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Title:  Conversations with a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes

Year: 2022

Genre:  Biography  | Crime  | Documentary  |

Seasons: 1 |

Runtime:  183 min

Director: Joe Berlinger

Starring: Sam Amirante, Greg Bedoe, Terry Sullivan


Never-before-heard audio from the interrogation of serial killer John Wayne Gacy threads through this chilling look at his 1970s murder spree, as new interviews with investigators and survivors, bring the horror of his crimes into full focus.


Last time it was Ted Bundy, this time it’s John Wayne Gacy that is stealing the spotlight. The mass murderer killed 33 young men. He wasn’t the only one killing people in the 1970s. A lot of serial killers were active during that decade. In Gacy’s case, he raped and killed mostly. Some survived. This documentary as a limited series depicts the horror that he brought to young adult life and wrecking families apart This tragedy has formed families and believe they were a victim of his crimes or not know if the boys have gone missing somewhere else. A lot of families have never got the closure that they deserved in their mourning process.

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It’s a lot of personal ideas and facts are shared during the documentary. Gruesome details are revealed. The producers of the series and director Joe Berlinger take a certain amount of time, over 3 hours, to humanize the characteristics of Gacy and the destruction he gave. A lot of personal items and goals are shared. Problem is that you get a personal story, a life biographic explained, and next, you know it; the investigation has started. The transition between his early life and his murder spree is rough and distracting. There’s a present-day interview intercut with the audiotapes recording from Gacy attending an investigator. He gives his twisted worldview and how provides the necessary details in the end, even if he says that he didn’t kill these people by the start of the trial. The pace makes it worthwhile.

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These archive materials make the story kept interesting even if it’s very informative and has a lot of talking heads, the tension is still there, to keep the viewer engaged in the story. The problem with these re-told docuseries is that there’s no journey or plot following a case with clues successively revealed one by one.

Joe Berlinger’s Radical Media has with this short series provided an informative background on the psychotic serial killer and doesn’t add any depth or deep to the story when experiences the story retold with a massive number of interviews.


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