The Iceman is an appropriate title for this pair of HBO specials, because the words of former Mafia enforcer Richard Kuklinski will chill you to the bone. Speaking in the monotonous drone of a man who has numbed himself with remorseless brutality, Kuklinski was first interviewed in 1991, five years after receiving consecutive life sentences for multiple murders. Specializing in the tidy use of cyanide, Kuklinski lived a double life, like the fictional hitmen in The Sopranos and Road to Perdition, passing as a "businessman" and devoted husband and father. He describes numerous killings in graphic detail, expressing nearly tearful regret only when lamenting the deception of his family. A vicious product of child abuse, Kuklinski was visited again by HBO in 2001, but this shameless redundancy was an obvious attempt to capitalize on the Sopranos phenomenon. Fascinating as a firsthand record of Mafia killing, these otherwise unsavory interviews serve little purpose beyond morbid exploitation. --Jeff ShannonFrom the Back Cover:
After years of silence, "The Iceman" speaks. In two separate interviews, nearly ten years apart, Richard Kuklinski, a notorious killer-for-hire and top enforcer for the Gambino crime family, tells his unusual story and reveals on camera the gruesome details of his crimes, some of which are told here for the first time.
The Iceman: Confessions of a Mafia Hitman depict the incredible life of a man who was raised on violence—becoming immune to it, from his first taste of revenge, to his Mafia "audition" and his career as a favorite "enforcer". All the while he kept his work life secret from his adorning wife, his children, and the neighbors.
Kuklinski killed by gun, by knife, by Molotov cocktail, by cyanide and by other unorthodox weapons. He tells a particularly grim story of how he once shot a stranger in the forehead with a crossbow. It wasn’t a contract hit, it wasn’t personal and it wasn’t about money. "I just wanted to see if this thing worked," he says dryly.
In 1986, after three years with a task force bearing down on him, Kuklinski was betrayed by "the only man I didn’t kill." He continues to serve a multiple life sentence in Trenton Maximum Security Prison. The documentary concludes: "The files on the Iceman will never be closed as long as the number and identities of the people he killed remain unknown."
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