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To Catch a Killer (1992)

Unrated | | Biography, Crime, Drama | TV Movie 15 May 1992
"To Catch a Killer" tells the true gruesome story of John Wayne Gacy - a good friend and helpful neighbour, a great child entertainer, a respectful businessman, and a violent serial killer ... See full summary »


Eric Till


Jud Kinberg
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »


Learn more

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Brian Dennehy ... John Wayne Gacy
Michael Riley ... Joe Kozenczak
Margot Kidder ... Rachel Grayson
Meg Foster ... Attorney Carlson
Martin Julien ... Koslo
Scott Hylands ... Paxton
David Eisner David Eisner ... Williams
John Boylan John Boylan ... Atkins
Tony De Santis ... DeMarco (as Tony DeSantis)
Mark Humphrey ... King
Gary Reineke Gary Reineke ... Petrie
Tim Progosh ... Morris
Danny Pawlick Danny Pawlick ... Santori
Bruce Ramsay ... Bragg
Brenda Bazinet ... Alice Pearson


"To Catch a Killer" tells the true gruesome story of John Wayne Gacy - a good friend and helpful neighbour, a great child entertainer, a respectful businessman, and a violent serial killer who raped and murdered over 30 young boys. Written by Jaromir Krol <jaromirk@kr.onet.pl>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



Canada | USA



Release Date:

15 May 1992 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

To Catch a Killer See more »

Filming Locations:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(video) | (video) | (video)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


While Gacy continuously makes fun of Kozenczak's Polish heritage throughout the film, Gacy himself was actually of Polish descent. See more »


One of Gacy's potential victims is shown wearing a Michael Jordan t-shirt. Jordan would have been a junior in high school at the time of the murders. See more »


John Wayne Gacy: Oh Mr. Policeman, don't you know a clown can get away with murder?
See more »

Alternate Versions

When the movie first came out; in the closing narration, the narrator said Gacy was on Death Row. But after Gacy's execution in 1994, it was changed and the narrator said instead "Gacy would be on Death Row for 14 years till finally being executed". See more »


Version of The World's Astonishing News!: John Wayne Gacy (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

31 October 2006 | by MarieGabrielleSee all my reviews

Brian Dennehey BECOMES John Wayne Gacy, as you watch this film you can only imagine the horrible fate of the victims.

The beginning starts out with Robert Piest, well portrayed, who is picked up by Gacy for construction work (this was his method of trolling for young boys). Gacy owned his own contracting company in Des Plaines, Illinois.

The actress who is Piest's mother is heart-rending; as she pleads with the police to take her son's disappearance seriously. In the Chicago area a missing person is nothing new, but it was her birthday and Rob never showed up. ..." He would never run away from home... he is not that type of boy"..., she mentions, and Detective Joe Koczenczak (very well portrayed by Michael Riley) takes notice of the situation.

Dennehey is superb, when the police first visit Gacy's house in Des Plaines, we can feel the menacing evil and rage simmering just below the surface. Gacy shows the police his pictures with Rosalynn Carter, his promotion as manager of Kentucky Fried Chicken, and his "commendations" for contributions to local police and firefighters (a fixation common among sociopaths; they are very high functioning, and socially enjoy manipulating authority figures).

Gacy also apparently used drugs to lure young men to his house, there are several scenes where he uses Qualuudes, and the detectives are following him, realizing the extent of his social connections. What is so horrifying is that, on the surface, Gacy was a well-liked businessman who had many friends. He was not a reclusive psycho who stood out in the crowd.

As Detective Koczenczack becomes more frustrated trying to mount evidence against Gacy he is thwarted many times by D.A. Meg Foster, who cannot make a case if Gacy's rights are violated. The case is interesting and disturbing all the more so because it is true. Margot Kidder also has a cameo as a psychic, who relays to Koczenzack that there are many, many more victims; this will not be an easy case.

The soundtrack at the end, as they are searching for more victims, and pan out over the cemetery, is very haunting. So sad for any of the parents and young men who were affected by this monster, John Wayne Gacy, who was executed in 1994.

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