Movie portrays acolyte's story of obeying serial killing leader - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

Documentary movie portrays acolyte's story of obeying serial killer

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

A 40-year-old tragedy forms the basis of a new film about what was once known as the Houston Mass Murders.

Over a period of three years in the early 1970s, about 30 teenage boys disappeared. They vanished mainly from the Houston Heights area, which at the time was a working class white neighborhood.

The boys were abducted, raped, tortured and murdered by a trio of serial killers.

Dean Corll was the 33-year old ringleader; it was his sexual bloodlust that started it all. But Corll was assisted by a pair of teenagers, Elmer Wayne Henley Jr., and David Brooks, who helped lure away the victims and sometimes participated in the killings and in burying the bodies.

Henley and his family are cooperating with filmmaker Josh Vargas on a docudrama that tells the story from Henley's point of view.

"When he was with Dean, he was heartless. Absolutely heartless," said Vargas, whose upcoming film is called "In A Madman's World." "And I think that's the part that fascinated me. How does this, by all accounts, normal 14-year-old kid just, over the course of a month, just turn into an absolute monster?"

The bloodshed finally ended in 1973 when Wayne Henley put several bullets into Dean Corll's body and then called police.

Henley and Brooks were both sentenced to multiple life sentences for their roles in the crimes.

Henley now says he is tired of being blamed for Corll's deeds. He hopes to get his story out to the public and he believes first-time director Josh Vargas is the man for the job.

"I met with Josh," said Henley, "and he gave me that impression, that what he would do is rather than sensationalize, he would try to give an honest portrayal."

Henley believes he has served enough prison time and he should be released. But his chosen director has a different take.

"I know the guy real well," Vargas told FOX 26 News. "I get along with the guy. I get Christmas cards from him. And I'll be one of the first people to say that he should never, ever, ever get out, because of what he did. Not because of who he is right now."

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