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Killer: A Journal of Murder (1995)

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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 »



(book) (as Thomas Gaddis), (book) | 1 more credit »
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »





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


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


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 »




Release Date:

6 September 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Killer  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$31,993, 8 September 1996, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$65,682, 15 September 1996
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Ed Harris, William Hurt and John Malkovich were considered for the role of Carl Panzram. See more »


The amount of beer in Henry Lesser's glass at the speakeasy. See more »


Carl Panzram: I don't want to be alive. I want out of these clothes. I want out of this body. I want out of this world.
See more »


Music & lyrics by Bill Elliott
Performed by Bill Elliott & His Orchestra
Sung by Nicole Sill
Courtesy of Windswept Pacific Entertainment Co.
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User Reviews

If only Panzram could've gotten his hands on the guys making this film!
21 July 2005 | by See all my reviews

Carl Panzram lived an amazing life and scribbled down his memoirs on scraps of paper for possibly the only person who ever did anything selfless for him. The book "Panzram: A Journal of Murder" by Thomas E. Gaddis and James O. Long, which came out the better part of a century after Panzram's death, gives the historical context to a first-generation American's account of running away from home to go west and be a cowboy, getting caught, thrown in the boy's home, getting away repeatedly and thrown into prison over and over all the time getting tortured and sodomized. As Panzram grew huge and strong, he sought to take revenge for the wrong done to him as he traveled to South America, Europe and Africa, and it didn't matter what people he raped, robbed, or murdered because we are all equally worthless.

This film casts skinny James Woods as the rough neck, mean-ass, son of a bitch Carl Panzram who in the film is a "drunk", overly-dramatic and emotional, and who never mentions the joy of sodomizing men and boys. The film neither elaborates on anything else particularly of note about this world traveler and career prisoner (like robbing former President Taft or being released from the Oregon prison as long as he gave his word to return). In short, I don't think Carl would be too happy.

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