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

      2003 1h 4m Documentary List
      75% Tomatometer 8 Reviews 44% Audience Score 1,000+ Ratings This chilling documentary follows the macabre exploits of 19th-century serial killer Herman Webster Mudgett, who went by the alias of Dr. Henry Howard Holmes. A remarkably effective con artist and liar, Holmes managed to construct a massive building in Chicago where he operated a labyrinthine hotel for his intended victims. The film features footage of key locations in the life of Holmes, as well as interviews with experts and dramatic reenactments. Read More Read Less

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

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      Critics Reviews

      View All (8) Critics Reviews
      Film Threat Rated: 3.5/5 Dec 6, 2005 Full Review Gabe Leibowitz Film and Felt Alternately fascinating and dopey. Rated: 42/100 Dec 18, 2004 Full Review Dennis Schwartz Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews Should be especially pleasing to crime buffs and those movie fans crazy about the serial-killer genre. Rated: A Dec 9, 2004 Full Review Christopher Null Filmcritic.com more of a curiosity for the interested than a lasting commentary on the criminal mind Rated: 3/5 Nov 24, 2004 Full Review Pablo Villaça Cinema em Cena [Director] John Borowski lends an eerie atmosphere to the proceedings. Rated: 3/5 Nov 18, 2004 Full Review James O'Ehley Movie Gurus A rather neat, independently-produced documentary about H.H. Holmes, America's first serial killer (don't ya just love descriptive movie titles?) Rated: 3/5 Nov 5, 2004 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      Audience Member A fantastic documentary into the details (that we know of anyways) of the monster and his crimes and swindles Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/28/23 Full Review Audience Member DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME. It felt like I was back in school listening to a boring lecture from which nothing of value could be gleaned. The "re-enactments" were horrendous. Did not match the time period at all. The visuals made no sense at all, in fact there was a loop of old footage that went on for what seemed like an eternity. This documentary was a travesty and the filmmakers should be ashamed that they put out such dull crap when they had such good material to work with. Honestly this looks like a middle school project. I fell asleep halfway through because it was so boring. I really don't understand why anyone would give this a high rating, especially when there are docs a bajillion times better. What a waste. Rated 1 out of 5 stars 01/30/23 Full Review Audience Member H.H. Holmes was not America’s first serial killer. The first American serial killer roamed the streets of Austin, Texas. Do your homework before presenting documentaries. Rated 0.5 out of 5 stars 02/06/18 Full Review Audience Member The justification that Dr. H. H. Holmes gave when he was asked why he did what he did, including the murder of his friend and accomplice, was, "I was born with the devil in me. I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than the poet can help the inspiration to sing...I was born with the evil one standing as my sponsor beside the bed where I was ushered into the world, and he has been with me since." However, I am not here to talk about what Holmes did and how ethical or unethical it was, but rather to review the documentary I watched that told the story of his life and workings. It is not one that everyone would find too interesting but it does give a detailed description of how Holmes (born Herman Mudgett) spent his rather short life, living to be the age of thirty-four and executed only eight days before his birthday. This documentary gave an incredible insight into the life and mind of the late Dr. Holmes (though it did not introduce everything) and showed quite well how exactly he accomplished his work up until the day he was executed. Though it was a documentary, I personally thought that it was missing something. Yes, there were those who knew exactly what they spoke of and they used that knowledge to the best of their abilities to paint a better picture for those listening and or watching but that did not seem to be enough. Even throughout the film, I was seemingly left with more questions than answers as to how and why such things happened. However, there is not really any way to get the answers that I desire as the man in question, the one this documentary is about, is no longer with us in anything but thought and writing. The autobiography that Dr. Holmes wrote in his final days also helped to shed some light on the subject but it still did not tell all. There seemed to be a few things missing from the film about his life in general that may have been deemed unimportant by some but could also have helped to pinpoint the part when his life turned around. I believe that there could have been more mention to his early life and how that affected him later on instead of just there being information on his later years and his overall time in the city of Chicago, Illinois. This film, H. H. Holmes: America's first Serial Killer, brought to light a new aspect of the life of someone that has fascinated many in the times following his deeds. I certainly can believe that I am not the only one who feels that this was a film worth seeing, despite its faults. Even though I did not get everything that I had wanted from this, I still enjoyed myself as I watched it and thought that it was quite informative from the beginning of his life until the end of it. The 2004 documentary of the life of Herman Webster Mudgett, alias Henry Howard Holmes or Dr. H. H. Holmes, tells much of what inspired the serial killers of the modern world and how he showed the world and the United States in general that no one is truly safe from anyone that may potentially follow in his footsteps. Through this and the book which Mudgett wrote, the world will now be better prepared in the case that someone will be bold enough to attempt to recreate the works of the infamous Dr. Holmes. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/25/23 Full Review Audience Member Interesting to hear the facts of such a prolific killer who designed his own building for killing. Shame it's so shoddily done. Someone should do a great dramatisation because it is gripping. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/01/23 Full Review Audience Member A very interesting look into America's first serial killer, H.H. Holmes (wow that's a lot of H's). If you have Netflix, I'd suggest giving this a watch. It's a creepy retrospective on a man who was pure evil, though it's more of a fun little film for the curious rather than a solid look into the man's psyche. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/25/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

      Movie Info

      Synopsis This chilling documentary follows the macabre exploits of 19th-century serial killer Herman Webster Mudgett, who went by the alias of Dr. Henry Howard Holmes. A remarkably effective con artist and liar, Holmes managed to construct a massive building in Chicago where he operated a labyrinthine hotel for his intended victims. The film features footage of key locations in the life of Holmes, as well as interviews with experts and dramatic reenactments.
      Director
      John Borowski
      Producer
      John Borowski
      Screenwriter
      John Borowski
      Production Co
      Waterfront Productions [us]
      Genre
      Documentary
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Nov 30, 2016
      Runtime
      1h 4m
      Sound Mix
      Dolby Digital
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