If ever there was a candidate for a real life Freddy Krueger, it’d be Albert Fish. I’ve read up on many serial killers over the years, but I had never heard of Albert Fish, until now.
This movie is actually a documentary about Fish’s crimes with various experts giving their reasons why Fish did what he did. What did he do? What did he not do!
Fish was born in 1870 in to a family of metal illness. From 1924 to 1932 he kidnapped, tortured, killed and ate several children. Yes, he ate them. He was convicted of one main murder, Grace Budd, admitted to several others, but could well have done many more.
Fish was a firm believer in the Bible, his mentality though seems to take the Bible literally, and his entire modus operandi seemed to have been that pain equals purity. After his main killing (Grace Budd) he says in a letter (to the little girls mother) that he didn’t rape her, she died a virgin. He seemed to think that his would martyr her in some way. The letter is sickening and can be read at wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Fish#The_letter. Imagine grieving the loss of your young child, receiving that letter through the post, being illiterate, and having to get your son to read it to you. Well, that’s what happened.
Fish’s wife left him and this seemed to be the beginning of his descent in to madness, he began seeing visions of Jesus and used to torture himself by inserting needles in to his waist area and whipping himself in front of pictures of Jesus. He even admitted this to his own children, this was proved by x-rays done while he was in prison.
After a reign of several years, Fish was eventually caught via the letter he sent to Mrs. Budd. He was sentenced to dead in the electric chair.
The documentary uses new footage edited to look, and sound, like old 1930’s footage, not done very convincingly, but it looks ok. Much of what we know about Fish came from discussions he had in prison after his conviction, this is narrated by a voice actor, the accent is a bit corny, but the actor portraying Fish in recreated scenes does well given the fact that he’s acting out some strange things with no dialogue. There’s no real gore to speak of except for some blood and wound effects in some whipping scenes.
All in all, a good documentary given that there’s no actual interview audio/footage of Fish to see (just a few photos).