7.1/10
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The Young Poisoner's Handbook (1995)

This film is based on a true story about a British teenager who allegedly poisoned family, friends, and co-workers. Graham is highly intelligent, but completely amoral. He becomes ... See full summary »

Director:

Benjamin Ross
Reviews
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tobias Arnold Tobias Arnold ... Young Graham
Ruth Sheen ... Molly
Roger Lloyd Pack ... Fred
Hugh O'Conor ... Graham Young
Norman Caro Norman Caro ... Mr. Goez
Dorothea Alexander Dorothea Alexander ... Mrs. Goez
Charlotte Coleman ... Winnie
Paul Stacey Paul Stacey ... Dennis
Samantha Edmonds Samantha Edmonds ... Sue
Robert Demeger Robert Demeger ... Mr. Dexter
Jack Deam ... Mick
Peter Pacey ... Dickie Boone
Joost Siedhoff Joost Siedhoff ... Dr. Scott
Vilma Hollingbery Vilma Hollingbery ... Aunty Panty
Frank Mills ... Uncle Jack
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Storyline

This film is based on a true story about a British teenager who allegedly poisoned family, friends, and co-workers. Graham is highly intelligent, but completely amoral. He becomes interested in science, especially chemistry, and begins to read avidly. Something of a social misfit, he is fascinated by morbid subjects such as poisons and murder. His family environment is intolerable to him and, in particular, his stepmother torments him. He decides to poison those who annoy him, first with antimony and later with thallium. He smugly thinks himself cleverer than all those around him, but nevertheless he is caught and sentenced to 'rehabilitation' at a psychiatric institution. Once there, he undertakes to deceive the new eminent psychiatrist sent there to 'cure' him, thereby securing his release. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Meet Graham. He's not your ordinary teenager. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for murders by poisoning, language and some nude photos | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Germany | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 February 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Handbuch des jungen Giftmischers See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$536,825

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$536,825
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie does take some liberties: an example is that Young did not kill his Stepmother in real life - indeed he was close and devoted to her as she had a terminal illness. However, due to his sociopathic behavior, the film seems to explore the possibility he had a hand in her death. See more »

Goofs

When Dr. Zeigler visits the institution for mentally unstable criminals in which Graham is hospitalized, the director of the institution says, referred to another patient: "Vulpes pilum mutat, non mores", saying it means "The leopard never changes his spots". Graham corrects him, saying it means instead: "The wolf changes its fur, but not its nature". Actually, "vulpes" means "fox". See more »

Quotes

Molly: He's my little Louis Pasteur.
See more »


Soundtracks

Nut Rocker
Composed by Kim Fowley
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User Reviews

The best thing since "A Clockwork Orange"
29 June 2001 | by Slice of LIfeSee all my reviews

I don't know what to make of it, honestly. When I first saw it (on late night, and I stayed up till three AM watching it), I thought it was a little like "A Clockwork Orange".

Graham Young (Hugh O'Conor) I found an odd mixture of three parts: curiosity (what leads him to poisoning), clinical detachment (as he watches the results), and a longing to belong (when he tries to be normal -and fails miserably).

First he silently threatens everyone with a gruesome retaliation for the slightest things, and then charts their decline with frightful accuracy as they get sicker and sicker. After that, he retreats into his den again until something better comes along. And then he gets caught.

Then there's that uproarious scene when he's out with a girl, and he tries to get her in a conversation on disembowelment. You can almost see her turn green as he gets into stride. To him, it's an innocent thing; something he likes. For her (and for us, the audience), it's...sick.

I thought that the rehabilitation sequence was a farce. It's as ludicrous as the rest of this quirky gem of a movie, with great performances by all the actors, particularly Hugh O'Conor. He says more with his eyes than most could with their lips.

I mean, the movie is funny (not ha ha funny, though), dripping with corrosive irony. Young is all at once twisted and innocent, torn between conforming and that endless fascination with poison. The comparisons between this and "Clockwork" are almost inevitable, but unlike Kubrick's thriller, this one has a more subtle, menacing tone, for the mind rather than for the eye. It's not a laugh-out-loud film, though it's undeniably hilarious. Whatever you feel, it's kept inside.

If you're one with a sensitive stomach, suicidal tendencies, strange addictions, goody-goodies/puritans, then stay away. Otherwise, WATCH THIS FILM!


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