H.H. Holmes: America's First Serial Killer

H.H. Holmes: America's First Serial Killer

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Director: John Borowski

Cast: John Borowski, Tony Jay

     
 

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Luridly touted on the cover of its DVD release as "The ultimate horror story," filmmaker John Borowski's detailed account of the man who may be history's least-known serial killer does not disappoint when it comes to gruesome details. From torture chambers to quicklime pits to a massive building specifically designed to torment his victims, H.H. Holmes' infamous

Overview

Luridly touted on the cover of its DVD release as "The ultimate horror story," filmmaker John Borowski's detailed account of the man who may be history's least-known serial killer does not disappoint when it comes to gruesome details. From torture chambers to quicklime pits to a massive building specifically designed to torment his victims, H.H. Holmes' infamous Englewood "Murder Castle" was a place of pure terror run by a true-life monster. Now, thanks to Facets Video, true-crime buffs get a detailed account of H.H. Holmes' unrelenting reign of torture and debauchery in this unforgettable documentary. Presented in 1.33:1 full-frame, the stable transfer shows little signs of digital artifacting in the largely black-and-white features, though there is some notable pixilation in the interview segments. Borowski's use of elaborate audio makes good use of the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio design in the many scenes that take place in Holmes' ghastly house of horrors, with narrator Tony Jay's unmistakable deep voice lending an especially bold and menacing feel to the dark tale. Though one may not expect Facets to allow such a relatively obscure documentary such a wide variety of bonus materials, the variety of extras found on this disc are both satisfying and informative. In a 20-minute making-of segment, the director stages numerous reenactments for the film and travels the country to find out more about the little-known madman. In a detailed director's commentary track, Borowski elaborates even further despite his lamentations over the current lack of detailed information in the Holmes case, and he also discusses the impact that the case would have on future trials. And take a look at Holmes' childhood home and other important locations in "The Story Continues..." before learning more about phrenology in the outtakes segment. After watching trailers and perusing some impressive poster designs, wind things up by reading a biography for director Borowski. H.H. Holmes: America's First Serial Killer is an ideal addition to the home-video collection of any dedicated true-crime fan.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/26/2004
UPC:
0616892596325
Original Release:
2004
Rating:
NR
Source:
Waterfront Prod
Region Code:
0
Time:
1:04:00

Special Features

20-minute making-of; Outtakes; Trailers; Poster designs; "The Story Continues..."; Bios; Commentary with filmmaker John Borowski; 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital surround sound

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Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Opening [2:37]
2. Gilmanton [2:39]
3. University [3:11]
4. Chicago [3:30]
5. The Castle [6:17]
6. Pitezel [2:51]
7. World's Fair [3:20]
8. Women [2:21]
9. Scam [4:59]
10. Philadelphia [5:42]
11. Running [2:51]
12. Moyamensing [1:58]
13. Children [1:08]
14. Evidence [2:37]
15. Archfiend [1:35]
16. Writing [1:58]
17. Trial [1:51]
18. Carrie [1:20]
19. Crying [1:36]
20. Verdict [1:40]
21. Confession [3:57]
22. Gallows [2:07]
23. Holy Cross [1:03]
24. End Credits [1:09]

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H.H. Holmes: America's First Serial Killer 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best documentary about a Serial Killer that I have ever seen! The director blends live action, special effects, interviews, and an excellent audio track in a way that makes other 'mainstream' film makers look like amateurs. A must have at any price!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The HH Holmes Documentary is very well produced and very interesting. Not a lot is written about Dr. Holmes, I know him through the Macabre song. He was a twisted dude, for sure...but very professional in his appearance, the kind of guy that you would never think of doing the horrific, unspeakable things that he done. The overall atmosphere of the film sets the mood for the time of the story...I really like the way John Borowski done this film. I was kind of expecting something sort of low-budget, however it's very well produced. I am very much looking forward to the Albert Fish film that he is working on and would highly recommend this film to anyone who has an interest in serial killers or the criminal mind.