Confessions of a Serial Killer
confessions of a serial killer | mark blair | robert a. burns | dennis hill | berkley garrett | based on | true story | henry lee lucas | psychopath | sociopath | nightmare film festival | nff | crime | thriller | united states | sidney brammer | deedee norton
Film: Confessions of a Serial Killer
Director: Mark Blair
Writer: Mark Blair
Starring: Robert A. Burns, Dennis Hill and Berkley Garrett
This was a film that I hadn’t heard about and was intrigued when I learned that this is actually from 1985. It was being shown at the Nightmare Films Festival to kick off the third day and I got the chance to see it. The official synopsis is after finally being caught, a serial killer (based on the notorious Henry Lee Lucas) reveals the details of the murders of more than 200 women.
When I learned what this film was about, I was even more interested as I had recently seen the film Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer which is based on the same serial killer we get in this film. It starts off with a young woman who is stranded on the side of the road. Daniel Ray Hawkins (Robert A. Burns) pulls over to help her. Her car starts right up and he does something to it. She tries again and it won’t start. He offers to drive her to the next gas station. When they go past it, she starts to freak out. In the end, he murders her.
It then shifts to Daniel being interrogated by Sheriff Will Gaines (Berkley Garrett). At first he won’t talk to the other officers, but Sheriff Gaines shows a level of respect. He gets him food, cigarettes and finally Daniel starts talking. He recounts a bunch of murders that he commits. This includes ones he did with his friend, Moon Lewton (Dennis Hill) as well as his sister Molly Lewton (Sidney Brammer). Some of them are hitchhikers; some are women he comes into their homes. The police do start to wonder if he really committed all of these crimes or if he is just giving the details from the newspaper.
I found this to be an interesting take on the Henry Lee Lucas crimes. I personally don’t know much about him as a serial killer. From what I have gathered from the two films I’ve seen based on him, he did kill a lot of people and was a drifter. It would also seem he did team up with someone and then actually married that man’s sister as he went around committing these atrocities.
For the take in this film, I didn’t mind how Burns portrays the role. I found it interesting in that it does seem like he is just reciting his lines. Normally I would get upset about this, but the things he is saying makes this film that much more impactful because he is telling of how he raped and murdered these women. It is so matter of fact. His portrayal of the role is well done in my opinion.
The pacing of this film is pretty good as well. It jumps back and forth from him being captured. The police will ask him something and then we see how it played out. I found this to be interesting especially because what I do know about Henry Lee Lucas is that he confessed to some crimes he didn’t commit. It would appear that he really liked the notoriety and also the things that were given to him for admitting to these crimes. He knew regardless he’d never be released, so he was out to make this time as enjoyable as possible. The film runs about 89 minutes, so it does move at a good pace. It never falls into a lull and there is a kill that happen every regular interval. He really did well at committing these crimes on the open road in the infancy of DNA. It allowed him to getaway with what he did for so long.
Going back to the acting, I’ve already said how I thought Burns did a fine job in this role. I kind of feel bad for the back-story that is established for the character as to why he kills. I’m assuming some of this is what the real person went through, so I do kind of feel bad. It is an odd feeling as he is a serial killer. Hill was fine as the unintelligent accomplice. Brammer was interesting as his sister as she is much rougher in this version. This film really shows that nurture can effect these people and develop them into the monsters they become. Garrett was fine as the sheriff. I thought the rest of the cast were fine for what was needed as well.
There aren’t a lot in the way of effects for this film, but they were done practically. This film made me cringe and feel uncomfortable with some of the subject matter. It doesn’t linger too much on the kills themselves. The blood looks pretty solid. The attacks do as well, so I have to give it credit there. I also thought the film was shot pretty well, so I have to give the director credit there.
Now with that said, I do think this is an interesting version of the story of Henry Lee Lucas. It was deplorable what this man did, but this film does bring a little bit of pity from me. I like the idea of him telling these stories to the sheriff in exchange for better treatment. It is interesting though, because it is hard for them to keep separate what he really did and what he was just confessing to. I thought the acting was pretty solid across the board. The pacing is fine and I thought the effects for the film were pretty good as well. The score of the film didn’t stand out to me, but it also didn’t hurt the film. There is some female nudity if you are looking for that as well. I’d say that overall this film is above average in my opinion.
My Rating: 7 out of 10