John Borowski

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John Borowski
John Borowski Headshot.jpg
Born Chicago, Illinois
Occupation Director, producer, writer, author

John Borowski is an American independent filmmaker and author. The focus of his work has been on late nineteenth and early twentieth century serial killers, initially in a trilogy of documentaries on American criminals, more recently on particular international criminals, on the commerce that has grown up around such crimes, and on other niche artists.

Early life[edit]

After receiving his B.A. from Columbia College Chicago’s film program, Borowski freelanced as an editor and cinematographer. Director Willy Laszlo chose Borowski to edit every headlining film for the Chicago Short Comedy Film and Video Festival from 1999 to 2003. In 2004, Borowski’s independently produced first film, H.H. Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer, was distributed on DVD in North America by Facets Video. For the voice of the narrator, Borowski chose Tony Jay, the voice of villain Judge Claude Frollo in Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame. Holmes received an unprecedented amount of press, being covered by television (CBS News, Wild Chicago), print (Variety, LA Weekly, Chicago Sun-Times, Ain't It Cool News, Philadelphia Weekly, Chicago Magazine), and radio (Mancow Show, Deadpit Radio). The historical interest in Holmes was reflected in the lectures Borowski delivered to The Chicago Historical Society, Indiana State University, and St. Xavier University. The Strange Case of Dr. H.H. Holmes is an illustrated book published by Borowski containing three primary source books about the Holmes case and Holmes’ complete confession. H.H. Holmes has been distributed to over a dozen countries worldwide.


Film Work[edit]

John Borowski is an award-winning independent filmmaker and author whose film works have garnered international acclaim and are distributed internationally on DVD, television, and streaming. Borowski’s “historical horror” trilogy of documentary films focus on late nineteenth and early twentieth century serial killers. Borowski directed a trilogy, based on America serial killers, H.H. Holmes: America's First Serial Killer (2004), Albert Fish: In Sin He Found Salvation (2007), and Carl Panzram: The Spirit of Hatred and Vengeance (2012) and Serial Killer Culture (2014) which examines the reasons why artists and collectors are fascinated by serial killers. .[citation needed]

John Borowski received the 2003 award for Best Director for H.H. Holmes from the Midwest Independent Film Festival,[citation needed] and the film was voted the Best Horror Documentary at the 2004 Screamfest Horror Film Festival.[1][better source needed] The film has been featured on PBS.[citation needed]

Carl Panzram featured John DiMaggio as the voice of title criminal and murderer, Carl Panzram. Locations for the film included the maximum security prisons of Leavenworth Penitentiary and Clinton Correction Facility,[citation needed] and made use of Panzram's handwritten autobiographical papers at San Diego State University;[citation needed] Carl Panzram received the director's choice award at the 2012 Chicago Horror Film Festival.[citation needed]

Borowski has produced and directed the short films: Mime Time (2013), Rough Crowd (2014), and The Portrait (2015).

In addition, Borowski served as an associate producer on the feature Toro Loco (2010), by Chilean filmmaker Patricio Valladares.[citation needed]


Borowski has written and published the books: The Strange Case of Dr. H.H. Holmes (2005), Albert Fish: In His Own Words (2014), and The Ed Gein File (2016), which contain case files from the true crime cases.

Music videos[edit]

Projects in Production[edit]

Borowski is currently in post-production on Bloodlines: The Art and Life of Vincent Castiglia, to be released in 2017.

References in published works[edit]

Borowski’s work was featured in The Documentary Moviemaking Course: The Starter Guide to Documentary Filmmaking by K.J. Lindenmuth,[2][page needed] and in a self-published work, Murderabilia and True Crime Collecting, by S.F. Scouller.[3][page needed]

The Swedish Band, Sparzanza used the narration by Tony Jay in the Borowski movie Albert Fish in their song, Mr. Fish.[when?][citation needed]

Guest appearances[edit]

Borowski was a special guest speaker at the 2012 Indie Horror Fest.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Borowski currently resides in Chicago.[citation needed]


As director[edit]

Other roles[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Bears Fonte, 2014, "Murderbelia and the Serial Killer Culture: An Interview With John Borowski," at AMFM MAGAGINE (online), November 20, 2014, see [6], accessed 15 May 2015.
  • Harold Schechter, Lee Mellor, Michael Newton, Kim Cresswell, Aaron Elliott, Robert Hoshowsky (Lee Mellor, Ed., William Cook, Illustr.), 2014, “Unsolved in North America,” Serial Killer Quarterly, Vol.1 No.3, pp. 8–10, Grinning Man Press, ISBN 099382322X, see [7], accessed 15 May 2015.
  • Matt Forster, 2014, "Movie Review: John Borowski’s “Serial Killer Culture,” TuffGnarl (online), August 30, 2014, see [8], accessed 15 May 2015.


  1. ^ a b Anon., 2004, "John Borowski, winner Best Documentary for 'H.H.Holmes'," at Getty Images (online), see [1], accessed 15 May 2015.[better source needed]
  2. ^ Kevin J. Lindenmuth, 2010, The Documentary Moviemaking Course: The Starter Guide to Documentary Filmmaking, York, U.K.:Methuen, ISBN 1408128586, see [2], accessed 15 May 2015.[page needed]
  3. ^ Steven F. Scouller, 2010, Murderabilia and True Crime Collecting, Bloomington, IN:AuthorHouse, ISBN 144909421X, see [3], accessed 15 May 2015.[page needed]
  4. ^ Anon., 2013, "News: John Borowski – Special Guest @ Indie 2012!!!," at The Indie Horror Film Festival (online), March 19, 2012, see [4], accessed 15 May 2015.
  5. ^ Inked Staff, 2015, "John Borowski’s Inside Look at the Art of Vincent Castiglia," at InkedMag (online), February 26, 2015, see [5], accessed 15 May 2105.