Monday, November 15, 2010
Who Killed Nancy? (2009)
Executive producer Steve Milne (Moon- co-producer)
Producer Christine Alderson (Valhalla Rising)
Nancy Spungen, found stabbed to death under the bathroom sink in room 100 of the Chelsea Hotel in New York on October 12, 1978, had many of what one could call enemies. After graduating from an alternative school for troubled youth in Pennsylvania where Sylvester Stallone also attended school, Nancy began to pursue her dreams, which included death, according to her mother. Called Nauseating Nancy by people who knew her in New York, it took the girl no time at all to build up the same reputation in London when she arrived with Johnny Thunders (1952-1991) and the Heartbreakers. Nancy, however, is not as much the subject of this documentary as Sid Vicious. Nancy's mother had written her story and then written her daughter off. I reviewed Deborah Spungeon's book And I Don't Want to Live This Life on my book blog.
The documentary Who Killed Nancy is a very well made, hip-looking film spiced up with lots of interviews with 70s punk artists and figures who were big on the punk scene in New York and London in the late 70s. There are also plenty of clips from newspapers and interview shows of important personalities in Sid and Nancy's story. While her own mother believed that Nancy handed Sid the knife and told him to kill her if he loved her, many in the punk scene for the past 30+ years have continued to care and to ponder what really happened in the wee hours of the morning on October 12, 1978.
Through candid talks with people who knew Sid and his mother Anne Beverley, filmmakers reveal a boy raised with a bohemian mother who once used her toddler son to smuggle drugs into England. Sid, however, was shown to be highly intelligent and attuned to the whole press and media machine, knowing how to shock people, "fool them" in his words, into underestimating him. While many people only know what the movie Sid and Nancy tells of Sid's life, the documentary paints a clearer picture of who he was before fame and what he became after meeting Nancy.