May - 2013
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Mystery Video of the Moment

Friday, April 19, 2013

Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1997)

This is a 44 minute episode of A&E's Biography. I watched this documentary back then, but it's been awhile, so I thought I'd watch it again before reviewing it.

Also watching History's Mysteries: The True Story of Rasputin (2006) because I'm curious to compare the two shows. I'd offer an image of the show, but IMDB did not offer an image.

Honestly, in terms of information, I thought A&E's Biography did a much better job than History's Mysteries because History's Mysteries focused too much on the seedier side of Rasputin and here say about his supposed sexual escapades, and not enough on Rasputin himself. [While Rasputin was considered to be a womanizer of sorts, most historians do not believe that he was connected with the Khlysts, nor do they believe that he had an affair with the Tzarina.] I guess I just liked the way Biography handled all of the information, focusing on facts over speculation.

Biography did not cover one crucial point that I've always been curious about - how Rasputin survived being poisoned with cyanide. What is theorized is that the cyanide must have put into the pastries and such before baking...however, according to Rasputin's daughter, he suffered from hyper-acidity and avoided eating anything with sugar (which History's Mysteries does actually mention)... I posit that it's possible that the man who was supposed to poison Rasputin didn't actually poison anything, but just said he did.

Neither show really attempted to debate who actually was responsible for killing Rasputin - as in the gunfire - but recent evidence suggests that there were more than 3 bullets fired at Rasputin that day.

While History's Mysteries was okay, I thought that A&E's Biography, "Rasputin: The Mad Monk," was much more informative and entertaining.

Wikipedia does have a nice presentation of facts and information on Rasputin.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


The first question I had when I finally finished watching this was, "Can I have my time back, please?"

The thing that really ticked me off about this documentary is that...well...nothing substantial was really learned.

Yes, it told a story, and brought back to light a few unsolved murders involving children. They had a suspect, but they couldn't actually connect the guy to any of them. All - and I do mean all - of the eye witnesses were considered unreliable. It's possible the guy was railroaded back in the day and that he actually was innocent.

The problem is, he refused to talk to everyone because his trial was looming, so there was no possible way to actually learn anything about the actual cases.

It's definitely not up to the standards of Borowski's documentaries (See my blogs on Carl Panzram and H.H. Holmes).

Yes, it is a documentary, but it's more a documentation of their attempt to get answers, but that's as far as I'd go with it. Unlike Borowski, these makers don't try to get professionals to participate to offer insight that might legitimize or debunk various claims. By professionals, I mean psychologists or psychiatrists, etc. A lot of what they're going off of is here say and can't really be taken as fact, except for what was actually known in the newspapers.

I wasted almost 1.5 hrs of my life to find out that there wasn't an ounce of resolution or insight the makers of this "documentary" could offer. I gave it 2/5 stars on Netflix. I honestly would not recommend this movie if you're actually looking for answers because it brings up way more questions than it answers, and it really doesn't attempt to answer the questions it brings up.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

H. H. Holmes: America's First Serial Killer

While I can handle documentaries about murders and death, this one I just had to break up and watch in small intervals because, in all honesty, what this guy did was unbelievable. Yes, he committed crimes and killed people, but we're not really sure just how many he did kill. Yes, he did this stuff, but every time you come across a guy who does not in fact own a conscience or even empathy for others, it boggles the mind and rattles the spirit. He didn't just kill people, but he killed animals too. As a swindler and con man, you'd think people would have figured out about him, at some point, but it was a long time before that happened.

This is definitely an interesting accounting of historical facts.

What I like is that not only does Borowski present facts, but he brings in several different researchers and experts to explain why certain facts still stand as facts and why some have been and still are called into question. It's an hour and four minutes that will blow your mind.

I gave this one 4/5 stars on Netflix. Part of me wished they would have gone into a little more detail on the possible connection between Jack the Ripper and Holmes - guess I'll have to watch the beginning part again to catch all of what they say. I'd also have preferred it if they did a little more digging into where the Chicago fire actually started because Holmes' killing, "castle," went up in flames before it could be turned into a murder museum... It's made to sound a little fishy, but they just don't go into enough detail to prove or disprove that this house could have been a starting point for the fire.

I definitely suggest it, if you're looking for documentaries on serial killers. At the moment, Borowski's documentary on Albert Fish is not available through Netflix Streaming, so it may be awhile before I get a chance to view that one.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Carl Panzram: The Spirit of Hatred and Vengeance

Even though I started Borowski's other documentary on H.H. Holmes - one of the men they thought might have been the notorious, "Jack the Ripper," - I'm reviewing this one first because I finished watching it first. On Netflix, I gave it 4/5 stars.

I enjoyed the insights into the mind of the serial killer this documentary provided. The reason this movie only got 4 stars has more to do with the fact that I thought I'd learn more about what the man himself did. However, that's not what this documentary does, nor do I believe that was it's objective.

This is more about the viewpoint of a prisoner, and how he became what he became. His writings exposed the prison system for what it was back then - a house of evil. While I'm all for people having consequences for their actions, and consequences that fit the crime, I find myself appalled at how children were treated back in his day. Panzram started as a poor, troubled boy who needed compassion and maybe even some kind words of encouragement, not the treatment he had at the hands of, "christians." That's a can of worms I won't be getting into right now. Watch this documentary, and hear the words of the man himself, and you'll understand why.

I found the man profound in a way because he saw - through his own life experience - the inherent flaws in mankind. What he learned of society, he abhorred. He saw humanity as evil, and he felt they were a plague to be wiped out. As if he had some sort of connection to the future, he believed that these people would ultimately destroy the earth.

I don't view mankind as a plague to be wiped out, but I do believe that society still has a long way to go. The rest of my beliefs in this matter are for a different blog altogether.

Getting back to the documentary. Watch it. If it doesn't change or enhance your views on how important all children are - rich, poor, in between, doesn't matter - and making sure everyone has the same education and a loving, caring start in life etc...well, I don't know what will.

While I don't completely agree that he is blameless in all of it, Panzram makes some very prophetic points. Definitely watch this documentary, I don't believe you'll regret it.