H.H. Holmes
The Story: Often credited as America's first serial killer, Holmes's body count is thought to be somewhere between 27 (the number he confessed to) and 200 victims. How is such a thing possible? The simple answer is that Holmes built a hotel in a bustling part of Chicago in the 1890s, and designed it to be a perfect killing floor for his sick desires. Later called "Murder Castle," it was designed to be a maze of windowless rooms, making escape virtually impossible for those Holmes chose to trap. No one aside from Holmes knew the full layout of the place as he repeatedly hired and fired new builders to construct this killing castle in portions. Some of the weirder attributes of this hotel were doors only able to be opened from the outside, doorways that open on brick walls, a safe big enough to put a person inside (to suffocate them), and a chute that allowed him to dump bodies from the upper floors straight to the basement, where two massive furnaces and large supplies of flesh-stripping acid were stored.

The Pitch: Some version of Holmes' story is said to be in-development with Leonardo DiCaprio attached. But while we wait for news on that could-be project, let's imagine another. Typically, when it comes to serial killers, we don't center the film on them but on someone trying to escape them. For Holmes this would likely be a young woman who'd come to work at his hotel, as was the case with many of the victims he confessed to killing. She could be in Chicago for the 1893 World's Fair, and her story of smalltown girl gone to the big scary city goes dark as she tries to escape from the labyrinthine Murder Castle. Whether she does or not would be up to the screenwriter of course, but along the way she would learn the true depths of this respected entrepreneur's depravity.

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