Dean Corll Biopic, In a Madman’s World, Finally Gets a Release Date

(L to r) Joe Grisaffi (Dean Corll), Bobby Haworth (David Brooks), Chris Binum (Elmer Wayne Henley) and director Josh Vargas stand over the grave of Dean Corll in Grand View Memorial Park Cemetery in Pasadena. Binum is wearing Henley’s favorite coat, donated by his family for the film.
(L to r) Joe Grisaffi (Dean Corll), Bobby Haworth (David Brooks), Chris Binum (Elmer Wayne Henley) and director Josh Vargas stand over the grave of Dean Corll in Grand View Memorial Park Cemetery in Pasadena. Binum is wearing Henley’s favorite coat, donated by his family for the film.
Photo by goon73photography

Back in 2013 Houston Press took you deep into the making of In a Madman’s World , a biopic about Houston’s most famous serial killer, Dean Corll, directed by local auteur Joshua Allan Vargas. Vargas made headlines during the production of the film thanks to uncovering evidence of a previously unknown Corll victim he had discovered while going through the personal effects of Corll's teenage accomplice, Elmer Wayne Henley.

Despite a lot of positive hype, very little was heard of the film following our reporting, but it looks like In a Madman’s World will finally see the light of day. Having failed to find a distributor that would keep the movie as Vargas envisioned it, he has decided to self-distribute it. The release date is March 10.

In a statement on the film’s Facebook page Vargas says…

I decide to self-distribute based on the feedback I received via the movies page and a desire to see the movie released untainted… There will be two versions of the DVD available. The standard version will have the movie and a filmmaking commentary, with the Collectors’ version containing the movie, a filmmaking commentary, a historical commentary, a documentary about how we made the movie, a documentary about what happened during the research phase, and a tribute to Marilyn Burns (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), who passed away immediately after filming. It will also contain an "Authenticity commentary" in which there will be a window at the bottom of the screen with whatever research material (be it a letter, a page from the police file, etc) the scene/dialogue was derived from.

I decided to self-distribute in order to keep the movie's integrity intact. I said from the beginning that I was against releasing this as a horror film. This way, I can also control what extras go on the DVD. 


A link to pre-order the DVD via PayPal and a new trailer are expected to appear on the Facebook page soon.

In a Madman’s World stars Joe Grisaffi (Haunted Trailer, More Than Human) as Corll, and Chris Binum (Apart) as Henley. Having seen the film in fragments for the first story, I can report that it is an amazing period piece that perfectly captures Henley’s descent from regular, all-American boy into the paid procurer and personal execution of one of the most heinous Texas monsters. As Vargas said, it’s not a horror film though it is certainly horrifying. Vargas paints every player in the tragedy as human, each with their own demons that leads them down their dark path, sometimes in spite of their best intentions.

On top of that, it’s a cinematic rendering of a part of Houston history we are often keen to forget. Forgetting Corll and his reign of terror is definitely a mistake. I can recommend no better way of not being able to make that mistake than watching In a Madman’s World. Keep an eye on this space for a proper review of the finished film closer to release.


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