Lizzie Borden is the classic social caricature of a crazy homicidal woman, isn’t she? From the classic rhyme “Lizzie Borden took an axe/gave her mother forty whacks” to murderous sexpot, we took a look at how this woman’s image has developed since her rise to infamy.
Here’s the basic facts about Lizzie and the murders. Lizzie and her sister Emma were both unmarried and lived with their father and stepmother. Accounts range about their relationship, but most seem to think that Andrew wasn’t a very nice guy and that his daughters resented him for all kinds of things, including the fact that he was giving some of his property to his second wife’s family rather than them. On August 4th, 1892, Lizzie found the dead body of her father, Andrew Borden. It appeared he’d been struck with a hatchet-like weapon. Soon after, the body of his wife, Abby, was found in an upstairs bedroom, similarly bludgeoned. A hatchet was found in the basement, although it was clean. Lizzie acted strangely in the days after the murder, including burning a dress which she said had gotten dirty. She was arrested for the murders on August 11 and stood trial for them in June 1893.
Let’s be clear about one thing: She was acquitted of the murders, although her reputation never recovered from the accusation and trial. And from what we know, over a hundred years later, I’d wager that most people don’t even know that she was found innocent! From the extensive amount of Wikipedia and fan-site reading I did to write this post (LOL), I think there’s a chance she actually could have killed her parents, although we’ll never know for sure. The majority of her defense (from her male lawyer) was based around the notion that, at that time, women were thought incapable of committing such a violent act.
Of course, the interest and fascination with Lizzie persists because she is a woman, one of the first women ever accused of a famous murder. And that’s why it’s so interesting to trace her imagery, from photographs of the real woman all the way up until the sexy, chemise-wearing murderess you’ll see Christina Ricci portray on Lifetime this Saturday at 8 pm. Because nothing is sexier than murder.
The real Lizzie Borden was your run-of-the-mill, 1800s spinster Here, see?
Here’s a depiction of Lizzie in a 1950s stage play. LOL axe murder!:
This Lizzie Borden appeared in a 1975 made-for-TV movie starring Elizabeth Montgomery of Bewitched fame. It’s a fairly normal historical depiction, but apparently the film also features a scene of Lizzie removing her clothes? Sex-ay!
Betcha didn’t know Lizzie was also on The Simpsons! So…Simpsons-y.
Lizzie’s story is quite popular for stage plays and musicals. Here’s an actress rehearsing for her role as Lizzie in the Boston Lyric Opera’s production of “Lizzie Borden.”
The Curse Of Lizzie Borden follows a girl who gets a job in a Lizzie Borden museum and may or may not go on a wild killing spree.
Now, here’s where our Lizzie gets super sexy!
This is Lizzie Borden, the pro wrestler/porn star:
This looks like such a quality film! Lizzie Borden’s Revenge, a 2013 slasher film about a group of sorority girls who conjure the ghost of the real Lizzie.
And finally, here’s Lifetime’s imagining of Lizzie, as played by Christina Ricci:
I have to admit that the Lifetime movie looks good. Campy and fun! I don’t have cable, but can you guys watch it and tell me how it is?
Main Photos: Wikimedia Commons/Prowrestling.wikia.com