Movie Number- 120
October Horrorthon Number- 8
Title- 8213: Gacy House (2010)
Running Time- 85 minutes
Director- Anthony Fankhauser
Starring- Jim Lewis, Matthew Temple, Michael Gaglio, Brett A. Newton, Diana Terranova, Sylvia Panacione, Rachel Riley
In 2006, the bodies of six paranormal investigators were found in the abandoned home that was built on top of the same lot that serial killer John Wayne Gacy’s home used to rest (his home was destroyed in the late 1990s, and a new one rebuilt). This movie puts their “real” footage from the evening of their deaths into a narration, using handheld cameras and security-like cameras hanging in rooms. It follows the crew from their arrival at the lot, through their paranormal investigation, all the way to their demise.
There is a lot wrong with this movie, the first thing being that it works extremely hard to make the viewers believe it is real. On the back of the DVD there are warnings how this is “real crime scene footage” which was purchased from the Des Moines Police Department. On the DVD itself, there is only one special feature, and it is the purchasers of the “crime scene footage” and the other paranormal activity investigators talking about what they hope to accomplish with this investigation. It does its best to make the audience think what they are watching is real, but it just doesn’t work. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why this movie fails to grab: it could be the acting. But the actors do a fine job (some of them) so I don’t think that is it. It could be the mediocre script, but the script was sufficient enough for what the movie was about. It could be the fact that horror audiences have seen this enough to know that things like this aren’t real, which is where the problem lies. Moviegoers have grown accustomed to this type of advertising thanks to movies like Paranormal Activity (and The Asylum’s – creators of this film – first release, Paranormal Entity, which I haven’t seen yet, but hear is better than the first Paranormal Activity), and Blair Witch Project, that we are not going to bite on these things anymore. What makes it worse, is that the DVD throws out these ridiculous claims before the movie even begins. 8213: Gacy House becomes a victim of its own advertising.
There were some good things about the movie: it built tension well using first person perspectives, the acting was generally good, and the characters were interesting, though mostly unlikable. The story bogged down a bit, and the motivation for the characters to stay in the house after everything that happened to them was completely lost. If this was, in fact, “real” the investigators, being professionals, would have never of stayed in this house, and their reason for staying was unchanging, even when terrible things started to happen to people. This, along with the advertising, takes away from what could otherwise be a decent movie. There are other, better movies like this one out there, and I suggest you stick to those.
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Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.
i actually enjoyed this one, but only once i was able to make the hard-press for reality tongue-in-cheek, then i started to see it as quite ambitious, for direct-to-DVD.