Lone Star Hate – (UK, 1997)

The banality of evil is one of the subjects of this Channel 4 documentary on the gruesome 1993 gay-bashing murder of Nicholas West in conservative Tyler, Texas. The story unfolds in graphic detail, through forensic photographs, visits to the crime scene, courtroom and police interrogation transcripts, death-row interviews with the killers, and conversations with West’s friends in the gay community.

Director Paul Yule turns an unflinching outsider’s eye on some absurdly grotesque features of Bible Belt culture, noting the ways it fosters a climate of anti-gay violence. Yule depicts with equal clarity, however, the sense of common decency and respect for the law that compelled public servants in this profoundly conservative city to seek justice on behalf of the victim of a heinous hate crime.

ImageResize.aspxA tale of gays, guns and God, Lone Star Hate reveals the increase of violent acts of bigotry in Texas, a state where Christianity is turning ever more militant, and gun ownership is defended with religious zeal.

Rampant Baptist fundamentalism acts as a backdrop to this shocking tale from small town, Tyler. In 1993, Nicholas West, a young gay man, was abducted, tortured and brutally murdered by a gang of bible-beating gun-slingers. The three sensational trials which followed prompted Tyler’s community to reflect on its views on faith and humanity. Award-winning director, Paul Yule, interviews West’s killers, their families, lawyers and the ordinary folk of Tyler as he follows the trials to their extraordinary finale.

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