TOO TRUE TO BE REAL
A Video Review of “Ed Gein” also known as “In the Light of the Moon”
Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker
The real Ed Gein was quite a piece of work. In late 1957 he was convicted of necrophilia, cannibalism and of course murder. He was perhaps America’s first famous serial killer. He was the inspiration for both Psycho and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and to a degree probably Tom Harris’ Hannibal Lector. Who knows, he probably inspired other real serial killers as well.
The film Ed Gein opens and closes with real footage of the real man, his arrest, his neighbors and his home. In some ways this verification that it really happened is more startling than what appears at first to be just another horror movie.
Of course most of the movie is speculation because for the time Gein spent in a mental hospital until his death in 1984 he said little and, unlike predecessors like Charles Manson, never talked to the press. As far as based on truth this film suffers from the same disease as Oliver Stone’s Nixon, no one was around to witness most of the scenes depicted.
Ed Gein is ably played by the creepy Steve Railsback who also coincidentally played Charles Manson in the TV mini-series “Helter Skelter.” Gein’s domineering mother is portrayed by horror veteran Carrie Snodgress (Silent Night, Deadly Night, The Fury).
It is slow at points but very involving. It is a matter knowing what’s coming and not knowing what’s coming, a kind of a twisted suspense as demented as the film’s subject. There are some disturbing images recreated by prop folks as far as Gein’s house, furnishings and ultimately Gein’s hallucinations and the murder scenes themselves. The horror is more in the truth than on the screen.
See it at your own risk. Gein may be the inspiration for today’s serial killers but he was also one of the worst as well as the first.