A short trailer for the Lifetime movie "Lizzie Borden Took an Ax" has been released, and of course the Lifetime movie looks like it's going to be unintentionally hilarious.
A Dec. 15 report by HitFix says that "the tale of Lizzie Borden, the young woman who was accused of murdering her parents back in 1893, is a perfect choice for the trashy but amazing Lifetime brand." This is very true since Lifetime has had a lot of success with movies based on true stories. The network really likes to focus on murder, and in recent years it's ripped stories from the headlines as fast as it possible can. An example is a 2011 movie starring Hayden Panettiere, "Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy."
But Lifetime's attempt at a period piece looks like it's going to be a lot more fun, and the trailer seems to suggest that Lizzie Borden didn't actually use that axe to give her stepmother and father a grand total of 81 whacks (according to the exaggeration in that old jump-roping rhyme). A quick cut in the trailer above seems to show Christina Ricci screaming in horror when she witnesses someone else doing the deed. Since the murder weapon is probably taller than she is, it makes sense that her character won't be the real killer in Lifetime's take on the story. Borden was acquitted of killing her parents, but many people then and now believe that she got away with murder. No one was ever charged with the killings, so Lifetime will have a field day dreaming up its own version of events.
"Lizzie Borden Took an Ax" is getting buzz at the perfect time. Ax murders are definitely in, with "American Horror Story: Coven" recently featuring its take on the Axeman of New Orleans, a real-life serial killer who once told the people of New Orleans to play jazz music on a specific night if they wanted to make sure that their lives would be spared. However, he became a murderous ghost in love with Jessica Lange's powerful witch character on "Coven." Speaking of witches, did you know that "Bewitched" actress Elizabeth Montgomery played Lizzie Borden in a 1975 TV movie? In "The Legend of Lizzie Borden," Lizzie was the one who murdered her parents (and she did it in the nude!). Weirdly, Lizzie Borden and Elizabeth Montgomery were sixth cousins once removed.
Lifetime's trailer is tries a little too hard to be creepy, so perhaps the network is hoping that the movie will appeal to the "American Horror Story: Coven" crowd. Christina Ricci definitely would be right at home on Ryan Murphy's popular show. She's always done a great job with creepy and kooky roles, starting with her days starring in "The Addams Family" and "Casper." Her slightly scarier horror credits include "Sleepy Hollow" and "Cursed," in which she plays a werewolf. She also stars as a reluctant corpse in the movie "After.Life."
Ricci's movie roles have been hit and miss throughout her career, but she hasn't done anything decent since the 2006 movie "Black Snake Moan." She did seem right at home on TV when she starred in the series "Pan Am," so maybe she'll follow up "Lizzie Borden Took an Ax" with more small screen work. It would be amazing to see what kind of character Ryan Murphy could dream up for the doll-like, ageless star on the next season of "American Horror Story," and at least she'd be starring in something that's intentionally campy.
So are you going to check out Christina Ricci in "Lizzie Borden Took an Ax" when it airs on Lifetime on Jan. 25, and do you agree that she'd be perfect on "American Horror Story?"