In Bed with a Monster

William Forsythe in Dear Mr. Gacy (2010)

With his ambition to become part of the FBI, college student Jason Moss (Jesse Moss) decides for his criminology thesis to correspond with infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy (William Forsythe). But to stand out Jason decides to approach things from another angle as if he was a young boy confused with who he is in order to try and get in to the mind of how Gacy worked and maybe reveal secrets surrounding cases which remain unsolved. But as Jason becomes more and more involved as Gacy starts not only to write but call it starts to put pressure on him, his family and his relationship with his girlfriend.

At some point in my early life I must have heard the name John Wayne Gacy but as I have mentioned before I am a Brit born at the start of the 70s and as such the Gacy story, if you don't mind me putting it that way, pretty much passed me by. As such I do not know the ins and outs of his case and the good news is that you don't need to know the details to watch "Dear Mr. Gacy" as this is a movie about two people and as such it is surprisingly fascinating.

Jesse Moss in Dear Mr. Gacy (2010)

One of those people is of course John Wayne Gacy and William Forsythe plays him with an effective air which makes you feel uncomfortable watching him especially with that bloated look which makes him all the more fearsome. Combine that with some effective close up shots of his eyes and the washed out imagery of a prison cell and we are presented with a manipulative man who is incredibly clever but also terrifying and seriously sick going on the dialogue which Forsythe delivers.

But in a different way we have Jason Moss and his obsession to get in to the mind of Gacy is just as terrifying. Watching the lengths that this naive man will go to without thinking about the consequences of his actions, from sending Gacy topless images of himself to paying a male prostitute for information is uncomfortable. But it also interestingly makes Jason a very selfish young man who is unable to see that his obsession to write the most killer paper is having an effect on his girlfriend and his family especially his mother who right from the word go fears for what he is doing. That is until it becomes very real for him and he knows he is in over his head and has messed up.

As to how "Dear Mr. Gacy" plays out, well whilst it is based on a true story I won't say because whilst the power of the movie is in the characters the aspect of what is going to happen as Gacy gets his psychological hooks into Moss is just as fascinating.

What this all boils down to is that "Dear Mr. Gacy" is a fascinating and well acted drama which you don't need to know about John Wayne Gacy and what he did to watch. But it is at times an uncomfortable movie to watch especially the further you get in and become aware of how much of a manipulator Gacy was.

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