Carl Panzram: The Spirit of Hatred and Vengeance (2012) Movie Review

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2012 | Horror, Drama, Crime, Documentary, Biography
81 minutes /

User Score: 50/100

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Carl Panzram: The Spirit of Hatred and Vengeance Review


The true story of lifelong criminal and serial killer, Carl Panzram who wrote his autobiography for a jail guard in 1928.

Carl Panzram: The Spirit of Hatred and Vengeance (2012) is an American horror documentary/biography that contains drama and crime. Director, producer and editor John Borowski (H.H. Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer (2004), Serial Killer Culture (2014), Albert Fish: In Sin He Found Salvation (2007)) did an excellent job filming this movie in Chicago, Illinois, USA and Los Angeles, California, USA. The film contains serial killer, prison, male rape, torture, child rape, sodomy, sociopath and a gripping story. The movie documentary received my undivided attention after hearing Carl saying “In my lifetime I have killed 21 human beings. I have committed thousands of burglaries, robberies, larcenies, arsons, and last, but not least I have committed sodomy on more than 1000 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 or devil. I hate the whole human race, including myself… I am Carl Panzram”. I was in a wow moment and shocked out of my mind at what I just heard.

Carl Panzram: The Spirit of Hatred and Vengeance tells the true story of lifelong criminal/serial killer/rapist, Carl Panzram. John DiMaggio (Adventure Time (2010), Futurama (1999), Princess Mononoke (1997), Wreck-It Ralph (2012)) did the voice of Carl Panzram. Carl wrote his autobiography in 1928 for a jail guard. The movie analyzes the life of Carl Panzram, who was born in 1891 and died on September 5th, 1930 via execution. It tells how his life molds him into a psychotic murderer and how a young prison guard named Henry Lesser at the Washington DC jail in 1928 became friends with Carl. Carl started that he does not trust any man, but he slowly started to trust Henry because Henry showed him kindness and no one has ever shown that to him. Carl told Henry about his tortures and Henry in return sends Carl one dollar and persuaded him to write his autobiography. The guard secretly gave him pencils and papers when he ran out. Carl hesitated but wrote over 40,000 words, in the end, documenting his entire life of torture, rapes, murders, and incarceration.

Carl Panzram: The Spirit of Hatred and Vengeance contains footage of Carl’s handwritten papers. Carl was arrested for breaking into a house in Washington circa 1928 where he went on telling the officers that what he is being arrested for is a minor felony compared to the numerous murders he committed over the years. The officers did not know that Carl was a felon that was arrested all over the country, and that is because he always used a different name. Carl mentioned that his family was poor and could not afford an operation at the hospital, so it was instead performed on his kitchen table resulting in possible brain damage to him. He also mentions that he was beaten numerous times at a reform school he attended.Carl soon after made a promise to himself saying he would “have his revenge just as soon and as often as I could injure someone else, anyone at all will do. If I couldn’t injure those who injured me, then I would injure someone else”.

The movie goes on to telling us about different occurrences in Carl’s life, but you will have to watch the movie for what the rest of his life entails. It is a bad thing that I enjoyed this film because a killer and a person like Carl Panzram should not be made famous for what he has done but the movie was detailed and informed us of what this person had endured in his lifetime. Carl had a horrid life where humanity meant nothing to him. The documentary made me think about how many more Carl’s are being made out there and maybe should take a close look at everyone and see if they need help before it is too late. John DiMaggio’s voice over was done nicely, and we can hear a sense of dread and evil from his words. It is a sad true story, and it is true that our world has created far worse than Panzram long after his death.

About Carl Panzram: The Spirit of Hatred and Vengeance

Title: Carl Panzram: The Spirit of Hatred and Vengeance
Year: 2012
Runtime: 81 minutes
Type: Movie
Genre: Horror, Drama, Crime, Documentary, Biography
Score: 3.5 / 5 stars
Avg. Rating: 2.5/5 stars from 34 users.
Total Avg. Votes: 34
Starring: John DiMaggio, William Knight, Henry Lesser, Scott Christianson, Charlie Rodgers, Joel Goodman, Joe Coleman, Kenneth M. LaMaster, Katherine Ramsland, Charles Dudley Martin, Tom Lodewyck, Jason Schubert, David Salmonson, Brett Jetmund, David Weiss, Douglas Wynne, Matthew Aaron, David Schmidt, Robert Earl Ray, Mark Gado, G. Thomas Gitchoff
Director: John Borowski