As October rolls by and Halloween creeps ever closer, the thought of horror is always fresh on the mind. I'm the kind of person who waits for October specifically to see what horror movies will be unveiled in the month of ghosts and monsters. Horror isn't all paranormal though, and not all of it is fictional. There's more than just shadows and demons haunting the streets — there are plenty of monsters in the form of humans.
Thousands of serial killers across the globe have terrorized humanity for hundreds of years as they've brought countless lives to untimely ends. I've always been fascinated and repulsed by serial killers. With the second half of October starting to wind down, I brainstormed the films I'd love to see about true horror in the world, and that brought me to serial killers. Here are two killers that fascinate me most and that I'd love to see a movie about.
*I will say that I will not only be discussing their crimes, but also their capture, so a spoiler warning feels necessary!*
1. Dr. H. H. Holmes
Herman Webster Mudgett a.k.a. Dr. Henry Howard Holmes is one of the most intriguing serial killer cases of American history. Often credited as America's first serial killer, the first monster on my list terrorized Chicago at the end of the 19th century. Though only confessing to 27 murders, police at the time had speculated that it could've actually been as high as 200.
Born Herman Webster Mudgett, Holmes allegedly had an alcoholic for a father who would tend to get violently angry on more than one occasion. Holmes excelled in school, which led to a great amount of bullying, including an incident where bullies forced him into a doctor's office to touch a human skeleton. Holmes found it more fascinating that frightening and that experience led him to become obsessed with death, thus leading to a career as a certified doctor.
His criminal life started out with stealing bodies from his medical school, disfiguring them, and then passing them off as accident victims to collect their insurance claims. The true horror of his actions didn't start until he bought an empty lot and built a hotel-like structure that locals dubbed "The Castle."
To the public eye, this castle was a hotel. Holmes opened it to lodgers, renters, and travelers to the Chicago area. However, to Holmes, it was center for his depraved activities. The hotel turned out to be a maze with dead-end hallways, stairs to nowhere, and bricked-off closets designed specifically for murder. He would starve, hang, and use gas to asphyxiate his victims before transporting their bodies to the basement to dissect them.
His murder hotel was only in operation for a few years before the economic depression forced him out of Chicago. Though he went on the run for a short time afterwards, he was caught after attempting another insurance scandal and even kidnapping children. In 1896, Herman Webster Mudgett was hanged for the crimes to which he confessed, but nobody will every truly know the extent of the crimes he kept secret.
I don't need to hope for a film or fan cast anyone, because there's already one in development. With no current release date scheduled, The Devil in the White City is being directed by Martin Scorsese and is starring Leonardo DiCaprio as H. H. Holmes.
2. Elizabeth Bathory
Countess Elizabeth Bathory was a Hungarian serial killer between the year 1585 and 1609. Elizabeth was shown every courtesy and given nothing but wealth, education and social status from a young age. At 15 years old, she was married and given a castle as her wedding gift. While her husband was commanding the military at war, Elizabeth was charged with the defense of the castle and the nearby villages.
During this time, she would invite the village girls to come to the castle for what was thought to be a decent job. Witnesses finally began to come forth after several years with testimonies of the horrors that took place there. She would torture the young women sent to the castle. Testimonies claimed she would employ methods from burning and beating, to freezing and even eating body parts of her victims.
After the formal investigation into these claims, investigators discovered many bodies on the grounds of the castle and Bathory's own private properties as well. The highest claim of her body count was 650. Her nobility saved her from a trial, but not punishment. Bathory was imprisoned in a room in her own castle that had been bricked up and only had small slits to ventilate the area and present food. After four years, she died of exposure.
Bathory has had multiple appearances in film, with references in Hostel II, Stay Alive, and The Brothers Grimm, but has never had a film dedicated to her full story. My choice to portray her in the event that a film is made would easily be Marion Cotillard, made famous by her roles in Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, and Contagion.
Though this isn't a full list of this category, these are the two that jumped straight to my mind for this article. I'm very excited to see what the Scorsese/DiCaprio team can pull off with the H. H. Holmes story, and I'd love to see the full Bathory story on the big screen with Cotillard in the lead!
Fans of American Horror Story will recognize that H.H. Holmes was the inspiration for much of Season 5: Hotel. Check out what other serial killers made their way into the show:
Which serial killers do you want to see a film about? Leave your answers in the comments!
[Sources: Google.com/Images, IMDb.com]