Films: H.H. Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer (2003)

Among the cheapie slasher flicks and B movies, there’s a terrifying true story. Tonight’s movie is “H.H. Holmes: America’s first serial killer.”


The story: God, where to even begin. H.H. Holmes spends his life cheating creditors, marrying women without divorcing the previous wife, and killing somewhere between nine and two hundred people.

I have a love-hate relationship with true crime stories. I love them right up until I can’t take the darker side of humanity anymore, and then I need to watch “The Emperor’s New Groove” again to find a little joy in the world.

Being a fan of this sort of thing, I’d heard the story of H.H. Holmes before, though this documentary goes more into the details of the crime that finally brought him down than any other telling I’d heard before. If I were still a literary-criticism type of person, tracing fictional media inspired by H.H. Holmes might make an interesting study. (I’m betting “Saw” would be on the list.)

Is it scary? Yes. This was a real person. He did unimaginable things to an unknowable number of people. And he was only the first.

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