This forgotten classic, which was filmed in the mid-80’s, sat around collecting dust for over 5 years before finally being released by New Horizons home video in 1992. The Hannibal Lecter look-alike used for the cover art was no doubt an attempt to cash in on the popularity of Silence of the Lambs. It’s not a surprise that this film has nothing to do with the Hannibal franchise what-so-ever, although it does have a few similarities to John McNaughton’s Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (also based on the notorious serial killer Henry Lee Lucas). McNaughton’s Henry had gained a huge cult following in the years after it’s release in 1990, so it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what the folks at New Horizons were thinking when they came up with the title for this movie.
We follow the life of fictional serial killer Daniel Ray Hawkins (Robert A. Burns) as he cruises around searching for his latest victim. After being pulled over by police, he’s placed under arrest when the victim’s body is found in his trunk. The rest of the film involves Daniel Ray’s confessions during an interrogation by a small town police department. He willingly tells the detectives everything about his life starting with how his paralyzed father shot himself while he and his sister watched their drunken mother get double-teamed. After confessing to over 200 murders, the police don’t know whether to believe him or not until he takes them to locate a body.
The acting in the movie was just average with one exception. Robert A. Burns was incredible as the lead character. His passive and unemotional portrayal of Daniel Ray really made this movie work for me. Not to mention, he’s a dead ringer for the real Henry Lee Lucas. Burns, who worked as an art director on some legendary horror films (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes), was also used as the art director on this film. The gritty look of Texas Chainsaw Massacre is definitely on display here. The great efforts of Burns, along with the creepiness of the film’s score, make this a very underrated horror flick.
*** On a sad note, Robert commited suicide in 2004 (shortly after being diagnosed with terminal cancer). He was 60 years old.
This movie was actually released on DVD a few years back on region 2 (with the same cheesy cover). Do not buy this version! The video and audio transfers are terrible and it’s been cut to shreds. I would suggest sticking with the unedited New Horizons VHS version, unfortunately a used copy will probably run you about 25 bucks on amazon.
My Rating: 8.5 / 10