Into the Abyss

Release December 9, 2011 (Limited)
Director Werner Herzog
Writer Werner Herzog
Genres Documentary
Studio Mongrel Media
Length 107 mins.


In 2010 Werner Herzog interviewed Michael Perry and Jason Burkett, who were convicted of the 2001 murders of Sandra Stotler, her son Adam and his friend Jeremy Richardson. They were murdered because the killers wanted the Stotlers' red Camaro.

The teens, both 19 at the time, enjoyed the car for less than 72 hours before they were arrested following a gun battle with police. Jason Burkett received a life sentence, while Michael Perry was sentenced to death.

Herzog, who doesn't believe in the death penalty, interviewed Perry just eight days before he was executed. He tells him: "When I talk to you, it does not necessarily mean that I have to like you. But I respect you. You are a human being—and I think human beings should not be executed."

He also spoke to Burkett, who has recently married, although he isn't eligible for parole until 2041. Burkett's father, who is also in prison, blames himself, saying his son "had trash for a father." The daughter/sister of the Stotlers talks about the difficulty of coping with the deaths of her family members and how she feels about Perry's execution. Herzog also interviewed a chaplain just hours before he would give Perry his last rites and a former executioner, who after taking part in over 100 executions, admits he just couldn't stomach death any more after he watched a woman put to death for her crimes.

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