Director Edward Bass Has A Secret...

One town's secret is another man's film, and director Edward Bass is telling. Belle, his latest project, is the story of Belle Gunness, La Porte, Indiana’s most infamous resident and, arguably, America's number one serial killer. This mind-boggling secret, which many town residents are fiercely trying to keep, is starting to slip out.

By 1908, Indiana’s very own female “Jack the Ripper” had killed upwards of 100 people. She enticed men to their graves, concealing their severed remains near the pig pen on her sausage farm. She may have gone virtually unknown if not for a pesty "brother-in-law". It was Asle Hegelein's relentless search for his missing brother, one of Belle's suitors, that caused Belle to burn down her farm, hiding the evidence. Many are still left wondering if Belle feigned her death or met her demise in the fire. World War I put an end to the Belle-mania that had swept the country. Things seemed quiet in La Porte until the 100th anniversary of her death in 2008 when DNA tests of her remains were deemed inconclusive. Shortly after, a feature film was announced. One of the many factual events portrayed in Belle was the posting of matrimonial ads in search of rich husbands. “To those who responded, Ms. Gunness sent out poison-pen 'love letters,''' says Bass. In her letters, Belle wrote, "you will love me so much, you will want to stay forever..."--and that they did. In the years following her death, sparked by numerous reported sightings and the mysterious circumstances of her death, interest in this femme fatal extraordinaire has persisted. However, outside of La Porte, Belle's story has been relegated to the back pages of history with numerous town residents fiercely trying to keep it this way. To that point, the family of Sheriff Smutzer, one of her assumed enablers, still adamantly refuses to speak about Belle.

In Gunness’ native Norway, there has been tremendous speculation on everything Belle including the rumor of Angelina Jolie playing the title role See Article. Given the media attention this film is stirring prior to release, it will be interesting to follow La Porte's reaction when their secret hits theaters.

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Edward Bass
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