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Exploring the Dark Depths: 'Tales of the Grim Sleeper'

Uncover the chilling tale of a serial killer and societal neglect in 'Tales of the Grim Sleeper' on iWonder.

Keywords: , Serial killer, Lonnie Franklin Jr, Grim Sleeper, systemic neglect, true crime, law enforcement, South Central Los Angeles, Nick Broomfield, iWonder


The documentary 'Tales of the Grim Sleeper' by directors Nick Broomfield, Barney Broomfield, and Marc Hoeferlin was released in 2014. The documentary investigates the horrifying 25-year killing spree by Lonnie Franklin Jr, a man believed to have claimed over 100 victims. In today's context, the film underscores the importance of community vigilance and highlights systemic failures in law enforcement.


The documentary delves into the life and crimes of Lonnie Franklin Jr, arrested in 2010. It probes why the killings went unnoticed for two decades, revealing chilling insights into a society's blind spots.

More Film Analysis



Broomfield’s documentary is both investigative and participatory. It exhibits rigorous research, delving deep into the psyche of a serial killer, while also starkly presenting the societal neglect that allowed these heinous acts to persist. The presentation style is raw and unfiltered, further amplifying the chilling narrative.

Historical and Factual Context


The documentary takes place in South Central Los Angeles, where Lonnie Franklin Jr lived and committed his crimes. This area has been historically marked by high crime rates and socio-economic challenges, underscored by the neglect and indifferent response of law enforcement to the murders.

Key themes in the film

  • Societal neglect and systemic failures in law enforcement
  • The importance of community vigilance
  • The disturbing psychological profile of a serial killer

Film Comparisons

Unlike other true crime documentaries on iWonder, 'Tales of the Grim Sleeper' explores not just the criminal, but also the societal conditions that allowed his crimes to continue unaddressed.

Noteworthy Moments

The interviews with Franklin's friends, who were unaware of his dark side, provide a chilling juxtaposition to the man's horrific crimes.


The documentary has been well-received, with critics praising its in-depth exploration of systemic neglect and indifference, as well as its chilling narrative.


'Tales of the Grim Sleeper' is an important film that forces viewers to confront uncomfortable realities about societal neglect and indifference. It is a must-watch for those interested in true crime, psychology, and social justice.

More film information:


  • IMDB Score: 7
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: N/A
  • Metacritic Score: N/A
  • Film Festival Awards: 1 win & 6 nominations



  • Lonnie Franklin Jr: The infamous serial killer known as the 'Grim Sleeper'



  • South Central Los Angeles: The area where Franklin committed his crimes

Key Questions Raised by the Film

  1. How did Lonnie Franklin Jr.'s crimes go unnoticed for 25 years?
  2. What systemic failures allowed these heinous acts to persist?
  3. What does this case reveal about societal neglect and indifference?

I wonder what the film would be in another art form

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  1. A famous book, it would be 'In Cold Blood' by Truman Capote - for its chilling exploration of a murderer's psyche.
  2. A famous song, it would be 'Man in the Mirror' by Michael Jackson - for its emphasis on societal reflection and change.
  3. A famous piece of art, it would be 'The Scream' by Edvard Munch - for its portrayal of raw, chilling horror.
  4. A famous celebrity, it would be Anthony Hopkins - for his roles portraying disturbing characters.
  5. A colour, it would be dark grey - representing the gloom and dread the film invokes.
  6. A music style, it would be suspenseful orchestral - for its ability to create an atmosphere of tension and unease.

Watch Tales Of The Grim Sleeper - Streaming Online | iwonder (Free Trial)
Lonnie Franklin Jr. was arrested in July 2010 after a 25-year killing spree in which it is thought he could have killed over 100 victims, potentially making him the most prolific serial killer in history. His arrest was not the product of detective work but completely accidental, the result of a com…