Chicago Horror Film Festival


“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 of these things I am not the least bit sorry. I have no conscience so that does not worry me. I don’t believe in man, God nor Devil. I hate the whole damned human race including myself.” ~ Carl Panzram

Carl Panzram was a lifelong prisoner and a hate-filled serial killer. Brutalized in and out of various U.S. state prisons during 20th century America, Panzram unleashed a rampage of revenge that resulted in over 20 murders and countless acts of violent sodomy. A single act of kindness, by prison guard Henry Lesser, sparked a friendship that eventually influenced Panzram to write his autobiography. In 1930, Panzram was hanged for killing a laundry foreman at Leavenworth prison.

Even though Panzram's heart was filled with hatred, his life was changed dramatically when he was treated with kindness by several people working in prisons, proving that not all human beings are bad people.

The history of Panzram’s papers are traced as well as Lesser’s arduous forty years of attempting to find publication, finally being published in 1970 in a book entitled Killer: A Journal of Murder. Through interviews with the Special Collections department of the University which holds the actual Panzram handwritten pages, we learn about the history of how the pages became donated to the University by Henry Lesser.

Dr. Gitchoff, Emeritus Professor of the University relates how he invited Lesser to speak at the University and eventually convinced Lesser to donate the Panzram papers.

Weaved throughout the expert interviews is Carl Panzram’s autobiography tracing his abuse as a child in an orphanage, rape by hobos while train hopping as a young man, and a recollection of a life of extreme torture and corporal punishment including a detailed list of the various torture methods utilized in various U.S state prisons.

Utilizing Panzram’s actual autobiographical pages and Lesser’s recollections and letters as blueprints, Panzram, is a feature documentary film which retells the true story of Panzram’s torturous life as told through his own words.


A Feature Documentary Film From Writer/Director John Borowski

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