The phenomenon that is the serial killer will never fail to intrigue. Whether it be the sombre documentary, the sensationalised slasher flick, music lyrics, books, comic or otherwise, we lap it all up, with preferably as much bloody detail as possible. John Wayne Gacy is a source of particular fascination, any sane person struggling with the concept of a man who dressed up as a jolly fat clown in his role as local entertainer, but lived a sideline as a brutal killer and rapist. And yet, so it was.
Also fascinated with him was Jason Moss, the real-life central character of this film, who, as a college student, wrote to serial killers in prison, believing he could learn—and reveal—more about what made them tick. His findings were detailed in a book by the title of The Last Victim, and Dear Mr. Gacy is its filmic adaptation. We follow Jason as he establishes a relationship with Gacy, who, at the time, was on death row. The killer’s letters are immediately explicit, but, believing himself in control, the student continues with his project.
As their relationship develops to even conversing on the phone, Jason is under increased pressure to satisfy Gacy, who attempts to persuade him into selling his body on the street, and send photos of his younger brother. It doesn’t take long for the killer to become possessive and threatening, and this all culminates in a face-to-face prison visit. Needless to say, said visit is not a success, or at least, not for Jason…
Low budget, not particularly well acted, and with a basic script, somehow, this film elicits goosebumps. The idea that an imprisoned killer is able to reach out and control a person is unbelievable, but here it is, a story that chills, despite its aforementioned failings.
Jason Moss took his life in 2006, seven years after his book was published. One cannot help but ponder if his close shave with evil pushed him towards this… perhaps he really was Gacy’s last victim.
Dear Mr. Gacy is available on Region 1 DVD and Blu-ray now