Ax Man Documentary to Premiere Monday

On June 7, 2013, in Anniversaries, News, by Jody Ewing

On Monday, June 10, Rockford, Ill. filmmaker Stuart Wahlin will premiere a new documentary about Iowa’s most notorious unsolved slayings — the Villisca Ax murders — to coincide with case’s 101st anniversary.

The Ax Man Enigma: The real-life inspiration behind “Slay Utterly” will make its debut on Facebook.

“Villisca is the most well-known in this series of crimes, largely attributable to the popularity of paranormal TV shows that have featured the house where the murders occurred,” Wahlin said in Rock River (IL) Times article published today. “But what few people realize is that the Villisca crime scene was not unique.”

View the trailer for Monday’s upcoming documentary.

During a two-year period (1911-1912), a rash of eerily similar ax murders swept across the Midwest. Leaving unique crime scene signatures in his wake, it is believed the “Ax Man” may have been responsible for at least two-dozen murders, said Wahlin. No one was ever brought to justice.

“The documentary is really aimed at educating people about the case, while also generating interest in our upcoming feature film,” Wahlin added, noting The Ax Man Enigma’s release coincides with a Kickstarter fund-raising campaign for Slay Utterly, which is a modern crime thriller inspired by the case. That film is slated for a 2014 release.

Wahlin, a former Rockford journalist, was awarded Best Director at the Prairie State Film Festival in Chicago last year for his film, Hand of Glory.

The documentary will premiere online at

One Response to Ax Man Documentary to Premiere Monday

  1. Robert Thrasher says:

    I have been reading several articles concerning the Villisca Ax murders. There were actually three things that I was rather puzzled by. The article stated that the doors were locked and had to be opened with a key to gain entrance the day of the murders. What kind of killer locks the doors on the way out of a crime scene? Secondly……the covering of the mirror. This is considered an old Jewish practice of a house in mourning. Thirdly, it was reported that there was a slab of bacon on the floor in one of the rooms. Another Jewish practice is not to eat pork. Could the killer have been Jewish? Could these be interesting ideas over looked?

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