True Crime Docu-series ‘John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise’ is a Disturbing Watch

Alice Oscura, Featured Writer

Background: John Wayne Gacy was one of the most prolific serial killers in US history. He was convicted of the murders of at least 33 young men and boys between 1972 and 1978. His name has become synonymous with the “Killer Clown” as he would perform at children’s parties and charitable events as “Pogo the Clown” or “Patches the Clown.”

Review: John Wayne Gacy: The Devil in Disguise is a new six-part documentary series on streaming service Peacock that gives viewers a chance to see the story told through the words of one of the most notorious serial killers. The series raises a lot of questions in terms of how the investigation was conducted.

But the most important thing you will observe from seeing Gacy’s interview is that the man was definitely a master manipulator. He tried his best to convince those viewing that the investigation was botched by the authorities and that he was only responsible for one murder which was in done in self-defense. Gacy repeatedly states that he feels sorry for the fact that due to the authorities hastiness in pinning the crimes on him the victims’ families will be unable to get closure. That’s rich coming from someone who was absolutely devoid of any show of emotion or remorse during and after the trial.

Gacy’s disassociation with his crimes leaves one incredulous. What’s more incredulous is the fact that after numerous psychiatrists evaluated Gacy after his first sexual offense they all came up with the same diagnosis—he was a psychotic sexual defiant that was untreatable and was likely to repeat his crime on a grander scale. And I am watching my screen with my jaw on the floor shouting “What?!” Yes, folks diagnosed as a psychopath but released after eighteen months!

Unfortunately there was a lot of politics involved in and around the Gacy case especially since it was so high profile. The series is a literal plethora of interviews, audio recordings, archival news footage, and points of view from the victims’ families. It astounds me how many families’ lives were upturned and affected by Gacy’s horrific actions. I would suggest that you don’t binge watch something like this because the details can become quite disturbing after a couple episodes.

Back in the 70s there was no database for sex offenders and missing teens were treated instantly as runaways. The tragic reality was that due to Gacy’s manipulation and political connections his first sexual assault conviction in Waterloo, Iowa, which was supposed to be a term of ten years, ended up being just 18 months. His term would have ended the year that Gacy was eventually arrested for his heinous crimes.

When the victims bodies were finally discovered it seemed surreal, like something out of a nightmarish horror movie. A crowd would gather outside Gacy’s residence for word on a daily tally of how many bodies were found. It was extremely hair-raising to see body bags upon body bags being removed from his property. It was worse to find out that due to negligence and assumptions Gacy was able to get away with what he did for so long and just collected victims.

The case details released in this documentary series is a lot to take in to say the least. However, if you are a fan of true crime like me, it is one heck of a wild ride because there are so many mysteries and conspiracy theories surrounding Gacy’s crimes that it isn’t funny. There’s even the theory that Gacy did not commit these crimes alone and that he was connected to a huge pedophile trafficking ring network. This theory is being covered in another documentary series still in progress.

Gacy was eventually sentenced to death in 1980 but spent 14 years on death row while he exhausted his appeals. He was executed by lethal injection at the Stateville Correctional Center in Illinois on May 10, 1994. Six of Gacy’s victims remain unidentified to date and forensic experts are still tirelessly working on getting them identified in order to bring a semblance of closure to their families.

Alice’s Score: 7 out of 10

For my review of Netflix serial killer docu-series Night Stalker you can click here. Or for my review of Netflix true crime documentary American Murder: The Family Next Door you can click here.

39AFB96D-4DEF-4DED-8DFE-3400E758CE9B Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump. I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. You can find me as Dark Alice Reviews on Facebook where you’ll get my reviews hot off the press. You can also find me on Instagram as alice_oscura and my Twitter handle is @lise_veliz2. For my extended bio you can click here.