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There's normal, there's abnormal, and then there's Ed.
zBirdman17 August 2002
I caught this film on cable expecting a real waste of time (hey, I wasn't busy), but was very surprised to see that there was a lot more to this movie than it seems on the surface.

Yes, 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre', 'Psycho', 'Silence of the Lambs', and numerous other films have been "loosely" based on the story of Ed. These are all far better horror movies and, with the exception of 'Psycho', depend very heavily on blood & guts. However, all three of those films were fictional accounts. There's something considerably more horrific about the fact that these events actually happened (although many names were changed to protect the innocent/dead/consumed).

Yet another case of showing what happens when children are raised without a sense of love, compassion or happiness. Jeffery Dahmer's problems had very similar origins, as did several other serial killers (and, I'm sure, many who are still out there). Instead of 'love and affection', Ed and his brother are given large doses of 'fire & brimstone'... Ed accepts this without question, although his brother does not (much to Ed's dismay), and the combination of the twisted religious concepts his mother imposed upon him (to her, there seemed to be no good in the Bible, only 'Revelations' and in particular the 'Whore of Babylon', which all other women seemed to be in her mind... upon which most of his killings are attributed to, granted through his schizophrenic delusions of his mother).

Regardless of what made him what he turned out to be, the sensationalistic qualities of the true events are better left for those who wish to learn more. This film touches on much of the creepiness, but explains little motivation (aside from his religious 'logic')... I believe this is intentional, as the movie is really telling the life story of Ed Gein rather than describing his tabloid exploits.

Oddly enough, I was not left with a feeling of disgust, repulsion or anger with Ed; Ed was a surprisingly sympathetic character that you feel more pathos for than anything else. Steve Railsback again has done a wonderful job of portraying a historical sicko (after his wild-eyed performance as Charlie Manson in 'Helter Skelter'), and is utterly convincing.

This is a psychological profile rather than a case history. They hint at several motivations in the film (his comment at the bar of "...any of y'all fellas ever considered changing your sex, like they do in Sweden?", his 'skin suit', his 'rituals' where he is attempting to resurrect his dead mother, etc), but ultimately it is simply the delusions of his mother that drive him to action... actions, which in most case, Ed really seems to object to; but being a loyal son, he obeys his mother.

They do not focus on the truly bizarre elements, such as the skull bowls or the skin lampshades, because for the most part this film is told through the mind of Ed... and these things would have been nothing special to Ed, just another hobby like books on Nazi atrocities, cannibalism, shrunken heads, and taxidermy. To him, these artifacts were simple furnishings that he didn't think twice about. I also question that the skull bowls were something that were used a lot; I believe that they were the equivalent of his 'fine china' that he brought out for special occasions (like have his next dinner over for dinner).

My wife felt that Ed should not have been found insane because he knew what he was doing was wrong. I disagree with that. While he may have known that what he was doing could get him in trouble, were he to get caught, he clearly felt that he was doing what mother told him to do, which for him was the 'right' thing to do... never mind the fact that he accepts these instructions from a delusion (compare this to Russell Crowe's character in 'A Beautiful Mind'... he has delusions as well, but he ultimately acknowledges them as delusions and can ignore them... Ed is so focused on bringing his mother back, that he wouldn't ignore his delusion even if he knew she was not real - it might seem strange to compare the two films, but I happened to see them back to back).

In the end, do we learn anything new? Not really. Do we learn anything about ourselves? Not really. Do we learn anything about human nature? Only that we seem to be fascinated with these sort of aberrations. Serial killers and mass murderers have become the 'freak show' of modern times, and it's ok to stare at them... at least, that's the way it seems. The film 'bookends' with actual footage of his neighbors at the beginning of the film talking about what a quiet, normal guy Ed was, and ends with actual footage of the real Ed being hauled away by the police.

To say that the aforementioned films were based on the life of Ed is like saying that a film about chopping down trees is based on the life of George Washington; they only take snippets of his tale. "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" takes the 'leatherface' mask, bone sculptures and indirect cannibalism (since they are selling the meat, it is a different type of cannibalism), but Ed certainly had no commercial operation; "Psycho" takes the aspects of his isolation, taxidermic skills, and the delusions of his domineering dead mother; "Silence of the Lambs" takes the cannibalism (true cannibalism, which Ed was a 'fan' of), the sexual identity issues, and the idea of dressing up as a woman (as opposed to dressing up LIKE a woman)... but none of these are as horrible as what really happened. To tell the true story of Ed Gein, in full Technicolor blood & guts, would be far more than what most audiences could stomach...

Not a bad film, not a great film. Great performance by Railsback. Best to see if you know a little bit about Ed to begin with, but not required... the actual atrocities are not as interesting as the man himself and how he came to be what he was.
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Fairly Accurate of the Real Story
aesgaard412 January 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I put off seeing this for a while because I was lead to believe it would be made as a splatter and gore picture than a recreation of the real story. When I finally saw it, I was pleasantly surprised and impressed at the level of research that actually went into this. The recreations and re-enactments are filled with actual quotes ("Ed, why is it that every time someone vanishes you are around?") that it becomes almost how the way it must have happened. Steve Railsback, who once convinced us that he was Charlie Manson in "Helter Skelter," again convinces us that he is Ed Gein. His portrayal is very sympathetic and the score and flashbacks to certain key events in his life certainly augment the story as it moves along. Several of the characters in the movie, however, turn out to be representatives or amalgamations of characters of one or more characters. Berneice Worden is renamed Collette Marshall and her son Frank Worden is now Brian Hillman. Mary Hogan, however, is Mary Hogan because no living relatives could be found for her in order to get permission to use her in the movie. Of course, you can't overlook the numerous references that would later inspire Hitchcock's "Psycho." The preserved room, the voice of mother, the split personality and the sheer shock value all made their way to the fictional story of Norman Bates. Ed Gein/In The Light Of The Moon is basically what a true horror film should be. A highly intelligent plot with suspense and intrigue where the antagonist can be sympathetic and not just a ruthless killing machine in a hockey mask that does nothing but conjure blood and vomit.
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"I hope you're hungry cuz I been a cookin'."
Backlash00715 February 2004
Ed Gein, appropriately titled, follows the life of murderer and cannibal Ed Gein. And what a lovely story it is. Ed and his dead mother have been the centerpiece for many movies. Of all the films based on Gein (Psycho, TCM, Silence of the Lambs), this may be the most reality based. However, it is also the dullest. I'm not saying it's a boring film. On the contrary it's very interesting. But when compared to those other films, it just seems lacking. There's not much gore and you don't really get to see him kill anyone. So why invest time with the film you ask. Because of Steve Railsback. Railsback performs wonderfully as the demented momma's boy. It's a joy to just sit back and watch him act. His last lines of the film are especially disturbing. This is the best of the current serial killer film craze that I have seen thus far however I do prefer the 70's film Deranged as a much creepier representation of Ed Gein's life.
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Low budget hurts, but it's still good
preppy-319 August 2002
True story of Ed Gein who, in the 1950s, killed women or dug up their corpses and...well, just guess! Gein was the inspiration for "Psycho".

This is a factual account of what happened. There is an earlier film (1972) called "Deranged" which basically told the same story. "Deranged" is a very good, very scary and extremely gruesome movie which played fast and loose with some of the facts. This one sticks to them. It's nowhere near as sick as the earlier film and isn't even that violent or bloody (except for a scene at the end), but it made me feel uneasy. Steve Railsback's excellent performance helps. You see the madness behind his mild-mannered exterior. Also there's a solid supporting cast and some good, spooky direction. The low budget does show (some of the sets look incredibly cheap) but the film does work.

Not for the screamish or weak of stomach.
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ED GEIN: A Woman in a Man's Body
Matthew Janovic6 August 2005
This movie gets a lot more criticism than it generally deserves. Indeed, it is extremely low-budget, but it basically nails the whole point of Ed Gein better than anyone ever has, or possibly ever will. What seems to disappoint most people is the fact that the film sticks so closely to the story of what happened. The reality is, Ed Gein was not a serial-killer in any respect, and murdered two women who he may have felt resembled his dead-mother. What he is most remembered for, in-reality, are the ghoulish-excavations and "articulations" of dead-bodies.

It's very difficult for us to imagine in 2005 how much of a bombshell Ed Gein was in late-1950s America. In-fact, it's my own humble opinion that we still haven't entirely coped with the knowledge of such aberrant-behavior. Why do people do such things? Sometimes, there are no clear-answers, but the makers of "Ed Gein" have shed some much-needed light on what is known about Gein's metamorphosis into a full-blown ghoul. Surprisingly, a great-deal of the psychological subtext of his life has leaked-into films "based" on his "true story." Most successful-of-all--naturally--is Hitchcock's "Psycho," but Steve Railsback and Chuck Parello have shown us a very clear scenario into why Ed Gein became the man we know-of today. Gein was basically bisexual and had a strong-desire to BE a woman, like his mother.

As stated in "Psycho" so well, he wanted to "...become his mother," in a sad-attempt to "bring her back" to life. His father was a pathetic-drunk, and as is well-known, his mother had a god-like dominance (coupled with religious-fanaticism and sociopathic-attitudes)over the young boy. Ed was also deeply-traumatized by an incident on the family farm where he saw his parents slaughtering a pig--Ed was unable to assist them, and was often called a "panty-waist" by his mother. The incident, and a few others, are enacted convincingly by Parello and company, and much of the film takes-place in Gein's head (where it belongs).

There are a few continuity-errors: the headlights of a car are clearly from the 1990s in one insert-shot, and there are a few moments where the production-design could have been closer to what 1950s America looked-like. But, all-in-all, you have the definitive film on Ed Gein. It's all here, in all its pathetic-glory. This is what happens when someone is neglected by family and society spiritually and medically;this was simply a sick man who needed help. Nobody did until it was too-late. This isn't sexy and exciting to gore-hounds and thrill-seekers who come to a film like this not to learn something, but merely to stimulate their hunger for viscera. Excellent film! How can you lose with ole' Steve Railsback, anyway?

Postscript: It seems possible Mr. Railsback was a target-for-death of Mr. Robert Blake!
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Flawed movie that should have been much stronger but it's a fine film.
Lucien Lessard2 July 2005
A man in his late forties, who lived in a small community of Plainfield, Wisconson. A local oddity by the name of Ed Gein (Steve Railsback), who is just a little different from others. Ed was tormented and abused years ago by his parents, especially his mother (The late:Carrie Snodgress). Since Ed's repression brought out the worse of him, which lead to brutal murders and countless mutilations from his victims and corpses.

Directed by Chuck Parello (Herny:Portrait of a Serial Killer 2, The Hillside Strangler) made a horrific, unflinching horror film. Which it is Based on a True Story of America's First Infamous Serial Killers. Railsback, who played a true Serial Killer before in Helter Skelter as Charlie Manson back in 1976. Which it was a 2 Part T.V. Movie. Railsback is well cast as Ed Gein.

DVD has an sharp Pan & Scan (1.33:1) transfer and an fine-Dolby 2.0 Surround Sound. DVD only extra is a trailer, but this DVD could have used more features of this fascinating true-life tale. Oddly Enough, they did a better Ed Gein movie back more than three decides ago with the film titled "Deranged". Railsback is also one of the Executive Producers for this film. (*** ½/*****).
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Full (and Honest) review.
James Morley3 May 2001
Ed Gein - (Special pre-release preview) USA/2001/18. Dir. Chuck Parello.

Hailed as the inspiration for many of Hollywood's greatest murderers, Ed Gein was a real-life serial killer operating in 1950's Wisconsin. We were treated to a special pre-release preview of this forthcoming biopic. Many may have been left with a strange sense of déjà vu.

'Psycho', the novel upon which Hitchcock's classic horror is based was inspired by the activities of the reclusive farmer, with the author Robert Bloch living just fifty miles from the town of Plainfield where Gein lived. The domineering mother character is consequently a big part of both films, as she instructs her wayward son to kill from beyond the grave. The skin wearing antics of 'Buffalo Bill' in Jonathan Demme's `The Silence of the Lambs' (based on the Robert Harris novel) were also a part of the twisted Gein routine as his butchered and ate his way through his victims, spreading fear through small-town America.

`The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' and `American Psycho' also owe a debt to this true tale, which demonstrates the full extremes of human depravity. Such was the myth attached to this story that it is surprising that no one has tried to bring it to the big screen before. The character of `Psycho's' Norman Bates is undoubtedly far better known than his real-life inspiration but director Chuck Parello takes a brave step and tackles the monster head on.

Ed Gein's shy existence from abused child to grave robber and murderer are carefully charted, with his obsession for anatomy and his mother always in the background. Whether completely truthful or not, the film portrays Gein as more of a misguided bumpkin than a cold-blooded maniac. The opening shows apparently authentic news footage from the time, with neighbours expressing their shock that such a `nice, quiet young man like Ed' could be involved in such horrific crimes. This adds a touch of realism to the proceedings, but the remainder from childhood through killings to capture is standard fare, with few surprises en route.
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Odd business, all of it...
Tammy0831 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
First of all, I must say that I LOVED the Steve Railsback/Carrie Snodgress teaming, they acted so well together. I know it's an odd thing to admit, but I howled at the scene when Ed's Mother came back from the dead to him and his voice went all soft like an awed little boy's and he said, 'I'm so glad you come back to me', and she held him in her arms and told him she loved him! If only it had stayed like that,if she'd come back before he'd killed Mary Hogan, and they would have been happy in the confines of Ed's broken mind.(I KNOW he killed his big brother Henry prior to this, but the real Ed was not charged with Henry's murder so this is just conjuncture plus artistic licence)Only one slight complaint; According to my reading, Augusta Gein, the Mother, was a big woman, and the slender, slight Carrie Snodgress seemed too small and delicate to play her. I imagined someone like the excellent and underrated Tyne Daly in the role of the powerful, well built Mrs Gein. But apart from this minor gripe, it's a well done all round and the 10 out of 10 I give it is well earned.
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Robert J. Maxwell10 April 2003
Considered as a film about an unhappy and perverted man, the movie is so-so, perhaps a bit more. A boy and his brother grow up on a dismal farm. Their father is brutal, their mother religious and caring but stern too. Always, when they show weakness, there is the shadow of the allegation of femininity hanging in the background. Older boy leaves home as soon as decorum allows.

The father disappears from their lives and the mother, domineering and clinging, takes over Ed Gein's life. She dies painfully. Ed goes mad. Mother appears in hallucinations, telling Ed what to do, scolding him if he hesitates, prompting him to acts most of us might vomit at the mere thought of.

But you know what? This is way, way ahead of the usual sorts of slasher movies, the kind that have turned into self parodies. Railsback was executive producer and cast himself in the principal role, and he's good too, although his mangled Southern mumble is a bit difficult to square with the actual Wisconsin setting of the events. Railsback underplays Gein's psychosis just enough. Gein isn't a loony loner, as he might have been. He's a slow-moving gloomy looking guy who dresses like a sloppy rube (you can almost smell his unwashed overalls) but he's reasonable in public, seems to have his wits about him. He makes the right kinds of comments, more or less, at the times they are called for. Overhearing a conversation between a saleswoman and a customer who has heart disease, he wishes her well on her forthcoming operation, a nice gesture that anyone with claims to normality might make. Railsback makes him quiet, slightly awkward, and gives him a constant shy smile in front of others. It's a fine portrayal of schizophrenia, better than Russel Crowe's in "A Beautiful Mind." Gein is just about perfect, a shambling walk (almost on tip toe), a stare that lasts far too long, the unfunny joke he tells that makes him laugh out loud while others gawk, the half-baked religious ideas, a daily cycle that seems all non sequitur. He gets the necessary chores done, buys antifreeze and goes shopping. Not the way you and I might -- he lives on nothing but canned pork and beans (and some other things) -- but he gets the job done. He hangs out from time to time in a depressingly dark rural saloon, where he sits one or two stools away from the few other customers. The others know him, and some, like the bartender, are kind and sympathetic to him, while some make jokes about him. That's his public face. Rather a dull lonely man, a sad man really who has never recovered from his mother's death, someone who needs looking after and will never get it.

His home, however -- well, that's a different matter entirely. As a police officer once said about Son of Sam's residence, "the inside of his house looks like the inside of his head." It's a remote and non-productive place, falling apart on the outside, the lock missing from the front door, old tires and bedsprings in the yard. That's just the outside. The inside is even worse. Horrible, in fact. About the single most depressing dump I can remember seeing on screen in recent years. Little light seems to enter. And what the light shows us we'd rather not see. The man seems never to have thrown out any piece of junk he's come into possession of. Old newspapers stacked in corners. Dirty dishes. An unmade bed that any prison could improve upon.

Gein was frankly nuts, no question about it. But, as I understand it, he murdered only two people, both of them middle-aged ladies who treated him in a motherly fashion. Of course the house had body parts all over it but these were from dug-up corpses. The man ate out of bowls made from that part of the skull called the calvarium, and so did his few guests. But naturally he had few guests. He made a few dollars babysitting two boys at his place but when one of them wandered into his bedroom -- the bedroom with the shrunken heads on the walls and the rats on the floor -- he ushered the kids to the door and politely and firmly told them not to come back. "I guess a man needs his privacy," he tells them.

The two murders are horrifying in a non-sensational way. Both women are shot without expecting it to happen. One doesn't die immediately and protests when her punctured body is dragged out to Gein's truck to be taken to his cellar and dressed like a hog. But, although the scenes are graphic and realistic, they are not at all sensationalized. No preliminary threats, no bondage or torture, no screaming, no maniacal whacking with axes or bashing in of heads with maces. It's all the more frightening for its matter-of-fact tone. And there is one scene in which Gein, a raving lunatic, dances out of his front door into the moonlight, dressed in long johns and human skin, a merkin fixed to his groin, banging pots and pans and whooping with God only knows what rotten pot of exaltations. It's far more shocking than anything in "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer," although the two have the senselessness of random murders in common.

You want to be scared? This true story, this production, ought to do the job. You'll be locking your doors at night.
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It doesn't get any better than this!
chadledwards6 October 2001
This brilliantly eerie little film recounts in gruesome, and sometimes morbidly funny detail, the dastardly deeds of 1950's killer Ed Gein. Gein, who on the surface was a quiet, laid-back Wisconsin citizin, was really a raving lunatic who indulged in such gruesome activities as grave-robbing and out-right murder. This is the second attempt at filming the strange life of Ed Gein(the first was 1974's DERANGED), and I think the best(though DERANGED isn't too far behind). Steve Railsback is simply amazing as Gein. Railsback is such a gifted actor that he makes his looney-tunes character quite likable, and that's not easy to do. The supporting cast, which includes Carrie Snodgress as Gein's fanatical mother, is also excellent, but this is Railsback's show all the way, and what a perversely entertaining show it is!
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The "Real" Leatherface
mrfilmmaker66626 November 2003
Though some of you think The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was

based on a true story, no it wasn't. Look it up before you start

screaming, "But the new movie has police footage! and it says its

real!" well its not, if you want the real story, watch this movie. Its not

terribly good, but the story is pretty accurate to the real events that

inspired films like "Psycho" "Don't Go In the House" "Silence of the

Lambs" & "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" It has some decent

but subtle gore, has the true story, and some cheesey special

effects. If your into American history of serial killers and cannibals,

this is for you, but if your not interested at all, I wouldn't rent it. Just

look him up on the internet and you'll get all the info you need on

Ed Gein.
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Reasonable but disappointing.
Infofreak21 December 2001
The bizarre story of Ed Gein has inspired many portrayals of screen serial killers, and will no doubt continue to do so. Because in this case the truth really IS stranger than fiction!

The obscure 1970s cult flick 'Deranged' changed the name of Gein to "Ezra Cobb", but stuck pretty much to the facts. 'Ed Gein' fails to surpass that overlooked movie. It has one or two good moments but I couldn't help but be disappointed.

The best thing by far about it is the strong performance of Steve Railsback as Gein. He gives it his best shot, and is almost as good as Roberts Blossom ('Deranged's star), but I don't feel that the movie overall is as effective. Railsback is a talented actor ('Helter Skelter', 'The Stunt Man') who has spent the last twenty years in b-grade hell ('Turkey Shoot', 'Lifeforce', 'Scissors', 'Barb Wire', 'Vanishing Point', 'Disturbing Behavior'). He deserves better, but I don't think this movie is going to help any. Too bad, because as usual he is much better than the material he has to work with. Better luck next time Steve!
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Interesting, but a bit of a bore.
Coventry15 April 2006
Notorious Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein served as the inspiration for many horror movies already; either films that are loosely based on his vile acts ("the Texas Chainsaw Massacre") or more factual re-tellings of his case ("Deranged: Confessions of a Serial Necrophile"). Chuck Parello now takes the credit of creating the most accurate and faithful portrait of this historical psychopath (not even changing the name of killer & victims like it was the case in "Deranged"), but he wasn't capable of delivering a disturbing and/or compelling horror movie with the subject matter he gathered. "Ed Gein" is a sober (...better make that VERY sober) and monotonous drama about an emotionally unstable bachelor, still under the influence of his dominating mother who's been dead since 9 years already. Despite everyone in the little village being friendly and patient with Ed, he's very introvert and suffering from delusions in which his dead mother orders him to kill "sinful" people in his surrounding. This film is not scary at all, since Parello wastes too much time on pointless flashbacks and amateurish psychology. The film merely just hints at Gein's bizarre and perverted sexual preferences and shows very little, apart from a totally out-of-place sequence in which he dances around (in the light of the moon) wearing the skinned face of one of his victims. The acts of violence Gein eventually does commit are rather tame and not nearly as unsettling as the real thing. The obvious lack in budget can hardly be used as an excuse, since the 1974 film "Deranged: Confessions of a Serial Necrophile" was a poverty row production as well and that film DID deliver genuine shocks and gruesome images. I strongly advice to watch that one instead, even though it's a lot more difficult to track down.
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Better than average serial killer "docu-drama".
rixrex27 October 2004
Having seen many film versions of the stories of different serial killers, I would say that this one is very close to the top in quality and interest. I can only think of two I thought were better, those being, number one, Henry - Portrait of a Serial Killer, and number two, the TV version of Gacy with Brian Dennehey, To Catch a Killer, and in that order. I would consider it to be equal to Citizen X. The best of these types of films are the ones that show in some way the psychology of why these psychopathic killers are such, and this does such with it's exploration of Ed Gein's childhood, and bizarre relationship with his equally demented mother. 90 minutes is not much time to really do an in-depth study, but it's a very good attempt and Steve Railsback is in top form as the almost reluctant killer. Some would say that there's no need to understand why killers are killers, and that we only need to know how to rid society of them. In agreement with the desire to keep them from society I am, yet these deranged persons need to be recognized quickly, and the sooner, the better. Psychological studies of these persons are beneficial this way.
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baz-1530 October 2001
This is a no frills , solid study of a madman. Ed Gein was a seminal influence indeed, he was on the scene years before the other american psychos and he is now getting the 'credit' he deserves. Texas chainsaw massacre was based on ed. The acting in this film is top notch especially from the lead. It shows how his family upbringing affected his brain and his mother's influence, so there's loads of flashback, the timeframe is not constant so watch out. One of the best serial killer films so far. 9/10.
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Sick, unbelievable, twisted REAL
stamper14 September 2001
This really is a pretty good film about the notorious killer Ed Gein, who inspired films like Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Silence of the Lambs. Despite that the film (of course) has it's weak points. First of all there are the bad effects which are caused by lack of budget, but there also is another thing not too good about this film. That would be the script. OK I admit that the story itself is really accurate and makes good use of the mysteries revolving around Gein's activities, but there is one thing there that is badly executed. The director and scriptwriter, actually to give us a picture of Gein's schizophrenia, by letting his mother surface numerous times (directly and indirectly). On some of these occasions I felt that only making us (the viewer) hear her voice would have been sufficient. Otherwise this was pretty good and interesting. I kind of enjoyed this one, but then again, I'm studying psychology (maybe that's why I like this film).

7 out of 10
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OK movie, has some tech errors.
fugu-19 September 2001
Movie was OK, but there were some screwups I remember. One was while Ed was driving his truck at night there were some oncoming headlights. They were square lights, and had to be a car from at least early 80 vintage. Film was supposed to take place in the 50s. Also, Ed was packin' a Mauser C96 Broomhandle pistol. He shot the bartender with it. Later the cops found the spent shell and said they found a spent round from a .32 cal. That's wrong. The C96 came in .30 Mauser and 9mm. There were a few other oddball calibers but no .32 auto. Later Ed blasts some chick with a .22 rifle. The sound guys made it sound like a deer rifle. Way too much boom. I'm sure there were others, and I hope you post them.

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One of the biggest pieces of crap EVER!
Monica493718 July 2004
I saw this movie a few days ago while browsing the horror section at Blockbuster and thought it would be cool to watch a film about a serial killer's story that spawned the creation of Psycho and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Since watching the film I feel Blockbuster made a mistake in putting this movie in the horror section, comedy would have been a much better befitting genre. This movie is just plain rubbish and crap. And the gore scenes (or lack thereof) are completely laughable! You would think they would have at least had the decency to make the gun shot scenes a bit realistic than just some cheap red paint and no shot wounds. In fact I find it hardly believable at all that someone could POSSIBLY live through being shot in the back on your left side by a rifle 4 feet away! What the heck is THAT all about I ask? I don't know...Mid-way through the film my friend and I started to look at the cover of the DVD to see when this movie was made and it took us by complete shock when we saw it was made in the year of our technology 2000!!! The only other film I have seen that is worse than this is The Item (a stupid retarded indie horror film that should DEFFINITELY be in the Special Interest section at Blockbuster.)Don't see this movie! I warn you! It's complete bollocks! I could give you a 100 better things to do in your time than waste your money on this crap! 1/10 for me!
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missed opportunity
winner5517 September 2007
This was clearly made for the small screen, although I do remember it passing through western New York theaters briefly. I didn't see it on original release, because I happen to be somewhat fascinated by the Ed Gein story and have read up on it, and I was afraid the film would be a B-movie exploitation of one of the most bizarre episodes in the history of American crime. Gee, I wish it were.

This film is really a pretty mediocre docu-drama that attempts to explain away the more disturbing aspects of the Gein story with cheap and easy Freudian references, down to having Gein see and listen to his dead mother urge him on to do "God's work" by "punishing" wicked women for their sexuality.

Unfortunately, this explanation doesn't tell us anything at all about Gein's cannibalism, nor about his almost childish fascination for body parts. In one scene in a bar, Gein suddenly asks the other customers whether any of them know about sex-change operations. I take it this was cut into the movie to explain Gein's efforts to wear the skin of some of his victims, and certainly the real Gein was interested in the issue. What gets lost here is all the rich sense of transformation that might go into a sick fascination for donning the skin of another human being. This isn't simply changing one's sex - this is becoming something other than human.

One other point - as a Freudian explanation, the film has Gein denying responsibility for his murders - either he can't remember them, or it was "mom's fault". Wait a minute - could Gein have just ignored all those body parts cluttering up his house? Obviously not; in fact the real Gein was aware of what he was doing - he just didn't think there was anything wrong with it. The only reason we know parts of his story is because he was able to give detailed descriptions of what he did. He approached murder, dismemberment, and cannibalism with a clinical disinterest in any of the moral implications of these acts. It was simply Gein's way of living in the world.

Now that is truly frightening. The terrible thing about Gein was that he was utterly bland - he was the guy next door, the quiet neighbor, not very interesting, not much to say.

Few films have managed to capture this quality about any serial killer. This film certainly hasn't. A real missed opportunity.
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A mediocre film with some good performances
George Parker26 July 2001
"Ed Gein" is a mediocre telling of the story of a once notorious and still infamous Wisconsin psychopath, murderer, cannibal, and necrophiliac. The film attempts to portray the man and spares the audience much of the horror of his deeds as it become a muddle of fact, flashbacks, apparitions, sundry visions, and vignettes of Gein's deranged activities with no clear purpose. Not a documentary or biopic, "Ed Gein" barely works as a docudrama with minimal entertainment and educational value.
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I am truly appalled by our society
LauraS197218 November 2001
I recently viewed "Ed Gein" and I feel the need to comment.

I am appalled that previous reviewers are extremely troubled by the fact that "no blood or gore is shown" [paraphrase]. What kind of world do we live in? I think that this film shows not all, but a lot of the machinations that can cause a truly sick person to commit heinous acts of perverse crime. Steve Railsback's performance is simply Oscar-worthy. Rent "Scream" or other purely superficial, unoriginal, senseless, ultra-bloody pieces of excrement if you feel the need to see human bodies gutted and ripped apart...what a fun time! And may I say, if you need to see that, you need some MAJOR therapy -- about as much as Ed Gein was almost literally crying out for.

The truly scary thing about this film is that it is based on a seemingly friendly and harmless man. What is more frightening than that?? This is REAL horror about a sick and murderous, yet polite and acquiescent man...you know, the quiet guy you work with who doesn't seem "quite right", or the guy that comes to your retail job and stares longingly at you, or that neighbor that for some reason makes your hair stand on end when you pass him in the hall. That is scarier than Jason, Michael, and Freddy melded together for an all-star extravaganza.

I think that this film is a wonderful exercise in character study. The macabre aspect will have you shuddering, and the incidental script humor will make you actually laugh out loud. I feel sad when I read reviews of films similar to this in which reviewers are bored, unentertained, and ultimately skipped intellectually. Has most of this world evolved to be entertained only by quick, cheap, bloody, and ignorant thrills? Unfortunately, I think that is the case.

If you can actually tolerate "talky" movies that don't provide blood for your time, this is an intriguing little film to rent.
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Mild mannered farmer is a gruesome killer.
Michael O'Keefe27 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This is probably the best film concerning Edward Gein, a Wisconsin farmer that would become known as The Butcher of Plainfield. Steve Railsback plays Gein, who would rob graves of women who resembled his mother Augusta(Carrie Snodgress)to take home and have sex with them. He would also use certain portions of skin for a "woman suit". He also decorated his home with furniture and clothing made from the skin and bones of corpses. He would be arrested and convicted of only two murders, but suspect for six to a dozen other slayings between 1947 and 1957. The necrophiliac butcher would die some 27 years later in an Institute for the Criminally Insane. Also in the cast: Steve Blackwood, Craig Zimmerman, Carol Mansell and Sally Champlin. Some very disturbing scenes; but highly recommended if you like true life crime movies with minimum exaggeration.
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A very crispy story told in a very boring way
betath27 December 2005
Ed Gein /In the Light of the Moon is about the life of a murderer and cannibal who,lived in the 1950s.

I didn't have any expectations for the movie, and I got almost exactly what I expected. I found it quite boring. The story of Ed Gein is a very crispy story and by seeing the film you really get a good story, but it is told in a very boring way. I actually sat throughout the whole movie waiting for it to start and then realizing what a grate story it is. But that is the only thing that I find good in the movie, and it is not enough to have a good story to make a good movie.

The movie lacks some action, something to keep you interested in seeing the rest of it. I don't feel that the actors gave a 100% performance although Steve Railsback (Gein) was quite good. I found the framing and editing a bit boring too, but considering it a Low Budget film then I guess it is OK...
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focus on Railsback and the close truth of the narrative
clara-1731 January 2005
Simply see this film because of Steve Railsback. He captures the essence of the actual Gein, period (based on several bio readings). Railsback has always been an under-rated actor. I sure hope he eventually "breaks through" either in film, television, or theatre, even in an "older" age frame. Dang, he's good!

Second, yeah, the presentation is often low budget, but not an issue for obviously many who have viewed this film on its level. It's really a much better film than several low-brow reviewers (those too caught up and enthralled in special effects, rather than story-telling) let on to be. Those interested in a true crime story, watch this one. Honestly, not a disappointment, overall.
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Low budget delivers.
insomniac_rod23 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
"In The Light of the Moon" doesn't offers anything new. It's your typical Hallmark Television drama with horror elements. Making a movie based on the biography of a serial killer is not easy task if you want to recreate perfecly the shocking events. With a low budget like this, you can't get too far. The movie delivers because it shows Ed Gein's life and tries to explain his motives for killing. That's what you have to know. The director is careful in stating his point of view because he doesn't shows Gein as a killer a la Michael Myers neither he tries to justify his actions.

The movie shows the 2 faces of the coin: 1. The Hollywoodesque influence. Gein's dead mother directs his behavior and tells him to murder. 2. Gein's human side. The disease that Gein suffers (Schizophrenia?) is the reason for him to murder. The audience has the responsibility to choose either reason.

There are some chilling scenes that turn the drama into a thriller. For example, the scene where Gein dances at dawn(or whatever) naked outside his house wearing the infamous "Leatherface" mask. Yikes! A creepy moment. Worked for me. There are other scenes that increase the disturbing factor: Gein eating over women's skin, Gein killing old women, etc.

Is it me or Railsback tried too hard to act like the great Anthony Perkins? His gestures and reactions reminded me a lot of the "Psycho" star. Still Railsback delivers a solid, believable performance.

6/10. Wait for it on T.V. There's no need to rent it.
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