IMDb > H.H. Holmes: America's First Serial Killer (2004)

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John Borowski (writer)
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The Castle. The Murders. The Monster.
Torture chambers, acid vats, greased chutes and gassing rooms were just some of the devices of death designed by the Torture Doctor, H.H. Holmes in his castle of horrors. Follows Holmes' entire life as a criminal mastermind. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
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Could have been better See more (11 total) »


  (in credits order)

Tony Jay ... Narrator (voice)
Harold Schechter ... Himself - Author 'Depraved'
Thomas Cronin ... Himself - Criminal Profiler
Marian Caporusso ... Herself - Programs Section Chief - Illinois State Police Forensic Science Center
Ed Bertagnoli ... Chicago Police Officer
Cary Callison ... Chicago Detective

Willy Laszlo ... H.H. Holmes
Rachelle Villarreal ... Alice Pitezel
Audrey Welling ... Castle Victim
Beka ... Carrie Pitezel (voice)
Tom Ciappa ... (voice)
Sarah Mills ... (voice)

Directed by
John Borowski 
Writing credits
John Borowski (writer)

Produced by
John Borowski .... producer
Dimas Estrada .... associate producer
Original Music by
Douglas Romayne  (as Douglas Romayne Stevens)
Cinematography by
John Borowski 
Frey Hoffman 
Film Editing by
John Borowski 
Art Department
Rick Geary .... castle floorplans
Roland Gibbs .... set constructor
Sound Department
James Cohen .... boom operator
Chris Combs .... boom operator
Darin Heinis .... sound re-recording mixer
John Murray .... sound designer
John Murray .... sound editor
Terry Schilling .... sound recordist
Music Department
Ken Melville .... music executive producer
Other crew
John Borowski .... researcher
Andrew Cinquino .... production assistant
Jennie Cisna .... researcher
Eric Richter .... production assistant
Jim Andre .... special thanks
Lorraine Borowski .... special thanks
J. Christopher Combs .... in memory of
Jamie Cortino .... special thanks
Angela DiCosola .... special thanks
Anthony DiCosola .... special thanks
Darin Heinis .... special thanks
Jacob Henry Mansion .... special thanks
Kazutosi Miyamoto .... special thanks (as Kazutosi Miyamoto M.D.)
Beverly Nemetz .... special thanks
Michael Nemetz .... special thanks
Mitch Norinsky .... special thanks
Ron Norinsky .... special thanks
Janice Sawyer .... special thanks
Dale Anthony Tremaine .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

USA:64 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Filming Locations:


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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
Could have been better, 25 June 2013
Author: Der_Schnibbler from Germany

Despite being America's "first" (or at least first known) serial killer, H.H. Holmes doesn't ring a bell the way the names of other well-known sociopaths' do. So there isn't too much to go on, and this documentary, I suppose, is all we're going to have for a while as far as film sources go.

I cannot judge how factual or historically accurate the documentary was, it being my first exposure to this man, but there are a few comments I'd like to make on it purely as a documentary.

Firstly, the narrator is the best part. Great voice. The score is also good. Pictures and newspaper headlines are used very well. The narrated excerpts from Holmes' own writing succeed in bringing this creature to life.

What distracted heavily were two things.

Firstly, the unnamed (or perhaps I missed his name) guy sitting in the room with the too-bright background (in comparison to the shots from which his scenes would cut) who always ended his sentences with a rising inflection? Do you have any earthly idea how irritating and distracting that is? It nearly makes you want to pull your hair out?

The second was the so-called criminal or forensic psychologist or whatever ludicrous title they chose to give him. A round-faced, over- excited, bug-eyed little man who, instead of giving us authoritative, factual, and insightful commentary on Holmes' character, acts more like a two-bit talk show host. Get this MORON out of there. Why in the world would the director, who certainly spent no small amount of time and money on this documentary, intentionally mar it with this nincompoop?

Sometimes scenes would cut from the first guy mentioned above (maybe it was the director himself) to the clown guy, and it would just make you insane.

I never understand why people who put in sweat and money into making a film would not have the sense to at least avoid such glaringly obvious errors. Did no one think to tell that dude, "STOP ending every sentence like it's a god damned QUESTION!"? Did no one think, "No, better not hire some weirdo charlatan type who claims to be a forensic expert. We can certainly find a knowledgeable person who will lend insight and capture viewers' interest." Why did no one think of this? Why? What a shame.

Special mention is due for the unnamed lady who all too briefly appeared once or twice and professionally, intelligently gave us great information on police and forensic techniques of the late 19th century. It should have been her instead of that clownish dolt.

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