Monday, August 31, 2009

Serial Killer of the Month - John Wayne Gacy

I once attended a "circus"-themed fancy dress party wearing clown wig and makeup, but with handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit with stencilled numbers and the name "Gacy" stencilled on the back. I was very disappointed to hear only one 21 year old, gorgeous, disaffected thing at that party say: "Hey, cool, Gacy" and move on, probably to score an "E" and dance the night away to some early 2001 trance (I actually can't remember the year or its musical trend, but let's say it was so I can get back on message). The point is, only one of these cool kids knew who the original serial killing clown was, and that's a dirty, crying shame. So today, I introduce you again (or perhaps for the first time) to the other John Wayne - John Wayne Gacy, Jr.

First up, I'm not going to paraphrase the Wikipedia entry on Gacy. While it's an interesting story, it's not interesting for me to rehash it. I want to talk about my recollection of and introduction to Gacy and why I find it an interesting story. Whoever wrote it on Wikipedia did a good job so you can read that first if you want the background.

When I was about 12, I found a book on serial killers on my grandma's bookshelf. In it was a chapter on Gacy that gave the impression that he was a cat who scouted for victims while he entertained local kids wearing a clown costume. At least that was the impression I retained, but it seems that in reality, Gacy's clown era might not have overlapped his KILLING KIDS ERA (not sure why I capitalised that, it just seemed important). At any rate, it seems the clown thing had an impact on Gacy as he painted a lot of clowns while he sat on Death Row.

One of Gacy's clown paintings

Then when I was in early high school, I traded a comic with a kid (probably a Phantom comic from my end, that was all I read in my sheltered and short comic-reading life) and got from him a whacked-out comic about a serial killer who drives an ice-cream van, while dressed as a clown (what a triple-threat). My only recollection of this literature was that it focussed on some sort of revenge/vigilante plot, whereby a parent or someone with a vested interest killed the ice-cream selling clown by stabbing him to death with ice-cream sticks (how's that for poetic justice, Greensleeves?). My mum may have found it and burned that sucker, or I was so traumatised as to throw it out myself, but at any rate, I don't have the comic anymore.

But the seeds of interest had been planted in young David and at about 14 I joined a video store a respectable distance from our house that would let me rent whatever rated movie I pleased (this is where I first rented The Quick and the Dead, then rated MA15+) and I rented the R18+ telemovie To Catch a Killer starring Brian Dennehy as Mr Gacy, the role which won him an Emmy (THE role? I don't know, he could have a truckload of Emmys, I can't check now, my NET is down). Anyway, this was a 95min long movie on video but apparently when it was on TV in the US, it was 360min long, so I guess they cut out 18 subplots and probably most of Mr Dennehy's AWARD WINNING ACTING, cause he didn't set my hair alight in it. Over all, a poor reconstruction of Mr Gacy's work.

What really galvanised my interest was a book I stumbled upon at the library when I was 17 - 'The Last Victim' by Jason Moss. Writing his honours thesis on American serial killers, Moss began writing letters to Charles Manson, Richard Ramirez, Jeffrey Dahmer and Mr. Gacy, all in prison at the time. He would basically tailor his letters to each killer, posing as whatever type, age, temperament each had liked to kill. His letter to Manson came back unopened and replies from Ramirez were nonsensical, but Gacy seemed to take a real interest in him. Moss had posed in his letters as a sexually-confused young man who had begun an incestuous relationship with his younger brother, and even wrote letters in which he pretended to be the abused brother. All this was geared towards piquing Gacy's interest in what could potentially be a new victim. So he continued this pen pal relationship for a long time, until Gacy asked him to come and visit him in prison, even offering to pay for the flights and accomodation. Moss took the offer up and met with Gacy on three instances, for two hours per visit, during which he tried to glean as much as he could about Gacy. Moss assumed the guards would be watching every moment of their visits, but when he arrived at the prison, discovered that Gacy was seen as a minor celebrity in the prison, by prisoners and guards alike. So on Gacy's say-so, Moss and Gacy were pretty much left alone...

I won't ruin what is an excellent read, but I will conclude by telling you a sad piece of trivia I discovered in researching this "article" - Jason Moss committed suicide in 2006, at age 33, a successful lawyer. I guess he really was the last victim.

I realise this essay started out sounding like it would be a light-hearted romp and was really a depressing collection of tidbits about a guy who killed boys and buried them in his basement, but I actually intended it to be a reflection on that period a lot of young men go through, being that time where you read a lot about serial killers. Gacy just seemed to be the one that captured my imagination, a fire that was fanned by Jason Moss' excellent book. And now the revelation of Moss' tragic death has got me thinking about it all over again.

My Biography

David received his Graduate Diploma in Screenwriting at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School(AFTRS) in 2009. He is currently writing an episode of the Channel 7 drama 'Packed To The Rafters' .

David’s film credits include the short film Fallers which screened at the Newtown Short Film Festival and the Lowveld International Film Festival in South Africa and Supergirl, a short film adapted from his own play which won Best Screenplay at the 2004 Short Cuts Film Festival. Originally from a theatre background, David’s first play Supergirl was selected to represent Shopfront Theatre for Young People at the 2001 NSW Youth Performing Arts Conference. David’s other theatre credits include Glamorama (Fresh Cuts, dir. Alison Richardson) and Amelia-Jane (Fresh Cuts). David has recently directed a music video for Sydney singer/songwriter Adam Dwyer and is currently developing a feature film and a comedy television series.

David on IMDb:

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Starring: Abe Forsythe & Ryan Johnson

Writer/Director: David Lawrance
Producer: Ayela Thilo
Editor: Matthew Walker
Director of Photography: Nicola Daley
Production Designer: David Ingram
Composer: Fiona Hill
Sound Designer: William Lawlor

© 2006

Dumb Job #1 - Picking Up Maltesers at the Circus

The Greatest Show on Earth? Not for me, Jack.

It started as a day like any other. I was awoken from my fitful slumber by a call from my temp employment agency, asking me to work at the circus. Assuming I would be riding elephants, or at least juggling flaming sticks, I threw the covers off and SPRANG AGILELY FROM MY BED.

Arriving at Fox Studios, Sydney, site of the Cirque Du Soleil, my place of employ for that day, I was dimayed that 1) the side was nearly deserted 2) the was no sign of a pachyderm - in fact, I couldn't seven see a pile of their droppings which would have served at least as some small, smelly compensation and 3) I was immediately placed in a hot, airless shipping container to stack boxes of popcorn kernals (in contravention to the Geneva Convention's Clause 34.8.0901.64353: something about having to provide employees with oxygen). Anyway, I figured an elephant ride would be some sort of reward at the end of the shift for all my hard work.

I soon found out I had FIGURED WRONG. My reward at the end of my shift was to be approached by a man in a suit I had not seen before, led around the food tents and have small, chocolatey balls lying melting on the hot asphalt pointed out to me. I was then handed a roll of paper towels and asked to "pick them up". I briefly consider rebelling, shouting "FUCK YOU BUDDY!" and with SPEED SO GREAT AS TO BE ALMOST IMPERCIPTIBLE, headbutt said gentleman, possibly caving his forehead into a shape similare to those melted Maltersers, whose picking up had so earned my ire. (see how I tied that altogether? That's the sort of cleverness sprinked throughout my DEVASTATINGLY AWESOME SCRIPTS. Hollywood take note). But in the end I smiled demurely, took the paper towel and picked those cocolately suckers up. Who was I to argue - after all, he was wearing a suit.

Welcome to my life...

Salutations. My goal for this blog is to chronicle the trial and tribulations of a 28 year old filmmaker, as I try to get both a feature and a TV series up and running, as well as paying my bills (meagre though they may be - I live cheap). I will also be "inning" the occasional celebrity, proving them to be straight and Perez Hilton to be wrong (Lance Bass will be my test case. Rumour has it that guy can't get enough vagina on the sly.)

I'll also review the occasional film and give you the links to the best film sites on the NET.

As an addendum, I'll be running down the list of the dumbest jobs I've ever had (and I've had a lot of them). These will range from assisting a Private Investigator for high school work experience, to replacing the rubber feet at the bottom of chair legs in a Shopping Centre Food Court. Stay tuned.

I'm going to leave you with an amusing picture. Maybe we can hold a caption contest each week. Or not, I don't care.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

David Lawrance on IMDb

Probably not of that much interest to those of you in Gen-Pop, I'm really just trying to get enough on here to justify having a 'Biography' category on my sidebar.