Conversations With a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes Review – Shocking and Horrifyingly Intriguing

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Conversations With a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes, a three-part series from Netflix and Director Joe Berlinger, presents an intimate portrayal of an American serial killer, his victims, and the police ineptitude that enabled him.

The series begins with a psychologist, a former friend of the final Gacy victim, Robert Piest, a 15-year-old local kid from Des Plaines, Illinoisa suburb of Chicago, who describes the day Robert went missing. It was cold, winter in Chicago and she was working the register at Nisson Pharmacy, and she asked him if she could wear his coat. By accident she slipped a film developing receipt in his jacket pocket.

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The local contractor, John Wayne Gacy, came into the store he was bidding on a remodeling job. Robert heard he was paying twice what he was earning at Nisson and was hoping he would hire him. Gacy was well known in the community, a democratic precinct captain, he had lavish block parties at his home, and he had a successful contracting business. So, he asked for his coat back and ran after Gacy. Robert Piest disappeared that day.

By this point unbeknownst to the community Gacy had killed 32 other men and boys. We travel through Gacy's life and realize there were early signs in his life. The details of the horrors he inflicted have created a blockade and few are willing to look behind the false wall to his earlier days.

Berlinger takes us down that road to Waterloo, Iowa where a young Gacy aspired for a life in politics. He was married with two children. His homosexual urges, which at that time he was able to sedate, were nearly non-existent. There are two stories from Gacy victims which are presented, both were able to escape. For his first crime, he was sentenced to a decade in prison.

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After his release he moved to Chicago, began a construction business, and attempted to move toward his political hopes. Soon he was a beloved local contractor, praised and protected in the neighborhood, served the democratic party, met First Lady Roslyn Carter, and part-time clown-for-hire.

Robert Piest became Gacy's downfall. Throughout the tapes, it is obvious that if Gacy had left this local boy alone, it is no telling how long he could have maintained his double life or even if he would have ever been caught.

He explains through the tapes, his usual method. He would pick up a drifter, or troll the local gay prostitute hangout and pick up a target. Gacy deplored homosexuals. Throughout the tapes when he explains the difference between him and homosexuals, he is very clear of his beliefs and his delusion. Each time he murdered, he would either repour cement in his outside garage or find a way to lodge these bodies into the sludge under his home.

Throughout the unearthed audio between Gacy and his defense team, is interwoven between stories from victims who escaped, police who were investigating Robert Piest's disappearance, Gacy's own lawyer, and victim's family members.

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The tapes provide perspective on the narcissistic mindset of the murderer and a deeper understanding of how he operated for so long with impunity.

The footage of the excavation of Gacy's crawl space unearthed 32 bodies. Over the years all but nine of Gacy's victims were identified. With the advances in DNA, fifty years later, DNA scientists are still trying to identify every one of the victims.

Conversations with a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes premieres on Netflix April 20. Horrifyingly intriguing, alarming, and shocking. See it.

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Country: USA.

Language: English.

Release date: April 20, 2022.

Runtime: Three Episodes/56 minutes

Director: Joe Berlinger.

Executive Producer: Joe Berlinger, Catharine Park, Jon Doran, Jen Isaacson, Jon Kamen, Mike Mathis.

Co-Executive Producer: Ted Schillinger.