Dear Mr. Gacy (2010)

Dear Mr Gacy is the true life story of Jason Moss, an 18-year-old college student at UNLV who established relationships with John Wayne Gacy, Richard Ramirez, Henry Lee Lucas, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Charles Manson as part of his final year thesis. He obtained samples of correspondence from and interviews with these men. The most prolific of these was with John Wayne Gacy.

Played by William Forsythe, Gacy is pure fictional serial killer, rather than the paranoid mumbler he was in real life. He’s smooth, charming and witty. He’s also sympathetic. You can almost forgive him the 33 murders he committed… Okay that’s a lie, but when you put movie-Gacy up against movie-Moss, he almost comes off the victor.

Dear Mr. Gacy is an engaging film, but only if you take everything you watch with a pinch of salt. Moss’s memoir, The Last Victim, raised several eyebrows when it first came out, with some arguing that Moss embellished what happened with Gacy.

Whether the writer, Kellie Madison, took this on board and deliberately went out of her way to portray Moss as an egomaniac is debatable. Moss killed himself during the initial production and they only carried on after talks with his fiancee. I find it hard to believe she was told the full story. In Dear Mr. Gacy, Jason Moss (Jesse Moss) is a fidgety ball of angst. No one understands his great plan (which begins with him sending pictures of himself oiled up to Gacy) and as the movie progresses, and he falls under Gacy’s spell, he becomes a bit of a shit. He fights with his girlfriend, his parents and even contemplates sending pictures of his younger brother to Gacy in the hopes of getting some sort of exclusive. Bear in mind, that we’re talking about a college paper here. When the leads finally meet, you almost cheer as Gacy threatens a bit of violence, such is the sniveling nature of Moss.

As biopics go, this doesn’t doesn’t really shed any light on the man known as Pogo the Clown, nor does it explain Moss’s motives as being any more than a desire for an A grade. All of which is a shame, as otherwise this is a solid effort for a TV movie.

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