Part Sarah Winchester, part Jack The Ripper, HH Holmes was like the Wal-Mart of serial killers, meticulously controlling every possible variable in order to kill repeatedly and without interruption. By the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, he owned a drug store and a sprawling hotel containing secret passageways, soundproof rooms, incinerators and autopsy tables. What followed was an almost unparalleled reign of terror—that no one remembers. For all of his hideous torture chambers, HH Holmes was almost too perfect. He eventually changed cities, married three different women and wasn’t arrested until a horse theft charge caught up with him. Yes, the John Wayne Gacy of his era was arrested for horse theft. So, we chose other people to obsess about. We made a thousand and one movies about Jack The Ripper and speculated endlessly about the motives of Charles Manson, that is at least until Erik Larson wrote The Devil in the White City and it sold millions of copies.
After its initial 2003 publication, Tom Cruise bought the rights with an eye on playing Holmes himself, but for whatever reason, things didn’t work out. The script went back up for auction and now a group headlined by Leonardo Dicaprio has purchased the script. According to Deadline, Dicaprio is definitely keeping the HH Holmes role for himself, and I am beyond elated. For all of his glaring faults, HH Holmes was also a charmer. When he didn’t feel like murdering, he smooth talked his way into people’s hearts, collecting property and life insurance policies along the way. He also had a thing for women, blondes mostly. Leonardo Dicaprio’s career could benefit from a turn as an anti-hero, and HH Holmes may be the perfect savage for the job. Educated, handsome and ruthless, this role has potential Oscar nomination written all over it. I can’t wait.
In the mean time, you should head over to Amazon and pick up The Devil in the White City. Something tells me after we get our first trailer, people are going to head to Barnes and Noble in droves.
Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, the NBA and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.
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