Docteur Petiot (1990)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - War Drama, Crime Drama  |   Run Time - 102 min.  |   Countries - France   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Clarke Fountain

Serial killers appear in small numbers almost everywhere. Their motives vary, but in every case they are a peculiar breed. This chilling, true historical drama follows the activities of one such man, apparently motivated by greed and opportunism more than anything else. In France during the Nazi occupation, Dr. Petiot (Michel Serrault) offered to help Jews escape the Nazis. They would come to his house, and he would kindly give them lethal "vaccinations" for their anticipated travel to Argentina. Then he would steal everything the brought with them (in addition to their up-front payment to him) and burn their bodies in his home-made crematorium. His crimes were discovered in 1944 when his overburdened furnace drew attention of authorities to him. He escaped capture for a time, but was tried and executed in 1946 for the murder of 27 persons, though (as is often the case with these ghouls) the actual count may have been much higher. This film tells Dr. Petiot's story in an abstract and impressionistic manner which is leavened with a certain amount of black humor.



France, murder, occupation [military], serial-killer, cremation, house