By his own count, Henry Lee Lucas stabbed, strangled, shot, ran over or beat to death some 600 people, making him the world’s most prodigious serial killer — or a pathological liar.
Hindsight favors the latter.
For years, Lucas told detectives he was a stone killer, amassing a body count of gigantic proportions. If there was an unsolved murder on Texas' crime logs, Lucas often claimed he had done it.
The latest cinematic look at Lucas, who became known as "The Confession Killer," debuts Friday as a five-part documentary series on Netflix. Co-directors Robert Kenner and Taki Oldham look hard at not only Lucas' long list of alleged victims, but also at his close dealings with law enforcement officers, who seemingly hung on every word of his copious confessions, while chauffeuring him to various sites where he said he hid bodies.
There have been four narrative films based on Lucas, beginning with 1985's "Confessions of a Serial Killer," 1986's "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Parts I and II," and "Drifter: Henry Lee Lucas" in 2009. Two documentaries were released in 1995.
But when Lucas died in 2001 of heart failure at the age of 64 while incarcerated, only three killings were definitively linked to him. One was the stabbing slaying of his own mother in 1960.
Again, by his own account, Lucas' childhood was the stuff maniacs are made of.
He was born in 1936 in Virginia, to an alcoholic and part-time prostitute who made her children watch while she had sex for money in the family's three-room, dirt-floor shack. His father was also an alcoholic who lost both legs in a drunken train accident. He died in 1949 after passing out in a blizzard.