DEAR MR. GACY
Reviewed by: Zombie Boy
What's it about
A brash, young college student attempts to get into the mind of a serial killer, with expectantly troublesome results to his own psyche.
Is it good movie?
I’ll admit that I was a little hesitant about this film, just from the title alone. Let’s just say that I was not eager to watch yet another film about John Wayne Gacy. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is not so much about the man’s crimes, as it is about the relationship he had with Jason Moss, a college student who wrote the killer letters while he was on death row. Moss is working on a term paper, and decides to insinuate himself into Gacy’s life by posing as a gay man with few prospects and no one else to talk to. He even goes so far as to oil up his chest and send half-nude photos to the man.
Gacy goes for the bait, and Moss gets exactly what he wanted. And then some. Gacy latches on to Moss, and forces his personality on him in the same lecherous, dominant, and successful way that he did on the two dozen or so young men he raped, murdered, and buried in his basement. Moss finds himself unable to back away from his project, and it slowly eats away at all his personal relationships: parents, brother, and girlfriend. When Gacy’s execution date is finally set, he coaxes Moss out to the prison for a meet and greet, wherein he finds out exactly what kind of psychopath Gacy really is.
As I said, I was pleasantly surprised at how good this movie is. Jesse Moss plays Jason Moss with just the right amount of smarm and charm, so that we want to slap him but we never outright dislike him, and to say William Forsythe steals the film is to say that the Pope wears a tall hat. He is pitch-perfect as a man with as many twists and turns in his brain as the hedge maze in The Shining. The fact that he manages to own the movie almost completely from a prison cell says it all. He is just as believable as a blubbering mess at the thought of his pending lethal injection as he is when he has Moss bent over a table, screaming, “You know how many people have died for this c*ck, boy?”
The film is all the more chilling when you realize that it is a true story. And the real-life Moss took his own life a few years ago. I won’t say that his relationship with Gacy left lasting psychological scars on him, vis-à-vis showing him a side of his own personality just as twisted as Gacy’s, but I won’t say that I’m not thinking it.
Video / Audio
Video: Anamorphic widescreen. While the photography won’t blow you away, it services the film just fine, and the transfer is clean.
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, with optional Spanish and English for the deaf and hearing impaired subtitles.
The Gacy Files: Portrait of a Serial Killer: This is a brief, 22-minute documentary on the crimes of Gacy, shot for this film. It basically consists of interviews with police, lawyers, and CSI who worked on the case, as well as one of Gacy’s childhood friends. Most of the interviews are conducted by William Forsythe himself. It is an interesting sidebar to the film, but there are other, better, more in-depth documentaries about Pogo The Clown, if you’re honestly interested in his crimes.
Dear Mr. Gacy is an intriguing story about a young man who risks his life and sanity on a term paper, as well as being a tangential telling of the crimes of the titular serial killer. It is all the more engaging since it is a true story, and while dramatized for cinematic purposes, it never gets so dramatic that you forget it is based on a real occurrence. I’d definitely recommend giving this one a watch, even if you’re not normally a fan of serial killer films.