As many of you know, I have a somewhat morbid fascination with death in all of its various forms. Everyone’s gotta have a hobby, right? Which is why I recently was, um, interested to see ‘Ed Gein’, which chronicles the life of the world’s most infamous serial killer.
Now you may be thinking “Who the heck is Ed Gein? How can he be so infamous if I’ve never even heard of him?” Well, the name might not be familiar, but you definitely seen his work. Take Norman Bates from Psycho, Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs, Ezra Cobb from Deranged and Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre and wrap them all up into one real live person. That’s right. All *FOUR* of these films are based (albeit loosely) on Gein’s life of necrophilia, murder and general all-around f*cked-up-edness. However, as someone who regularly reads crimelibrary.com and watches CSI religiously, I thought I was prepared to watch this film – I was so f*cking wrong.
The thing about Ed Gein is, as with most serial killers, he really, REALLY loves his mother. There’s even one scene where he’s hugging her, like um, Oedipal-ly tight, and she’s all, “What the hell, Ed? You need to cut that shit out.” (It was a bit more Christian-like, but you get the gist.) What’s even odder is his level of devotion to her, despite her proclivity for constantly reading passages from the bible about whores and dousing him with scalding water when he masturbated. I love my mother a lot too, but either one of those would be a deal breaker for me. Needless to say, this treatment, coupled with the complete isolation (his mother was afraid that outsiders would corrupt her family, so she moved them to a remote farm and prevented Gein from making outside friends) is most likely what led Gein to commit these atrocious acts.
Now, I don’t want to spoil the ending for you, but I feel that I should warn you that he has a penchant for digging up bodies and, um, manipulating them. Also, I learned that a particularly memorable passage from (the book) American Psycho (that I remember to this day with perfect clarity and fright, despite having read it over 13 years ago) describing a certain female body part that had been detached from the body and wrapped in a bow was stolen from Gein’s playbook. This. Film. Is. So. F*cked. Up!
The thing is, while it was spectacularly gruesome specimen, it was incredibly true to the actual occurrences (albeit perhaps a bit more reserved in certain sections, if only to maintain the “R” rating). It also does an excellent job of delving into the psyche of Gein, without making him look like a sympathetic character. Overall, it is great film if you are into ultra-shock horror flick, the scariest part being that (and so much more that we’ll probably never know about) is true. Don't plan on eating or sleeping for a day or so after watching this. You were warned.
PHOTO: Um, yeah, I'm not going to post actual photos of him or the film because I'm still way too freaked out. So instead, enjoy this adorable kitten's re-enactment of a pivotal scene in the movie.