Movie Reviews 163 – Gacy (2003)

3 Pack Killer DVD SetI’m continuing my series of reviews for the Killer 3 DVD Pack which features movies for three of the biggest serial killers in US history, Ed Gein, John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer. Last time I reviewed bad boy Gein. Now, it’s Gacy Time!

John Wayne Gacy was the notorious Chicago killer that lured young boys to a secluded garage adjacent to his house where he not only killed them but then buried most of them under the crawlspace beneath the floorboards. But his audaciousness and daring went far beyond what even a remotely fearful criminal would risk. For one thing he did most of his killings while either his mother or wife were right there in the house with him, but managing to keep it secret. He even had to contend with smells emanating from the rotting bodies and come up with excuses for his wife and neighbors, all the while seeking advice and trying home remedies to deal with the stench. Most of his victims were young boys he employed for his successful construction business and his audacity extended to him having some of those boys dig out new pits for future victims after he carefully demarcated the areas he knew the boys could dig without hitting already buried bodies.

GacyWhile it may not sound surprising that he also had a sideline as “Pogo the Clown” as an entertainer, he was also a well respected community leader, something you would never expect from a serial killer. No, Gacy was not your typical introverted, or maladjusted youth. He knew exactly what he was doing which made him all the more terrifying.

The movie Gacy captures his story fairly accurately, however it does suffer from some sloppy editing which can lead to a bit of confusion. We follow the story from the point of him hosting a neighborhood barbecue, evidently well liked and admired by many, then onto failed business dealings and crumbled relationships. But all the while he is intent on luring the boys and doing them in. Other than a few hints, we are spared almost all of the grisly details and never learn what he did with the boys before actually killing them. But the events leading to his final arrest are captivating enough, showing his deteriorating state as one misfortune after another pile on. Even the police who suspected him for a long time have a hard time getting proof and have to wait until he makes a slip. With the police practically camped out on his front lawn Gacy not only knows he is a suspect, but taunts them.

Some of the confusion arises from end credits which brazenly state that Gacy was suspected of luring 2000 men but we have no idea where that insanely large number comes from especially as we see how he slowly lured the kids in the movie. In the end, only about 35 were confirmed victims. Yeah that still a horrifying number but nothing like 2000.

Despite the costar credits, Adam Baldwin is merely a cameo role as Gacy’s dad in the first two minutes. But don’t let that annoying marketing ploy turn you off. Mark Holton delivers an effective and creepy performance as Gacy. For the most part the movie sticks to Gacy’s activities but we occasionally see the cops side of things once they begin to suspect him. The movie then continues until ‘John Wayne’ is finally arrested and gets his comeuppance befitting an outlaw cowboy.

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