LIBRARY JOURNAL MAGAZINE
America's first documented serial killer was born Herman W. Mudgett in 1861. Graduating from the University of Michigan's medical school, Mudgett grew to love working with corpses and honed his skills in chemistry and anatomy. Upon graduation, he changed his name to H.H. Holmes, moved to Chicago, and began a career in fraud, poison, and murder. Six murders are linked positively to Holmes, and he is suspected in at least 50 more. He is best known for the random murders of visitors to the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. The venue was a horror house of his own design, featuring maze-like corridors, secret panels, and a slide ending in a fully equipped torture chamber in the basement. The film features stills, drawings, and newspaper clippings from contemporary sources as well as reenactments.
Director/writer Borowski uses dramatic lighting and camera angles combined
with an eerie soundtrack to produce a documentary that is both dark and compelling.
Not rated, the film keeps its focus on the story without resorting to exploitation,
gore, or special effects. Special features on the DVD include a "Making
of" featurette, outtakes. trailers, poster designs, biographies, and director's
commentary. Highly recommended for general audiences.
- Karen A. Plummer, University of Akron Library
Library Journal Magazine
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