Virgil Films & Entertainment has tabbed May 14 as the DVD release date for director John Borowski’s award-winning docu-drama, Carl Panzram: The Spirit of Hatred and Vengeance.
Back in 1928, while being held for burglary in the Washington D.C. area, one of the prison guards (Henry Lesser — portrayed by David Weiss) befriended inmate Carl (aka: Charles) Panzram (portrayed by Tom Lodewyck), who agreed to put his life of crime to paper. Some 40,000 words later the portrait of a monster was painted in detail.
During his rambling chronicle of seemingly endless crimes (burglaries, armed robberies, arson and petty hustles) and numerous stints in prison (often brutalized) he also confessed to raping and murdering 21 human beings, including several young boys. A number of the murders were confirmed … others lost to the fog of time.
As a result, Panzram was given what amounted to a life sentence at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary, where he promptly killed a fellow prisoner and was subsequently hanged.
Borowski uses the time he spent with Lesser to jump back and forth in time to show the progression of Panzram’s criminal rage, mixing in reenactments of incidents detailed in Panzram’s writings with vintage filmed interviews of individuals familiar with the real-life monster.
The result is an effective “horror” tale that is both riveting to watch (the documartary-like approach certainly holds the viewer’s interest) and terrifying in a nightmarish way; unique in its telling; mesmerizing.
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