John Wayne Gacy (Mark Holton) is a typical, if rather slobbish, middle-class family man. Heis the local organizer for the Democrats. He also has a bad stench emanating from the crawlspace beneath his house, and the neighbours keep complaining. Gacy has his work cut out forhim dealing with the stench, since it is caused by the rotting bodies of the young men he hasmurdered.
The lurid qualities of Gacy’s crimes mean that this film could have been an unwatchableexercise in b…d taste. Instead, writer/director Clive Saunders aims for satire, and for the most partscores a solid hit. The society that allows someone like Gacy (who isn’t that smart) to operatewith impunity for as long as he did is mocked as completely as is Gacy himself. There is verylittle plot to the film, and there are some rough patches, but its creation of a grungy, repellentatmosphere is superb, and its understated satire is strong.
There isn’t much by way of environmental creation here, so there isn’t a lot with which therear speakers can work. There is some minor surround (such as low-key forest sounds during theopening scene), but for the most part, music aside, the film could have worked almost as well inmono. The dialogue, unfortunately, falls prey to buzzing distortion a fair bit.
The fullscreen picture has rather murky, washed-out colours, but these fit the mood of thepiece. The picture is sharp enough, for the most part. There are some grainy shots, however. not asparkling transfer, then, but one that is very much in keeping with the spirit of the movie.
Mark Holton is joined by producers Larry Ratner and Susan Rodgers on the commentarytrack. They provide plenty of behind-the-scenes information, but I do wish Clive Saunders hadtaken part, as it would have been interesting to know more about how he saw his movie. Theonly other extra is the trailer. The main screen of the menu is scored.
Not for everyone, naturally. But if the subject matter already interests you, you’ll likely bequite impressed with the film itself.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary