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pumpkin person rating: 8/10

In the spirit of Halloween, I re-watched this movie a couple weekends ago. Neither Netflix, the Movie network, nor pay per view have enough selection for me, so I added Amazon Prime to boot and this film was prominently displayed in their horror section.

It’s a disturbing, well organized film based on real life serial killers Henry Lee Lucas and Otis Toole.

Psychiatrists reportedly found Toole to be be schizophrenic, psychopathic, and mentally retarded with IQ scores ranging from 54 (Trainable [moderate] Retardation) to 75 (Borderline Retardation). It’s hard to assign a single number, but assuming the lowest and highest score were from tests that correlate around 0.7, a composite IQ of 61 is implied (Educable [mild] Retardation).

Actually it’s likely his IQs was even lower because in those days people didn’t know about the Flynn effect inflating the scores of people tested using old norms.

Toole’s low IQ seems to be part of a larger pattern of neurological impairment. He was also epileptic and sexually aroused by fire and from his mug shot it seems he had asymmetrical features, suggesting genetic mutations or developmental insults..

Toole’s art therapist Dr. Joel Norris described Toole as “the lower end of the gene pool”. The genetic garbage of society. Indeed in the film his body is literally stuffed into a garbage bag.

Of course HBD deniers could argue his problems were cultural, not biological. Raised by a mother who dressed him up as a girl, a sister and male neighbor who raped him, and a grave robbing granny, the illiterate Toole drops out of school to become a prostitute and part-time transvestite. Toole’s horrific backstory is not shown in the film.

Toole would become close friends with Henry Lee Lucas, whose mother also made him wear a dress as a kid. With a much higher IQ of 87, Lucas is widely believed to have been the leader of their murder spree.

While the film never mentions IQ it does imply Lucas is the smarter of the two, warning Toole not to kill people he’s been seen with.

Although Lucas towers over Toole intellectually, both men are morons compared to a quick-witted overweight TV salesman who belittles them with biting sarcasm. Luckily the sarcasm flies above their heads, but when the high IQ salesman pushes his luck, he proves too clever by half.