Dec 30, 2010

Dear Mr. Gacy

I used to be friends with a hot young lady (like Soiled Sinema, she has the initials SS) that was pen pals with pseudo-Satanic serial killer Richard Ramirez during her high school years. Being the sweetheart she was, my friend scanned the letters she received from Ramirez and sent them to me online so that I could read them. I immediately realized Ramirez's letters were completely and utterly unintentionally hilarious. Aside from being sub-literate like most Mexican metalheads, Ricky Retardo’s letters were full of childish questions such as asking my friend what her favorite color was. In the film Dear Mr. Gacy, we see the true story unfold of a college student named Jason Moss who starts hustling (for a college thesis) the cunning yet obnoxiously bloated serial killer John Wayne Gacy through via snail mail. Unfortunately for Jason Moss, when you start playing games with big gay Gacy, you’re playing for keeps as the disgusting killer leaves no young man untouched. 

Jason's present to Gacy

I really do not understand the American obsession of worshiping serial killers as Saintly media darlings. After all, John Wayne Gacy has become as popular and iconically American as Hollywood cowboy John Wayne. Aside from torturing, sodomizing, and slaughtering adolescent males on the side, John Wayne Gacy was living his life as an upstanding American citizen, juggling multiples roles (businessman, community organizer, and clown), even taking a photograph with former first lady Rosalynn Carter. For those that hate clowns, John Wayne Gacy also makes the ultimate devil as contrived funnyman “Pogo The Clown.” I found out about Gacy’s crimes as a young child and I have not been able to look at clowns the same way ever since. The only clowns that have horrified me in a similar despicably vainglorious way as Gacy is those horrendous Dago jokesters featured in Fellini’s I clowns (1970). In the humorless words of Morrissey, That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore in regard to the John Wayne Gacy featured in Dear Mr. Gacy as the man now wears the uniform of a dead man walking. Of course, Gacy has his last young male suitor in mind in this film, even if it is just to get into the college boy’s dangerously inquisitive mind. 

Dear Mr. Gacy was directed by Macedonian director Svetozar Ristovski who cites auteur directors ranging from Robert Bresson to Stanley Kubrick as influencing his own brand of filmmaking. When watching Dear Mr. Gacy, nothing is really impressive about the filmmaking, aside from the dark shades of colorlessness featured throughout the film which compliments the overall dark feeling that this motion picture resonates. Immediately, unlikeable protagonist Jason Moss attempts to entice John Wayne Gacy, sending him erotic photographs of himself (taken by his own brother) and writing the sad sadist clown provocative letters. Jesse’s becomes obsessed with Gacy and ruins his relationships with his girlfriend in the process. Gacy is played charismatically by William Forsythe, expressing the various dimensions (and multiple personalities) of the all-American serial killer. I do not know whether or not it was the director intention or not but near the end of the film, Gacy becomes a more likeable character than Jason. Like Gacy, Jesse has proven that he is willing to screw over anyone to get what he wants. The difference is that Jesse lacks the testicular fortitude to carry out his desires whereas Gacy has gone all the way, hence why serial killers seem to be so well respected by their American admirers. 

Jason Moss and John Wayne Gacy, 1994

Not only did the real-life Jason Moss correspond with Gacy but he also traded letters with other notorious serial killers such as Jeffrey Dahmer and Henry Lee Lucas. Moss came up with the extra cliché title The Last Victim for his memoir as a serial killer fanboy. What makes the title especially cliché is the fact that Jason Moss would take his life years after writing his memoir. This makes one wonder what exactly lead Moss to suicide, the guilt of dealing with God’s unholy men or the weakness of his own mind giving way after being exposed to those with mental aberrations worse than his own. Whatever the reason, knowing the background behind Dear Mr. Gacy makes the film much more interesting but does not save the film from being a piece of subpar sinema. After all, I found Mark Holton (Pee-Wee Herman’s nemesis in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure) to be a much scarier Gacy in the direct-to-video release Gacy. When it comes down to it, no one makes a creepier cinematic clown than unsweet transvestite Tim Curry. 

-Ty E

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