Alice Oscura, Featured Writer
Warning: Contains graphic details pertaining to true crimes. Reader discretion is advised.
Synopsis: Paranormal investigator Steve Shippy and psychic medium Cindy Kaza from the TV series Shock Docs travel to Plainfield, Wisconsin to investigate hot spot locations in the town to see if serial killer Ed Gein or any of his victims still remain to haunt the people that currently live there.
Backstory: Although Ed Gein didn’t manage to rack up a body count as much as other notorious serial killers (he only killed two people) he is best known for his methods. His modus operandi became the plot inspiration for many iconic horror movies like Alfred Hitchcock’s Norman Bates in his 1960 film Psycho, Leatherface in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre released in 1974, and 1991’s Silence of the Lambs’ Buffalo Bill character.
During the 1950s Gein killed two women and mutilated the corpses of at least nine bodies that were stolen from graveyards. He would collect the skin of his victims as trophies and keepsakes by making personal household items like a lamp shade, a belt, and bowls made out of human skulls. But the most gruesome of his creations was a suit made out of skin that he wanted to wear. He was captured by the authorities in 1957 and confined to a mental health facility until he was deemed mentally fit to stand trial in 1968 and was found guilty of the murder of his last victim Bernice Worden. He was also diagnosed as legally insane and sentenced to a psychiatric institution. Gein eventually died in 1984 of respiratory failure due to lung cancer.
Review: As an avid follower and fan of the paranormal circuit I am always get super interested when paranormal investigators choose locations associated with some of the most infamous true crime cases in history. A few of the main elements that most paranormal shows use to emphasise the creepy atmosphere are sound effects and dramatic reenactments. Now while I have no complaints about this and I can wholly understand why this sort of technique needs to be used in order to elicit that pang of fear from your audience, I thought that this was overused in this particular documentary.
I do enjoy being extra creeped out and terrified by some of the accompanying dramatisations, but I didn’t tune into this one just to be basically bombarded by some particularly cheesy reenactments. It constantly distracted me and while I did appreciate the time that was taken to explore Gein’s past and his toxic relationship with his mother Augusta, I felt like they were trying to fish for answers on why Gein was the way that he was, even going as far as to say that maybe he was possessed when he was doing these heinous acts.
It also felt like most of the time they were pushing or reaching for something that may just be residual energy and not in fact an intelligent haunting. Not every location with a terrifyingly dark past is going to have an outright haunting attached to it. And while events led the team to contact someone proclaiming to be Gein or his mother, it didn’t really seem like outright hardcore evidence in my humble opinion.
While the show was entertaining, and I have a lot of respect for the paranormal team, I think that maybe there was a bit too much hype and too many distractions to focus on the task at hand.
Alice’s Score: 6 out of 10
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.