Docu-series review: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes

Netflix is back with yet another serial killer docu-series, this time with ‘Conversations with a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes.’

The series, which was directed by Joe Berlinger, consists of three hour-long episodes, which investigate the crimes of serial killer John Wayne Gacy, who killed 33 young men and boys over the course of six years.

Gacy famously became known as the ‘killer clown’ as he used to perform in children’s hospitals prior to his crimes.

The series is engaging for the most part, and is structured in a way that doesn’t bore readers, by including different interviews throughout.

It contains interviews with families of some of the victims, a survivor, and police and prosecutors from the case, which makes it feel like we’re gaining both new and credible information.

Each episode progresses on from the last, which means that there is little to no repetition and it doesn’t bore watchers.

Previously unreleased tape recordings play throughout the series, which were taken from an interview from November 1979 to April 1980, when Gacy was awaiting trial for murder.

Listening to the recordings is chilling, as they do not give an insight into Gacy’s motivations behind the killings, but instead portray him defending himself and ignoring questions asked.

One of the most interesting parts of the series as a whole is the depth that they went into regarding context.

The murders took place in the 1970s, and Gacy targeted vulnerable young teenagers and men who were vulnerable to being taken advantage of.

When one male victim reported that Gacy had sexually assaulted him to the police, it was explained that they didn’t take it seriously as ‘the police didn’t understand that a man could be raped by another man.’

This is quite shocking to consider in today’s society, and gives an insight as to why it took to long to catch him.

However, as a whole the series does feel very similar to others that Netflix has released – for example, The Ted Bundy Tapes – and could have maybe been condensed into two episodes rather than three.

That being said, the docu-series is definitely worth a watch, especially if you’re not familiar with the crimes, as it gives an informative overview of the case.

Click here to watch ‘Conversations with a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes’ on Netflix.

Featured image: Unsplash

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