Snaggletoothed, with a cold glare that widens from fearful to livid, Aileen Wuornos has the charisma of the damned in Nick Broomfield's Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer. It's a far more gripping documentary than Broomfield's 1992 Wuornos film -- and not just because it offers a richer chance to compare her trailer-park-witch mannerisms to Charlize Theron's scarily exact portrayal of her in ''Monster.''
On the eve of Wuornos' 2002 execution, Broomfield digs deep into her abusive hell of a background (beatings, incest, sleeping homeless in the frozen Michigan woods) as well as her quasi-psychotic defense mechanisms. Wuornos blames the cops for her killing spree, but when she thinks that the camera is off, she tells Broomfield she believes it was self-defense -- a confession of raging delusion, since it was her life of demons that she was ''defending'' herself against. As intense as Theron's performance is, Aileen makes the monster of ''Monster'' look like a pussycat.