Albert Fish (2007)

“Possibly the sickest, most perverse, serial killer in criminal history was a grey-haired old grandfather type named Albert Fish. In the late 1920's he abducted a 10-year-old girl named Grace Budd, stripped her, choked her to death, cut her body into little pieces and ate her with carrots and onions. He later said she tasted like veal. In a vile letter to the victim's mother he taunted, 'I did not fuck her, though I could have. She died a virgin.' Fish is the subject of this grimly fascinating 'docudrama' from filmmaker John Borowski. Borowski's approach is unusual. He puts us back in the days of Fish's crimes with stock footage of Depression-era America, and into the mind of this most twisted of individuals with narration taken from Fish's own confessions. The original letter written by Fish to Grace Budd's mother now resides in the 'Odditorium' of artist Joe Coleman and he appears on camera to talk about his 'Magna Carta' of serial killer memorabilia. It seems he acquired it by pure luck. The police department secretary who xeroxed it for him filed the copy and gave him the original by mistake! Steering away from overt reconstructions of Fish's horrendous crimes, Borowski delves into the killer's troubled upbringing. Placed in an orphanage after his father dropped dead, the young Fish was whipped mercilessly and came to gain sadomasochistic enjoyment from he pain.

He later became a male prostitute and practiced all kinds of perversions with both male and female clients. Even when he married and fathered six children he still indulged his sexual deviances with males on the side. But Fish was hardly ever at home. He traveled the country as a house painter. 'I always had the desire to inflict pain on others and to have others inflict pain on me,' he noted. Borowski vividly depicts Fish's fantasies of S&M sex with young male prostitutes, one of which almost resulted in the male hooker's death when he tried to cut his penis off.

At the heart of Borowski's movie is the chilling truth that psychopaths are monsters who look just like you or me. When Fish's wife ran off with another man he raised his six children dutifully. A regular churchgoer, he said grace at every meal. But in the end he paid in the electric chair for his crimes, and famously nearly short-circuited the device with the 29 needles he had stuck into his abdomen!

This is a creepy, classy documentary, which is pretty much the last word on Fish's ghastly crimes.

Extras on the DVD include interviews with the director and a real-life cannibal, plus a murder Metal Band called Macabre - who perform a song about Albert Fish! There's also a macabre history of the electric chair and deleted scenes.”
-Saul Wright, The Dark Side Magazine

The Dark Side Magazine

Issue #126 - May 2007