (despite her attempts to claim that she was prostrate on her sickbed during the worst beatings and acts of torture) most onlookers had expected her to receive the Death Sentence. Sylvia Marie Likens Sylvia always smiled with her mouth closed, because she had a missing front tooth. That's the real crime. When Sylvia Likens was murdered, she left behind a fractured family. Watch the movie An American Crime. R.I.P Sylvia Marie Likens. Kevin's mother struggles to love her strange child, despite the increasingly dangerous things he says and does as he grows up. this is why when they found Gertrude “Gertie” who said both girls would be treated just as her own 7 children were treat. Teddy Lewis (Michael Welch), is an enigma from the start. Based on the life of Aileen Wuornos, a Daytona Beach prostitute who became a serial killer. Gertrude passes the needle to her teen neighbor Ricky Hobbs (Evan Peters) to finish the branding. Jeff's a handsome, smooth fashion photographer. A young man held prisoner by a cab-driving serial killer must make a life or death choice between following in his captor's footsteps or breaking free. Based on the true story of Sylvia Likens, a teenage girl in Indianapolis in 1965 who found herself subjected to horrific cruelties, “An American Crime” almost begs us to look anywhere else. Sylvia and her mother, Betty Sylvia was a normal, healthy sixteen-year-old girl prior to her final nightmarish sojourn in the Baniszewski house. He's in for a surprise. Here are some well-known faces from Sundance over the years, as they brought their early movies to the festival. In 1965, sixteen-year-old Sylvia Likens (Elliot Page) and her disabled 15-year-old sister, Jenny (Hayley McFarland), are left in the care of an impoverished woman named Gertrude Baniszewski (Catherine Keener), a church acquaintance and mother to Paula (Ari Graynor), Johnny (Tristan Jarred), Stephanie (Scout Taylor-Compton), and several younger children. The Reverend (Michael O'Keefe) arrives, hinting that Paula has confessed about her pregnancy and Sylvia's treatment. The gruesome murder of 16-year-old Sylvia Likens at the hands of the Baniszewski family is still considered one of the most disturbing crimes in the history of Indiana. Paula soon feels guilty and tells her mother Sylvia has been punished enough. Sylvia calls them, but is seen by the Baniszewski children. (2007). The murder of Sylvia Likens was a child murder case that occurred in Indianapolis, Indiana in October 1965. Sylvia Likens crime scene photos USE CAUTION Uploaded by Claw on August 27, 2017 at 1:43 am In August of 1965, the vacant house next door to the Baniszewski residence was purchased by a middle-aged couple named Phyllis and Raymond Vermillion. But something about it is compelling, like craning your neck to see what horrors can be spotted at the scene of a car crash. You know it can't be anything pretty, yet you can't take your eyes off it. If it was from the hand of Stephen King it would be scary and delicious. Coy Hubbard (Jeremy Sumpter) is the boyfriend of one of the Baniszewski brood. Times are tough, and Gertrude's financial needs cause her to make this arrangement before realizing how the burden will push her unstable nature to a breaking point. And that's because the horrors exposed in this film are still occurring today. [3] Ginia Bellafante of The New York Times called it "one of the best television movies to appear in years" and praised Catherine Keener's portrayal of Gertrude Baniszewski. An American Crime (2007) Elliot Page as Sylvia Likens. At that time, the Likens parents had left Sylvia and Jenny in the care of Mrs. Baniszewski—they knew her as “Mrs. Ricky drives Sylvia to her parents'. I never expected a response. Gertrude is awakened by another daughter and tries to catch Sylvia, but is stopped by Paula. Together they experience the group's giddy thrills as well as its punishing manipulations, as Sherry's journey to paradise begins to sour. But Kevin is just getting started, and his final act will be beyond anything anyone imagined. Sylvia’s younger sister jenny was severely disabled by polio, she could barely get around by herself . Hayley's a smart, charming teenage girl. View production, box office, & company info. An American Crime is a 2007 American crime horror film directed by Tommy O'Haver and starring Elliot Page and Catherine Keener. Other notables include The West Wing's Bradley Whitford as prosecutor Leroy K. New.This is a period piece set in the mid-60s, and the costumes, sets, and palette of colors effectively evokes that era to a T. Much of the film's look can be attributed to the cinematography of Byron Shah, who had two films here at Sundance (his "The Go-Getter" was one of my favorite film' at this year's festival). Jenny discovers the letter from their parents in the trash. Perhaps it was knowing that the film is, in fact, based on a true story. Sylvia Likens and her sister Jenny were left in the care of a family friend who tortured Sylvia mercilessly until the young woman died of her extensive, gruesome, injuries. [4], "A Midwest Nightmare, Too Depraved to Ignore", "TV Tonight: An American Crime on Showtime", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=An_American_Crime&oldid=1000973086, Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Hannah Leigh Dworkin as Shirley Baniszewski, This page was last edited on 17 January 2021, at 17:01. Once the Reverend leaves, Gertrude orders everyone into the basement, where she restrains Sylvia and begins branding the words "I'M A PROSTITUTE AND PROUD OF IT" on her stomach with a heated needle. Her death sparked action across police departments, prosecution, and the halls of the Indiana General Assembly, plus movies and books. She is sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder. At the murder trial, Jenny says Gertrude threatened her with the same treatment if she told anyone. Mommie Dearest doesn't hold a candle to Keener's Gertrude, and Page is as heartbreaking as any victim I've seen in modern cinema. As shocking as both movies may seem, they pale in comparison to the very real-life tragedy of Sylvia Likens, which has fascinated and repelled Americans since it happened in 1965. In her prison cell, Gertrude briefly sees Sylvia's ghost. An Internet chat, a coffee shop meet-up, an impromptu fashion shoot back at Jeff's place. After Sylvia tells Paula’s boyfriend about Paula's pregnancy, Gertrude forces Sylvia to apologize for "spreading lies" and has Johnny help Paula beat Sylvia. 15-year-old Tracey Berkowitz is naked under a shower curtain at the back of a bus, looking for her little brother Sonny, who thinks he's a dog. When Sylvia enters, she sees a distraught Stephanie trying to revive Sylvia with Ricky's help -- the escape was a hallucination. Based on a true story that shocked the nation in 1965, the film recounts one of the most shocking crimes ever committed against a single victim. Certificate: 14 It premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. You must be a registered user to use the IMDb rating plugin. A young Austrian girl is kidnapped and held in captivity for eight years. Sylvia's voice narrates the fates of her other murderers. Sylvia started to begin the note like the one she had previously been forced to write, “Dear Mom and Dad,” but Mrs. Wright told her to stop and made her start over with the peculiar salutation, “To Mr. and Mrs. Likens.” After Sylvia’s death, this letter would be turned over to a cop by Mrs. Wright. Gertrude Baniszewski (1929–1990), also known as Gertrude Wright and The Torture Mother, was an Indiana divorcee who oversaw and facilitated the prolonged torture, mutilation, and eventual murder of Sylvia Likens, a teenage girl she had taken into her home.. The true story of suburban housewife Gertrude Baniszewski, who kept a teenage girl locked in the basement of her Indiana home during the 1960s. Sylvia Likens ultimately loses all humanity in the eyes of her abusers and is rendered a thing, a punching bag, a scapegoat; and therefore, the persecutors are blameless. The torture and murder of 16-year-old Sylvia Likens at the hands of the woman entrusted to care for her stands as one of the most harrowing and unthinkable atrocities in the annals of American crime. "An American Crime" is not for everyone. Gertrude ignores her. It premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. Sylvia Likens was a happy, beautiful 16-year-old when her parents left her and her sister in the care of Gertrude Baniszewski while they went on the road for work. When the payment arrives with a letter from the parents, Gertrude discards the letter without telling the sisters. With Gertrude's knowledge and approval, Johnny regularly invites the neighborhood children to the basement to abuse Sylvia. See more ideas about sylvia likens, sylvia, true crime. Murder Victim. That night, Paula helps Sylvia escape from the basement. my-dixie-wrecked.blogspot.com/we snuck in through some boards that were missing on the back porch.It was pretty creepy just being there. She was tortured to death by Gertrude Baniszewski (née Van Fossan), Gertrude's children, and other young people from their neighborhood. What transpires in the next three months is both riveting and horrific. Get a sneak peek of the new version of this page. Likens' parents' marriage was unstable. Little else can explain what happened to 16-year-old Sylvia Likens in 1965 but a group of children led by a self-absorbed adult who succumbed to a mob mentality like that seen in Golding’s novel. Written by Follows the unspeakable torture and abuses committed on a teenage girl in the care of her aunt and the boys who witness and fail to report the crime. Sylvia Likens : Reverend Bill used to say, "For every situation God always has a plan." Gertrude falsely accuses them of stealing money from her for the call and burns Sylvia with a cigarette. The opening courtroom scenes and disclaimer that "actual transcripts" were used make that clear. Title: Directed by Tommy O'Haver. Sylvia Marie Likens. See more ideas about sylvia likens, sylvia, crime scene. Use the HTML below. I came across the sad story of Sylvia Likens a long time ago. The film is based on the true story of the torture and murder of Sylvia Likens by Indianapolis single mother Gertrude Baniszewski. An American Crime is a 2007 film based on the horrible murder of Sylvia Likens in 1965. Based on the factual case of Natascha Kampusch. Mother Gertrude (Catherine Keener) already had five of her own in tow, and now she added two more. And what a clan it was. The true story of suburban housewife Gertrude Baniszewski, who kept a teenage girl locked in the basement of her Indiana home during the 1960s. With Elliot Page, Hayley McFarland, Nick Searcy, Romy Rosemont. Include at least two other concepts, not in this list. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 38% of 13 critic ratings are positive for the film. And both actors create frighteningly devastating portrayals of characters we still can't quite believe really endured these horrors. It is a nightmare come to life — and death — in 1965 Indianapolis. There's something about a "true crime" drama that triggers a desire to sit through whatever terrifying images lie ahead. Include the concepts of parens patriae, legal guardianship, licensed foster care, mandated reporting, and CAPTA. And the images conjured up here are bone-chilling.In 1965, Betty Likens (Romy Rosemont) and her husband Lester (Nick Searcy) decided it was best to leave their two daughters with a neighbor while they went off with a traveling carnival. Gertrude tells him Sylvia was sent away. Wright”—so they would be free to travel the carnival circuit operating a concession stand. Betty and Lester were both circus workers and that is how they made a living. Among the several decidedly downbeat films I saw this past week, this one was by far the hardest to watch. Wikimedia Commons/ YouKnew?/YouTube 16-year-old Sylvia Likens before staying with Gertrude Bansizewski and after being tortured to death. Lena, a young Polish immigrant working as a cleaner at an airport is invited to the family home of a co-worker, which turns sinister quickly as the family intend to 'adopt' her. By all accounts, she … What happened then, well documented in the record, is now played out for us with horrifying realism.This is Keener and Page's film, despite the large ensemble cast assembled for the story. The police arrive. Both turn in award-winning performances that left me with chills.In addition to the numerous family members, an assortment of school chums has the opportunity to get involved in some way. Was this review helpful to you? Keep track of everything you watch; tell your friends. Catherine Keener originally turned down the role of Gertrude Baniszewski; however, after she could not get the story out of her head, she met with director Tommy O'Haver and agreed to do the film. Lester's payment fails to arrive. Sylvia Marie Likens was born January 3, 1949 she had five other siblings; she was known as "cookie". Were carnival workers and were only just getting by money-wise, their relationship had suffered, but by 1965, Sylvia and Jenny had lived in Indianapolis with them.… To my surprise, Blythe responded. Sylvia was the third child of carnival workers Lester Cecil Likens (1926–2013) and his wife Elizabeth Frances "Betty" (née Grimes, 1927–1998). Principal photography took place in 2006. An American Crime is a 2007 American crime horror film directed by Tommy O'Haver and starring Elliot Page and Catherine Keener. Infuriated, Gertrude whips the Likens sisters with a belt. The film is based on the true story of the torture and murder of Sylvia Likens by Indianapolis single mother Gertrude Baniszewski. On May 19, 1966, a jury found Gertrude Baniszewski guilty of first-degree murder, and her daughter, Paula Baniszewski, was found guilty of … [1] Elliot Page was the only choice to play Sylvia Likens. Afterwards I penned a brief correspondence to the film’s lead actress—Blythe Auffarth, who had so effectively portrayed the Likens-based character. One of our most prolific yet underrated young actors today, Welch is perfectly cast as the boy whose blood runs hot or cold depending on the prevailing winds. Most of the cast were completely unaware of the real Likens murder until after they read the script, which was based largely on actual court transcripts from the case. Oct 25, 2019 - Explore Nabeeha's board "Sylvia Likens", followed by 184 people on Pinterest. I guess I'm still trying to figure out what that plan was. Her parents Lester Cecil Likens and Elizabeth Frances. Gertrude denies all wrongdoing and blames her children and their friends for Sylvia's death. Known to most from 2003's "Peter Pan," we can't help but feel that he will be the hero here. The children who helped her to torture and kill Sylvia Likens were given incredibly short sentences; their lawyers skilfully laid most of the blame upon Gertrude Baniszewski - she'd been the only adult involved and (despite her attempts to claim that she was prostrate on her sickbed during the worst beatings and acts of torture) most onlookers had expected her to receive the Death Sentence. Yet it deserves the label "important," because the subject matter is worthy of discussion. As Jenny weeps, Gertrude says Sylvia will remain in the basement "until she learns her lesson". Instead it's scary and nauseating. Likens and her sister Jenny were often boarded out or forced to live with relatives, such as their grandm… They are horrified by Sylvia's condition and drives her back to the Baniszewski house at her request to make sure Jenny is okay. I talked about Sylvia in the letter. A train accident in rural Nebraska gradually unveils a mystery involving the town's bank clerk. Using key concepts from this course, describe how Sylvia Likens' death might have been prevented. Within a few short months, Sylvia was beaten, humiliated, and ultimately left to die from neglect and severe abuse. January 3rd 1949-26th October 1965WARNING: This may contain content which viewers find disturbing.I DO NOT OWN ANY OF THE CONTENT Young runaway Sherry meets the radical street collective Spark. Sylvia is endlessly tortured by the members of the family, getting weaker, with no voice to help her. What it's about: "Based on the Jack Ketchum novel of the same name (and the real-life murder of Sylvia Likens), this movie follows the unspeakable torture and abuses committed on a … Based on a true story that shocked the nation in 1965, the film recounts one of the most shocking crimes ever committed against a single victim. I attended the world premiere of "An American Crime" at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. Both her older siblings, Diana and Danny, and her younger siblings, Jenny and Benny, were fraternal twins. Even it, however, does not approach the madness unleashed upon the real Sylvia Likens. alfiehitchie. The torture didn’t end until Likens was dead, and along the way, Baniszewski compounded her horror by inviting and instructing both her children and any other children that happened by their house to join in on the abuse. Gertrude instructs her children to lie that Sylvia was sent to juvenile detention. The family moved frequently, and the parents had financial difficulties. Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? The Showtime television network officially premiered An American Crime on May 10, 2008.[2]. Sylvia likens was born January 3rd 1949, in Lebanon, IN to Lester and Betty likens. Refusing to let anything spoil their romantic weekend break, a young couple confront a gang of loutish youths with terrifyingly brutal consequences. Jeff thinks it's his lucky night. Gertrude at first does not believe Sylvia is dead. She was born between two sets of fraternal twins: Diana and Danny (two years older), and Jenny and Benny (one year younger, the former disabled by polio). Their parents, Lester (Nick Searcy) and Betty (Romy Rosemont), work in the carnival circuit and leave on a tour. So Sylvia Likens (Ellen Page) and her sister Jennie Fae (Hayley McFarland) settled in with the Baniszewski clan. [1], Because of internal problems with the film's original distributor, First Look International, the film was not released theatrically. Times are tough, and Gertrude's financial needs cause her to make this arrangement before realizing how the burden will push her unstable nature to a breaking point. Her parents, carnival workers, had left Likens and her sister Jenny in the care of the Baniszewski Passes the needle to her teen neighbor Ricky Hobbs ( Evan Peters ) finish! 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