Among the other films in the “Ripped From the Headlines” series on Lifetime are Dirty Little Secret, Suitcase Killer, and He’s Not Worth Dying For, with Girl in the Basement being one of them.
Girl in the Basement depicts the harrowing tale of a little girl named Sara who is held captive by her father, Don, in the family basement. Filmed as part of Lifetime’s Ripped From the Headlines series, it was directed by Elisabeth Röhm, who is better known for her acting performances as Serena Southerlyn on Law & Order.
Roehm told The Wrap, “Lifetime has broken boundaries with this movie by telling a story that’s a call to action about abuse on a very significant level.” The film is challenging to watch and involves painful subject matter. Is the movie based on a true story?
Who is the Girl in the Basement Based on?
Based on the true story of Elisabeth Fritzl, who was held captive and tormented by her father Josef in the basement of their home in Amstetten, Austria from 1984 until 2008, comes the film Girl in the Basement.
Twenty-four years ago, Josef led Elisabeth into the basement, knocked her out with an ether-soaked rag, and then imprisoned her in the cellar. It got so bad that Josef made Elisabeth compose a letter to her mother, Rosemarie, in which he falsely claimed that Elisabeth had not only fled their village but also didn’t want to be located.
Elisabeth’s father, Josef, began sexually abusing her practically daily beginning in 1984, and the couple had their first child in 1988. Aside from Josef, many other real-life criminals also used underground or soundproof locations to conceal their misdeeds from the public eye and authorities.
Seven children were born to Elisabeth, but a renter who lived on the first floor for 12 years had no idea. Only three survived birth; they were all held captive by Josef and tortured along with Elisabeth. Josef used the incinerator to get rid of the body.
While Josef successfully tricked Rosemarie and the social workers into believing that their three grandchildren had been abandoned by Elisabeth. Josef even made Elisabeth and her three kidnapped children dig with their bare hands in 1994 so that he could make more room for them in the prison.
Don is a reasonably accurate picture of the twisted and manipulative Josef, and though Girl in the Basement gives a little softer version of this true incident, the movie avoids the frequent problem of being sympathetic to the offender. In April of 2008, Josef Fritzl was arrested after agreeing to take Elisabeth’s ailing first child to the hospital.
How Josef Took Elizabeth to Basement?
In 1984, Josef Fritzl asked Elisabeth for help rehanging a door in the basement of their Austrian home. Elisabeth, not knowing his motives or the direction her life would take after this, went downstairs to assist her father. A little piece of ether-soaked cloth was placed over her mouth and nose just as she was ready to exit the building.
To Elisabeth’s knowledge, she had no idea that her father was plotting to have her imprisoned as a sex slave. For a long time prior to the late 1970s, Josef Fritzl had been preparing to construct an underground prison cell and had even gotten formal approval from the municipal authorities.
Josef was able to easily acquire the necessary permits because nuclear bunkers in the basement of homes were the standard during the cold war.
In fact, Josef received a grant from the city council in the amount of 2,000 pounds to help with the construction expenses. There was a sequence of doors that had to be unlocked before he could bring Elisabeth down to the cellar.
Where is Elisabeth Fritzl Residing Now?
Elisabeth was 18 years old when she was incarcerated, and she was 42 years old when she escaped in 2008. She had to rush to the hospital with the first of her six kids. Thus, Elisabeth’s father gave his consent for her to bring the baby to the hospital. After being in darkness for 24 years, she finally saw daylight.
Josef swiftly took her back to the basement, but not before leaving a suspicious note that alerted the medical staff and ultimately brought the police to the residence.
Then they found her and saved her. Meaww claims that she and her children were taken into state custody and relocated to a small town in northern Austria, where they have been receiving therapy. After hearing about all of their collective trauma, psychologists initially recommended ongoing treatment.
The previous name Elisabeth was changed, and a new one was given to her. She supposedly keeps her home full of light and bright colours to prevent herself or her kids from dwelling on the past.
The ages of her kids are currently 17-35. Only two of the six kids had a more difficult time getting over their extreme anxiety and panic attacks. The old lifestyle required them to remain on mood-altering medicines, exercise, and nutrition regimens throughout the rehabilitation process.
Elisabeth and her mother Rosemarie Fritzl reportedly had a rocky upbringing but are now closer than ever. Josef Fritzl, who has been given a life sentence and is said to be suffering from dementia, is currently housed in Garsten Abbey. To preserve his privacy in his later years, he decided to adopt the surname Mayrhoff.