Dear Mr. Gacy is a 2010 Canadian drama thriller film directed by Svetozar Ristovski from a screenplay by Kellie Madison. The film is based on Jason Moss’s 1999 memoir, The Last Victim: A True-Life Journey into the Mind of the Serial Killer.
The focus of the film is Moss’ real-life interaction with serial killer John Wayne Gacy, who was convicted of murdering thirty-three young men and boys.
Screenwriter Kellie Madison approached Clark Peterson, executive producer of Monster (about serial killer Aileen Wuornos, 2003) to attempt to bring the Moss-Gacy story to life. It was during the course of their discussions with Moss, who was thrilled at the prospect of developing his novel into a film, that they learned of his suicide on June 6, 2006. After an appropriate period of time had passed, they approached Moss’ widow and ultimately were able to gain acceptance of the proposal, and Dear Mr. Gacy was developed.
As part of his college thesis, Jason Moss (Jesse Moss), a criminology student, decides to write to John Wayne Gacy and attempt to gain his trust through impersonating a typical victim or admirer.
Moss sends a carefully crafted letter to John Wayne Gacy (William Forsythe) in prison, portraying himself as a vulnerable, sexually confused boy. The letter is an intricate plan to get inside Gacy’s head in hopes of uncovering new information regarding his murders that will aid Moss in writing a standout term paper.
The film unfolds as Gacy, suspicious at first, puts Moss through intense emotional tests via letters and collect calls, all of which leads to strained relationships with his girlfriend and family. Gacy tries to convince Moss to become a hustler, and Moss lies about having his wallet stolen by a client. After hearing that, Gacy offers to have the man’s penis cut off, saying he’s very protective of people he’s close to.
Jason becomes paranoid, meanwhile, and has several mental attacks as he becomes increasingly crazy.
Once Gacy hears that his last appeal failed and he will be executed soon, he offers to pay for Jason to visit him in prison. Jason agrees after getting a call from the warden, who says the two will not be in the same room and there will be guards. Jason also speaks to a victim of Gacy’s who escaped, who doesn’t want him to go. After Jason arrives, he finds out he will be in the same room with Gacy and the guard leaves…
“I don’t know enough about Gacy to say with any certainty that Forsythe captured the essence of the serial killer, but he sure did capture the essence of a sick bastard, that’s for sure. On the rare occasion that they showed flashbacks of Gacy before he went to prison doing his… thing… it was not pleasant to watch.” Christopher Armstead, Film Critics United
” … not nearly as thorough as the book. Despite that the story progresses faster and omits much detail, it’s one of the better serial killer movies. If you have an interest in the subject, serial killers in particular, I recommend both The Last Victim and Dear Mr. Gacy.” Loretta Sisco, Biff Bam Pop!
“The movie could definitely use some tightening; 102 minutes is pretty long for a film in which nothing happens, especially when they are sticking to the facts – we know Gacy won’t escape and come to the kid’s house or something, so after a while I just wanted them to get to the main event – Moss visiting Gacy.” Bloody Disgusting
Cast and characters:
- Jesse Moss as Jason Moss
- William Forsythe as John Wayne Gacy
- Emma Lahana as Alyssa
- Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman as Diego
- Patrick Gilmore as Glen Phillips
- Andrew Airlie as Professor Harris
- Cole Heppell as Alex Moss
- Belinda Metz as Valerie
- Michaela Mann as Autumn
- Michael Kopsa as FBI Agent
- Eric Keenleyside as Stan
- Daryl Shuttleworth as Thompson
- Brett Dier as Marcus
- Jaren Brandt-Bartlett as Mike
- Hunter Elliott as Tim Carsey
- Kai Kennedy as Bobby
Vancouver, British Columbia