RIDE THE LIGHTNING
"Execution: The Second Chapter" - The Truth Will Be Revealed
Written, Produced and Directed by Steven Scaffidi
In late 1979 a man killed his mother in a domestic dispute in an undisclosed southern city near the Gulf Coast. Less than 72 hours later, that same man confessed to the slaughter of an innocent family of four on the other side of town. After 16 years on death row, the killer was put to death in the electric chair for the grizzly murders of the family.
On the night of the execution, two filmmakers and their small crew were given access to death row and captured the final moments of the condemned man's life with hidden cameras...including his execution in the electric chair. That night, the warden confiscated all of the footage and held it for over 10 years until he retired in 2005. When the footage was finally returned to the filmmakers in an unmarked box, there was an anonymous note accompanying the footage that read, "It's all here. Good fucking luck."
For years, the two filmmakers fought over whether or not they should show the actual execution. One filmmaker said that it was exploiting a man's death, and the other said that the condemned man was a ruthless killer and that the world should see everything. The other members of the crew agreed that they should show it all so the filmmakers came to terms and decided to show the execution and let the audience determine if killing a man in the name of justice is right or wrong.
During the editing of the film Hurricane Katrina struck and destroyed everything except for the original footage which was taken to Texas during the evacuation. After two long years of struggle and heartache, their movie, "Execution", was finally completed in 2007 and screened for select audiences in the United States and in the United Kingdom. Even though the film drew large crowds at a handful of well-known film festivals and prestigious universities, the filmmakers could not strike a mainstream distribution deal to release their film. At the end of 2012, following a successful but difficult eight city tour of one-night-only independent screenings in some of America's largest cities, the filmmakers were out of money and out of ideas to find a good distributor who wanted to take on their unique and controversial movie.
It seemed like all hope was lost but one filmmaker refused to give up on his film which he believed would forever change the way people viewed capital punishment in America. On top of that, there was one thing that had been bugging him since the footage was returned back in 2005...the warden lied when he said, "It's all here." Yes, all of the video was there but one important piece of audio was missing, or maybe tampered with. Moments before the execution took place the condemned man called the warden over and whispered something in his ear. For some reason the sound was distorted at that very moment and only a small part of what the condemned man said to the warden can be heard.
Is this simply a coincidence that the sound was garbled or did someone intentionally distort the sound right at that key moment? What did the condemned man say to the warden seconds before he was put to death? Only two people know for sure and one of them is dead. After more than 18 long years since that fateful moment, one filmmaker is on a quest to discover the truth about what really happened that night.