ED GEIN: THE BUTCHER OF PLAINFIELD
Reviewed by: Ryan Doom
What's it about
The story of infamous serial killer Ed Gein and all the nasty things he did.
Is it good movie?
Ed Gein: The Butcher of Plainfield is one of those films that a viewer can take two ways. Implausibly bad. Or fantastically bad. It all depends on perspective. With routinely mediocre acting, painful dialogue, and uninteresting, sometimes forced characters, the film possesses so many clichťs that things get downright laughable. Itís just a matter of taste. Gein (played by Jason actor Kane Hodder) takes off his hockey mask for the mask of another killer, Mr. Gein. If youíve never heard of him, well, you probably have. Heís the inspiration for not only Psycho, but the Texas Chainsaw Massacre as well. A thin, slight man with a mother complex, Gein wore a creepy wool hat and brutally killed several people. Hodder is anything but. Heís a massive, intimidating presence that commands attention. Thatís not Gein. When Hodder walks into a room with a crazed look, heís hard not to notice. Gein, on the other hand, managed to elude capture because he was so slight. His size gave the creepy vibe. Itís like casting Ted Raimi to play John Wayne Gacy. It just donít work. But Iím off topic. Hodder has a few great moments, but overall, he doesnít have the depth to carry this character. Iím not meaning to knock the guy. Heís become a legend of sorts for playing unstoppable killers. Nevertheless, this is an inward character as Gein was certainly complex, not a head buster. Maybe thatís whatís most disappointing. The man who inspired a generation of horror has been reduced to a run of the mill bland B movie. The best evidence of this always comes from dialogue. As Gein and his buddy Jack (another mild legend Michael Berryman) dig up corpses, Jack wonders, ďI was just thinking, this might be immoral or something.Ē Responds Gein, ďTheyíre dead, Jack. They got no souls. Their bodies are just empty vessels.Ē Deep. Very deep.
With that said, I applaud writer/director Michael Feifer for attempting to add a police angle to the mix, inserting a normal angle opposite the chaos. Instead of simply following Gein ala every modern horror film, the insertion of the police could have added realism. However, instead of cops working against the clock, thereís a focus on a deputy with a mother complex all his own and his boring girlfriend. Heís an Ďah shucksí man who knows something isnít right with that crazy guy at the edge of the county. Feifer attempts to make Ed Gein grander in scale with a forced faith/Christianity angle, but it seems contrived. I know this is an inexpensive, quick flick, but sometimes ideas just donít fly. Instead of an attempt to add unnecessary depth, why not focus on the investigation, go off the board. Be creative. Gein was a fascinating, nutty dude. Surely, thereís something there. Again, Iím off topic. Iíve forgotten that Ed Gein is a serial killer movie, plain and simple. And on that level, the film is enjoyable to watch for the lame dialogue, goofy characters, and less than stellar script. Enjoy a few pints before indulging.
Video / Audio
Video: 16x9 Widescreen
Audio: 5.1 and 2.0 Surround
Audio Commentary: Director Feifer and Hodder discuss the film in detail, explaining the writing process, directing and the actual person. Oh, and Hodder continually hears how great his acting was in the flick.
Deleted Scenes: Not much here. Five very long deleted scenes all cut for a good reason. Thereís an alternative introduction here as well.
Still Gallery: Does anyone look at these?
Either you'll dig the B quality of this or not. This is one of those movies that falls dead inbetween so watch with that warning in mind.