Conversations with a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes Review: Homophobia, Murder and Investigations

Conversations with a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes is the second entry after Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. The Limited Series has 3 episodes, each with a runtime of around an hour. The series focuses on serial killer John Wayne Gacy, who had murdered and raped at least 33 men and boys in his ranch home in Norridge, metropolitan Chicago, Illinois.

Netflix describes the series as:

He dined with the powerful. He preyed on the vulnerable. Beneath a smiling exterior was the horrifying darkness of a sadistic serial killer.

– Conversations with a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes review does not contain spoilers –

The last instalment of Conversations with a Killer, the one on Ted Bundy, was absolutely thrilling to watch. It was a great documentary and adding to that the horrible and chilling Ted Bundy himself, it was honestly a great addition for all the true-crime junkies out there. The John Wayne Gacy Tapes starts off with Robert Piest’s disappearance and slowly creeps into Gacy’s life. We jump from his personal to his professional to his criminal life in a manner that adds to the tension of the Limited Series.

The victims’ testaments are what will keep you thoroughly glued to the screen. Plus, as you listen to Gacy try to dismiss and downplay his heinous crimes on tape, it comes off as a juxtaposition between what is true and what the perpetrator is thinking about. The 60 hours of unheard tapes are what is the life-blood of this show. It’s chilling, almost scary, listening to his voice trying to excuse his actions and discuss shocking incidents with a calm demeneour.

As we hear Gacy’s thrilling point of view, we also hear those of the authorities, the ones who were following him and investigating him – the ones who brought him to justice. Was he a psychopath or was it an outcome of him trying to hide his sexual orientation? That, probably, doesn’t matter but is extremely interesting to think about nonetheless. The real fear comes from how much the community knew Gacy and revered him. How young boys just disappeared around Gacy and no one really doubted him… until one fateful night.

But nabbing criminals isn’t as easy as the movies tell you. As we hear what the investigators had to go through to catch Gacy, who was extremely manipulative and intelligent, we are left with this aching sense of dread and melancholy for his victims, the ones who suffered the most and the victims’ families as well, who are left to pick up the pieces of one sadistic man’s twisted fantasies.

The series focuses on the investigation of the Piest case but also showcases the heartbreak of the missing victims’ families. We jump between the investigation and the tapes of the past. The investigation doesn’t follow the old cases but the extra angle of the families talking about the effects of losing someone adds an extra layer of heartbreak, rage and fear one might feel while listening to Gacy’s voice on the recording.

Also Read: Anatomy of a Scandal Review: Sienna Miller Starrer Hangs Between Erotic Thriller & Courtroom Drama

The John Wayne Gacy Tapes
Still From Conversations with a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes

The series, otherwise, has similar attributes as those of previous true-crime documentaries. There are interviews, crime scene photos and videos and of course, the recording. It’s interesting to hear the different accounts, especially Gacy’s defence attorney realizing whom he has been defending for so many days. Another interesting angle is how society and police perceived homosexuality at that point.

Let’s be honest, society isn’t quite there yet when it comes to accepting anything but heterosexuality. How someone else’s sexual preferences have any bearing on other people is beyond me, but that’s a conversation for another time. Anyway, the 70s, more so, were a time when homosexuality or crimes involving the same sex were not taken too seriously. Although the police did rise to the occasion after a while, it still took too many lives to be given for Gacy to be brought to justice. It just goes to show that when you don’t look at what is happening right in front of you, something so heinous just goes unpunished.

Summing up: Conversations with a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes

The John Wayne Gacy Tapes
Still From Conversations with a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes

The John Wayne Gacy Tapes is a shocking but easy watch. I think I was more into The Ted Bundy Tapes when it comes to fear. Regardless, I was hooked throughout and the story is horrible enough to give you goosebumps. Oh, and the shocking homophobia as well – that’s horrible to watch.

Conversations with a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes is streaming on Netflix.

Also Read: White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch Review: The Questions it Could Have Asked But Didn’t

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Conversations with a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes looks at one of the most prolific serial killers out there.

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Conversations with a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes looks at one of the most prolific serial killers out there.Conversations with a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes Review: Homophobia, Murder and Investigations