GACY: SERIAL KILLER NEXT DOOR is a new crime thriller about one of America’s most twisted serial killers. It’s more “inspired by” than “based on” as it focuses on the clown element. Read our full Gacy: Serial Killer Next Door movie review here!

GACY: SERIAL KILLER NEXT DOOR is a new crime thriller about John Wayne Gacy. Or really, it can only boast about being inspired by his life and crimes. Saying “based on a true story” is grossly over-selling it.

It focuses more on the press gossip and headlines than the facts. A shame, as the true story is at least as shocking as what they’ve cooked up for this movie. Despite not being as bad as the trailer (which is terrible), it isn’t a good movie. Especially not for a movie supposedly dealing in a “true story” or “true crime”.

Continue reading our Gacy: Serial Killer Next Door movie review below. Out On-Demand and Digital from January 30, 2024.

John Wayne Gacy from a teen boy’s perspective

In Gacy: Serial Killer Next Door, we experience John Wayne Gacy from the perspective of a teenage boy. When Gacy moves into the house next door, the teenager’s life suddenly becomes a lot more interesting.

It’s just a quiet suburb, and the boy has a room facing Gacy’s house. That’s why he notices that a lot of young men enter the Gacy residence, but they don’t leave. Also, he doesn’t like John Wayne Gacy as he feels there’s something off.

The teenager, Bobby (Mason McNulty), tries talking to his parents, but this was in the 1970s and they wouldn’t listen to him. Bobby was a child and John Wayne Gacy was an adult, who should be respected.

The character – and it most definitely is a character in this movie – of John Wayne Gacy is portrayed by Mike Korich. While I find him better-looking and more charming than I could ever imagine the real Gacy being, he does a great job. Especially when he turns off the charm and gets dark and sinister.

Mike Korich portrays this serial killer in a way that should lead to more roles for him!

Gacy: Serial Killer Next Door (2024) – Review | Crime Thriller

Inspired by Gacy “The Killer Clown”

Despite being known as “The Killer Clown”, Gacy didn’t dress up as a clown to murder young men and boys. The whole “killer clown”-name comes from him having done public performances as a clown before getting caught for his murders.

However, from watching Gacy: Serial Killer Next Door, you’d think that John Wayne Gacy dressed up as a clown whenever he killed someone. In fact, according to this “based on a true story”-movie, John Wayne Gacy had perfected this part of his serial killer career.

So much that he could put on his clown costume and full clown makeup in just a minute or two. Despite having just shown us in the opening scene that it’s a very time-consuming job.

Anyone who has ever bothered to watch a documentary – or is interested in facts over fiction – will know this. In fact, I would expect that the filmmakers behind Gacy: The Killer Next Door knows this. They just don’t care.

WANT THE TRUE STORY?

Watch the Netflix docu-series The John Wayne Gacy Tapes for some facts >

Sure, he would do tricks that he also used while clowning, but dressing up as a clown wasn’t part of his M.O. as shown in this movie. If you want to create this dark fairytale story about John Wayne Gacy, the least you could do is acknowledge that it’s fiction by saying “inspired by” rather than “based on” to describe the movie.

Find Gacy: Serial Killer Next Door On Demand and Digital

Michael Feifer wrote and directed Gacy: Serial Killer Next Door, which is a movie with a lot of issues. Right down to claiming that it’s “Based on the true story of America’s most twisted serial killer”. Gacy is one of them, but cannot definitively be called “America’s most” anything.

Also, having an official plot that described John Wayne Gacy as a “famed serial killer” is another issue. Infamous, yes. But calling him “famed” as if it’s something positive when it’s just the “Killer Clown”-label? That’s just wrong. Besides, the killer clown thing was just to sell more newspapers.

If anything, it took away from the victims, which is also something this movie does not focus on. There’s more fantasy about Gacy the Killer Clown and details about the family life of the teenage boy next door than any respect for the victims.

The fact that the runtime is only 97 minutes is a good thing, but it could easily have been shorter. Especially as the murder scenes are virtually identical (and very much fiction rather than fact-based). Mike Korich as Gacy is the reason to watch this. Well, in my book anyway.

Gacy: Serial Killer Next Door is out On Demand and Digital from January 30, 2024.

Details

Written & Directed by: Michael Feifer
Cast: Ryker Baloun, Shelby Janes, Mason McNulty, Ashley Ray Keefe, John Omohundro

Plot

A teenager’s life in a quiet suburb changes drastically when John Wayne Gacy, a famed serial killer, becomes his neighbor. His curiosity leads to dark secrets and a frightening journey from innocence to a dire clash with evil.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard