Killer: A Journal Of Murder

  • 1997
  • Movie
  • R
  • Crime, Docudrama, Prison

You can't fault it for sincerity and desensationalization of its lurid subject matter, but you find yourself asking why a filmmaker as stubbornly sober as Tim Metcalfe ever wanted to make a film about pioneering serial murderer Carl Panzram (James Woods), who was executed in 1929. Panzram, a drifter, lifelong petty criminal and eventually an unregenerate...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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You can't fault it for sincerity and desensationalization of its lurid subject matter, but you find yourself asking why a filmmaker as stubbornly sober as Tim Metcalfe ever wanted to make a film about pioneering serial murderer Carl Panzram (James

Woods), who was executed in 1929. Panzram, a drifter, lifelong petty criminal and eventually an unregenerate killer, bought himself some small measure of enduring notoriety with his eloquently hostile declaration that he wished the whole world had one neck and that he had his hands around it.

Metcalfe based his film on Panzram's own journals, which were shepherded to publication by a sympathetic guard named Henry Lesser (Robert Sean Leonard), who met Panzram during his final incarceration. The result is part social studies lesson, part prison reform diatribe and part all-too-familiar

character study, all done in the dreary style of public television docudramas. Even Woods, who's seldom less than electrifying, can't bring the misbegotten concoction to life.

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  • Released: 1997
  • Rating: R
  • Review: You can't fault it for sincerity and desensationalization of its lurid subject matter, but you find yourself asking why a filmmaker as stubbornly sober as Tim Metcalfe ever wanted to make a film about pioneering serial murderer Carl Panzram (James Woods),… (more)

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