It's been five years since John Borowski put out his Albert Fish documentary. In that five years he's been hard at work on his follow up, Panzram: The Spirit of Hatred and Vengeance. Now, he's finally releasing it, and it was definitely worth the wait.
As usual, John spares no expense when it comes to the quality of his films. The picture is excellent, the sound is even better, and the content of the film is beyond fantastic.
The film starts at San Diego State University, deep in the rows of their special collections area. Buried in the shelves lie a box of documents, donated by Henry Lesser, containing the handwritten account of Carl Panzram's life, written by the man himself. Throughout the film archive footage of an old interview with Lesser is shown detailing how he came to meet Carl and how he convinced him to write him life story. Lesser may have been the only man Carl ever trusted.
Carl's life is shown from childhood to death. His stay at the Minnesota State Training School where the seeds of his hatred for his fellow man were planted. Several of Carl's (who was known as Charles at the time) punishment write-up's for his various infractions against their rules are shown. The fact that those write-up's still exist was surprising to me. Rare items like that being in the film goes to show the depth of Borowski's investigation into the life of Carl Panzram.
The film goes on through Panzram's life jumping trains, in and out of various prisons across America, his travel around the world, and his final days when he murdered prison guard Robert Warnke and walked to the gallows.
I can't think of a bad thing to say about the film. Everything was just right. It flows very nicely, the information is superb, and the film itself is by far John's best work yet. I can't wait to see what he puts out next!
The special features include the full archived interview with Henry Lesser, trailers for John's past films, cut scenes, outakes, a closer look at Joe Coleman's Panzram painting, music from the film, and a photo gallery.