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August 19, 2011

Movie Review: Dahmer vs. Gacy (2011)

Being the resident forensic psychologist (not kidding) over here at the Cheese, I was eminently qualified to review this film. Now, we have to realize that I’m still in school and, therefore, still learning this stuff but I have a fascination with serial sexual murderers. Like Billy the Kid and Jesse James were intriguing in the Old West, serial killers are our new aberrant fascinations. Morbid, lacking in any subtlety… the public has their ear to the ground just waiting to hear of the exploits of a new serial killer. We should probably give our serial killer definition before moving on: a murderer who kills a minimum of three people with a cooling off period between each kill. This is different from, say, a mass murderer (like those Colombine freaks who do it all on one spot) or spree killer (like Richard Speck who travels and kills one after the other). What we are dealing with here, though, is Ford Austin’s Dahmer vs. Gacy. He gets some of it right, some of it wrong and, most of all, the film is a lot of fun. Except for my giant pet peeve. A clown-faced, well-marbled, morbidly obese pet peeve. We’ll get to that.

Buy Dahmer Vs. Gacy on DVD or Dahmer vs. Gacy on VOD!

The ‘story’ behind Dahmer vs. Gacy is completely secondary. The film is a hodge podge collection of clips smashed together with a fast-paced MTV edit. In a nutshell, the military has a secret lab (in low budget goodness the lab looks like someone’s basement) that has been cloning serial killers and meshing DNA in order to find the perfect killing machine. Unfortunately, Jeffrey Dahmer (writer/director Ford Austin) and John Wayne Gacy (Randal Malone) escape and go on a killing spree that builds, eventually, to the big face off. First and foremost, this is a comedy… so we’ve got that going for us. Secondly, director/star Austin knows enough b-movie and genre veterans to load up the film with some cool cameos (Irwin Keyes, Felissa Rose, Harland Williams and Ethan Phillips as the combo-killer X-13 among others). Overall, the film was funny, enjoyable and benefitted from some great performances. Especially Ford Austin’s Dahmer. I don’t regularly say this, but Austin cast himself perfectly, mastered Dahmer’s dopey Wisconsin accent and had a great time with the role. Since Austin isn’t Orson Welles or Clint Eastwood, the direction suffered from wearing too many hats. That isn’t the problem, though. The problem is Randal Malone.

Malone has been rattling around the b-movie horror scene for quite a few years now and, to date, I have yet to see him take a role seriously enough to learn his lines or commit to it. When you’re playing John Wayne Gacy, the potential for over the top fun is enormous but he squanders it. As always, Malone plays Malone without affect and the film suffers for it.

The previous rant was only partially motivated by the notion that I could have done it better.

A sequel to Dahmer vs. Gacy is in the works and I here it takes place in space. Austin is back at the helm, so that is good. Malone is back under the paint, so that sucks. Regardless, if it is as fun as its predecessor, DvG2 should be a good time.

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