Many movies have attempted to portray the great serial killers of our time – serial killers have had a cold and murderous hand on pop culture’s throat dating back to Hitchcock’s The Lodger and Fritz Lang’s M. It’s rich and well-tilled material that has birthed more than one classic, as well as more than its share of swill. While many serial killers have had their turn on the big screen, none have inspired the true classics that Ed Gein has: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Silence of the Lambs. and Psycho. Being a fan of serial killer films in general, I decided to watch Chuck Parellos’ portrayal of old Eddie in, “Ed Gein: In the Light of the Moon.” And shockingly, I was quite pleased.
Steve Railsback, the talented actor who also played Charles Manson in the miniseries “Helter Skelter,” brings Ed Gein back from the grave in an eerily accurate portrayal – he is the quiet, strange and troubled soul of Plainfield, Wisconsin that we’ve all come to know him as. Flashbacks haunt him frequently, his house a vivid portrayal of his cluttered mind, while he indulges in his macabre hobbies to pass the time. Unlike in The Butcher of Plainfield, Chuck Parello takes a much more quiet and calm approach, showing us a picture of Ed in his natural, progressing, depressed state. Sadly, there are no gruesome kills, no tearing flesh or making masks, just a haunted, harrowing trip into Ed’s mind. Which is a rather nice viewpoint, for those of us so inclined to be interested in getting to know the motives of the killer rather than seeing him get up to his oft-portrayed dirty work.
By watching this movie we’re able to get closer to Ed, to see all the facts, the facets. Of course, there are some minor twists to the tale for narrative’s sake, but nothing too terrible. So: grab a piece of apple pie with cheese sprinkled on top, and travel back in time to the 1950’s town that nurtured one of Americas most macabre men. You’ll find yourself up close and intimate with Ed, and you might just find you like it.