SynopsisA lifelong criminal and serial killer, Carl Panzram befriends Henry Lesser, a young jail guard at the Washington DC jail in 1928. After hearing of Panzram's torture, Lesser sends Panzram one dollar and convinces the killer to write his autobiography while secretly supplying him with pencil and paper. Panzram writes over 40,000 words documenting his entire life of incarceration, torture, rape, and murder.
Included is footage of Panzram's handwritten papers, Leavenworth Penitentiary, Clinton Prison and Red Wing Youth Correctional Facility, and an exclusive interview with Panzram's jail guard Henry Lesser. John DiMaggio provides the voice of Carl Panzram.
Panzram is the third feature film by producer/writer/director John Borowski.
2012 Director's Choice Award - Chicago Horror Film Festival
Carl's Short Bio.
Carl Panzram (June 28, 1891 – September 5, 1930) was an American serial killer, rapist, arsonist and burglar. He is known for his confession to his only friend, prison guard Henry Lesser. Panzram confessed to 22 murders, and to having sodomized over 1,000 males. Imprisoned a number of times, he was finally hanged for having murdered a prison employee at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in 1930.
In 1928, Panzram was arrested for burglary and held in Washington, D.C. During his interrogation and incarceration, he voluntarily confessed to killing two boys. At this time, he was befriended by a prison guard named Henry Lesser (1902–1983). Lesser gave Panzram some writing materials which the prisoner used to write his autobiography, detailing his crimes and his nihilistic philosophy:
“ In my lifetime I have murdered 21 human beings, I have committed thousands of burglaries, robberies, larcenies, arsons and, last but not least, I have committed sodomy on more than 1,000 male human beings. For all these things I am not in the least bit sorry"
Henry Lesser pressed for the manuscript to remain unpublished for forty years, and it was finally released in 1970 as Killer: A Journal of Murder. It has gone through a number of reprints, the latest being in 2002. The 1996 movie Killer: A Journal Of Murder was based on Panzram's final years, with James Woods as Panzram and Robert Sean Leonard as Lesser. Lesser donated the Carl Panzram papers (archival material) to San Diego State University in 1980, where they are housed in the Malcolm A. Love Library. In 2012, filmmaker John Borowski released the documentary film Carl Panzram: The Spirit of Hatred and Vengeance.
"I don't believe in man, God nor Devil. I hate the whole damned human race, including myself. I preyed upon the weak, the harmless and the unsuspecting. This lesson I was taught by others: Might makes right."
Carl Panzram (1891–1930)
In light of his extensive criminal record, he was handed a 25-year sentence which was to be served at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. "I'll kill the first man that bothers me," Panzram told the warden. Because he was considered psychotic, he was given a solitary job in the prison laundry room. Then on June 20, 1929 he killed Robert Warnke, foreman of the prison laundry in Leavenworth, by battering him to death with an iron bar. Panzram was sentenced to death and he refused to appeal his sentence, even threatening to kill human rights activists who attempted to intervene on his behalf.
Panzram was hanged on September 5, 1930. While the noose was being put around his neck, he allegedly spat in his executioner's face and declared, "I wish the entire human race had one neck, and I had my hands around it!" When asked by the executioner if he had any last words, Panzram barked, "Yes, hurry it up, you Hoosier bastard! I could hang a dozen men while you're screwing around!"
He was buried at the Leavenworth Penitentiary Cemetery.
In 1922, when he was held prisoner at the Washington, D.C., city jail, detectives questioned Panzram about McMahon's murder in Salem, Massachusetts. One of the interrogators asked him what was the point of killing a helpless child. Panzram looked up with the cold, dead eyes of a feeding shark.
"I hate all the f***ing human race," he said, "I get a kick out of murdering people."
It could have been his epitaph.