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Killer: A Journal of Murder (1995)

6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 1,583 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 15 critic

Carl Panzram is sent to Leavenworth Prison for burglary. While there, he is brutally beaten by a guard. Neophyte guard Henry Lesser feels sympathy for Panzram, befriends him, and gets him ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Carl Panzram
...
Henry Lesser
...
Elizabeth Wyatt
...
Esther Lesser
...
R.G. Greiser
...
Warden Quince
...
Old Henry Lesser
...
Dr. Karl Menninger
...
Sam Lesser
Conrad McLaren ...
Judge John W. Kingman
...
Warden Charles Casey
...
Cop
Christopher Petrosino ...
Richard Lesser
Michael Jeffrey Woods ...
Harry Sinclair (as Michael Jeffery Woods)
Rob Locke Jones ...
Junkie
Edit

Storyline

Carl Panzram is sent to Leavenworth Prison for burglary. While there, he is brutally beaten by a guard. Neophyte guard Henry Lesser feels sympathy for Panzram, befriends him, and gets him to write his life story. Lesser learns that Panzram's past is much more violent than he thought, but also that he's capable of being a much better person than the rest of the prison staff believes - or so Lesser thinks. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Liar. Thief. Murderer. He hated all of humanity, himself most of all.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language and strong, brutal violence, including a rape | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 September 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Killer  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$31,993 (USA) (6 September 1996)

Gross:

$65,682 (USA) (13 September 1996)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based on the true story of serial killer Carl Panzram who was hanged at Leavenworth in 1930. See more »

Goofs

When Carl Panzram begins narrating the beginning of his journal the text shown doesn't match the narrative. The text states that Panzram is a liar, a degenerate, and a murderer, while the voice over immediately jumps into his early childhood and upbringing. See more »

Quotes

Carl Panzram: Hey chicken ass, good day for a hanging, huh?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Tomorrow by Midnight (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

WILDWOOD
Music by Bill Elliott
Courtesy of Windswept Pacific Entertainment Co.
See more »

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User Reviews

Doesn't live up to its potential
23 May 1999 | by (Corpus Christi, Texas) – See all my reviews

Don't get me wrong; this movie is worth at least one viewing. James Woods - as usual - is great in his performance, and the supporting cast is good, too.

Killer: A Journal of Murder is based on Thomas Gaddis' and James O. Long's fascinating 1970 book of the same name. It contains many of the letters Panzram wrote to Henry Lesser (who was a Washington, D.C. jail guard, not a prison guard at Leavenworth) while he was on death row in Leavenworth.

While it is a common practice for films to take artistic liberties when dealing with true stories, this film went a bit far in trying to make Carl Panzram (Woods) into a sympathetic character. True, Carl Panzram was the product of a barbaric prison system, but he stands out in history as one of the few arch-criminals who did not want sympathy, something this film ignores.

This was a film that needed to be made, but unfortunately, the story was mishandled in a maudlin attempt to get the viewer to care about one of the most reprehensible human beings who ever lived. If they had wanted to make a biographical film to convey their particular message, the people responsible for this movie should have made a film about Caryl Chessman, a criminal more eloquent, tragic and - most importantly - far more sympathetic than Carl Panzram.


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