The Young Poisoner’s Handbook

July 19, 2000

A cross between A Clockwork Orange and The Butcher Boy.

I had been wanting to see this for a long time – there used to be a poster in the window of the Video Update I used to go to, before it burned down anyway…Just having the word ‘poisoner’ in the title was good enough for me…it just sounds sick.

I was pleased to find out that the film was indeed based on a true story, though all the books I could find about Graham Young on were long out of print. I guess I will have to go to a library or something.

I compare this film to A Clockwork Orange and The Butcher Boy because it also points out that institutionalization rarely does a killer good, though in this one, he is not even brainwashed as Alex and Francie were – he actually became more focused upon chemicals, though it was through horticulture with the intent to heal, not harm. Of course, it failed….

Another obvious connection to A Clockwork Orange is that it even starts off with the same theme – Purcell’s Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary. The titles are white on a background of orange/red swirling chemicals. Not exactly the same as the primary colors of A Clockwork Orange, but did you ever notice that there were twice as many orange slides as any other color???

Anyway, go rent it, I found it at Blockbuster, in the Sundance Selection Aisle, which is a total rip-off! They charge new release prices for old films that only a handful of people will rent, because they are so art house or whatever. Fuck Blockbuster.


Year – 1995
Rating – R
Runtime – 99 minutes
Genre – True Crime
Director(s) – Benjamin Ross
Writer(s) – Jeff Rawle, Benjamin Ross
Actor(s) – Hugh O'Conor, Tobias Arnold, Ruth Sheen, Roger Lloyd-Pack, Norman Caro
BOB Rating – Four BOBs
Favorite Quote – I want to be the greatest poisoner the world has ever seen." - Graham Young (Hugh O'Conor)