CHICAGO (CBS)–Chicago’s notoriety as the home of America’s first serial killer was highlighted in the 2003 book “The Devil In the White City,” the story of H.H. Holmes and his now-famous “Murder Castle.”
Three years ago, news began circulating that the New York Times bestselling thriller could be turned into a movie when Paramount Pictures announced, in August 2015, that it had optioned author Erik Larson’s book.
Those plans, for unknown reasons, never materialized.
This week, news surfaced that Hulu and Paramount Television were working on a small-screen adaptation of the story, set in the 1890’s during the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
The television adaptation of the book will be produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese, according to the Hollywood Reporter. News of the collaboration was announced onstage Monday at the Television Critic’s Association’s winter press tour, Hollywood Reporter says.
Few details about the show have been announced, and it’s unclear when and where filming will begin and who will star in the series.
One of Chicago’s most well-known stories, “The Devil In The White City” tells the cryptic true story of H.H. Holmes, a murderous conman who takes advantage of his respectful reputation as a doctor to lure people–mostly young women–into his “Murder Castle” as huge crowds of tourists visited Chicago for the World’s Columbian Exposition.
Holmes tricked out the building he used for his “Murder Castle” in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood with trap doors and mazes of hallways and staircases leading nowhere.
Once his victims were trapped inside his murderous confines, the “trusted doctor” would slowly torture and mutilate them in a number of different ways. One of his torture methods was to seep poisonous gas into soundless rooms where his guests were staying.
When Chicago Police finally discovered the house, they found trap doors, peepholes and chutes that led into the basement, according to crimemuseum.org.
“The basement was designed as Holmes’ own lab; it had a dissecting table, stretching rack, and crematory. Sometimes he would send the bodies down the chute, dissect them, strip them of the flesh and sell them as human skeleton models to medical schools. In other cases, he would choose to cremate or place the bodies into pits of acids,” crimemuseum.org writes.
Police couldn’t tell how many bodies were in the home because they were badly dismembered and decomposed, but it is believed that Holmes is responsible for up to 200 murders.
Holmes was hanged in 1896 after he was convicted of several murders. The “Murder Castle” was later remodeled as an attraction, but it suddenly burned down under mysterious circumstances.
Today, the Englewood Post Office on the 600 block of West 63rd Street occupies the site of the “Murder Castle.”