Gacy (film)

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Directed byClive Saunders
Produced byTim Swain
Larry Rattner
Screenplay byDavid Birke
Clive Saunders
Story byClive Saunders
StarringMark Holton
Charlie Weber
Glenn Morshower
Allison Lange
Edith Jefferson
Joleen Lutz
Jeremy Lelliot
John Laughlin
Music byErik Godal
Mark Fontana
CinematographyKristian Bernier
Edited byJeff Orgill
Chryss Terry
Peninsula Films
DEJ Productions
Rillington Productions
Beartooth Productions
Distributed byLionsgate Home Entertainment
Release date
  • 13 May 2003 (2003-05-13) (United States)
Running time
88 minutes
CountryUnited States

Gacy (also known as The Crawl Space) is a 2003 horror film written and directed by Clive Saunders, and co-written by David Birke. Released direct-to-video, the film is based on the crimes of Chicago serial killer John Wayne Gacy, and stars Mark Holton as Gacy.


John Wayne Gacy (Mark Holton) seemed to be a model citizen. He even volunteered as a clown for the children at the local hospital, but he kept a gruesome secret. A trail of missing young men led to Gacy's suburban home. The nation watched in horror as, one by one, the details of over 30 murders came to light and most of the victims, entombed in the crawl space underneath his house, were unearthed. John Wayne Gacy had been one of the most infamous killers in the country.

In 1953, in a wood with a teenage Gacy (Scott Alan Henry) following his father (Adam Baldwin) through the woods as they find their spot to go fishing. Gacy's father tells him to clear his lungs with the fresh air. Later that evening Gacy and his father are enjoying the fish at their campsite. The pair argue and Gacy goes to hit his father and he teases him saying he'll "never be brave enough". Gacy stands up and his father kicks him into the tent.

In 1976, where Gacy and his family are trying to enjoy a Sunday dinner, when a neighbor knocks on the door and angrily tells him that the stench coming out of his crawl space is terrible and wants him to do something about it; annoyed, Gacy tells her that he will and stomps back into the room. About five minutes later, an employee of Gacy's, Steve (Wyatt Denny), hammers on the door. Steve is angry with Gacy because he has not paid him for two weeks. Gacy assures Steve that he'll take care of him this week and tells him to get off of his property. After the lunch Gacy goes and visits a friend and asks him what to do about the smell in the crawl space and he says to get some lime and to keep on laying it down. Gacy thanks him for the information and goes off to sort it out. Gacy goes to check on his workers and they are smoking in the job and Gacy angrily tells them off. Asking his latest employee how he's enjoying working for John Wayne Gacy, he asks him how he enjoys wrestling and they go back to Gacy's back yard where they wrestle. Gacy pins him down and Steve and the other lad climb into the tree and call him a faggot. Furious, Gacy tells him that he is out of line and tells the other two to come with him. Steve stays where he is looking annoyed and angry. Late one night, Gacy is traveling down a road and sees a man hanging around in the street and shining a light into his eyes, he gets out of the car and arrests him. The man says he has done nothing wrong and Gacy brings him back to the garage and talks to him about his problems. After the talk, Gacy drives him back to the road and lets him go.

The next day, Steve meets up with two men and they decide to deal with Gacy. As Gacy comes out of a shop, sorting out some money, the big man who's with Steve comes and punches him in the stomach and whilst he's on the ground, Steve takes the money in Gacy's wallet, all the while Gacy is mumbling that he's going to deal with Steve and he can have him wiped out and he is with the syndicate. Steve passes on some money to the two men and tells Gacy that he quits and the three men walk away. Late that night, Gacy's wife, Kara, is lying awake in bed when she hears a car pull up outside of the house. Gacy gets out and crossing the passenger side he brings someone out (believed to be Steve because of the clothes he is wearing) and he is handcuffed. Steve tries to run away but Gacy grabs him by the neck and bundles him into the garage. Gacy's mother has woken up and she is calling out his name but when there is no answer she falls back asleep. Kara goes investigating and whilst she does she goes and looks in the garage and sees abandoned clothes strewn about. Terrified she runs back into the house and goes to the entrance of the crawl space and John bursts out, surprising her. Furious Kara questions him at what he was doing and the reply is that he was laying down some lime.

The next part of the film chronicles a few weeks. Gacy has his 4th of July fancy dress party and a speech is made in Gacy's name as to what an asset he is to the community. During the party Gacy talks to Tom Kovacs (Charlie Weber) about a job for the summer and he replies that he does. The next day, Gacy is questioned about Steve's disappearance; he tells them that he told him he was going to Costa Rica or Santa Monica. One day, an urge comes over Gacy and he hits one of his employees over the head with a hammer. After Gacy cleans him up, he pays him for his silence and lets him go. Kara is tidying up the garage and she discovers a pair of handcuffs and some homosexual magazines in a drawer; when she questions Gacy about the items he places the blame on some employees. Kara asks him why didn't he tell her he was into boys, and Gacy replies "you know how I feel about homos". A few days later, Joleen leaves with the two girls and leaves Gacy alone with his mother. Gacy tells Tom, who is having problems at home, that he could move into Gacy's spare room and pay a reasonable rent. Tom tells him that he will think about it and talks about it to the guys when they are taking a break in Gacy's recreation room. They tell Tom to be careful as he has made up his mind that he is going to move in.

Another late evening, Gacy pulls up beside a male prostitute and they agree to go back to Gacy's house. Gacy is smoking a joint and he is going to let him take a puff when he stuffs a chloroformed rag into his face. The prostitute comes in and out of consciousness as Gacy is driving home. He comes to, kneeling on the floor in the sitting room and Gacy tells him that he is going to teach him some respect and drugs him again. He comes to again in the garage, suspended by chains and attached to a block of wood with holes for his head and arms to go through. He looks at himself in the mirror and we see that his shirt has been undone and his zipper pulled down. The next morning, Gacy takes the prostitute back into the town and leaves him in the park, where he stumbles away. When Tom moves in, Gacy shows him to his room, and when he moves the door he sees the block of wood hanging off the door handle. Gacy is continuing to lay lime but decides to lay some concrete down over the ground to try and cover the stench. Gacy has channeled a pipe from the crawlspace into the neighbors garden and when he finds out he is furious. A few weeks later, Gacy sees Jim Burle about buying his car and Gacy says he'll take it. Gacy invites him in for a drink, and ends up drowning the boy in the bath tub. Unknown to Gacy one of his neighbors children, is out playing foot ball and he hears the sounds of him drowning Burle. Gacy drags Burle's body behind his mother who is watching TV. Gacy soon discovers that he has no space left in the crawl space. After Gacy has killed a young man from a drugstore and disposed of the body after getting rid of tails that have been on him for weeks, Gacy and Tom are watching a video reel of how Gacy started his business. The video cuts to some pornography and Tom freaks out and spends the night awake and terrified of his own shadow.

Tom decides to leave and Gacy says that he has never shown Tom his handcuff trick. Tom puts them on Gacy and Gacy gets out of them within seconds. He asks if Tom wants a go and he refuses, but Gacy offers him a $100 if he breaks out of them in under a minute and so reluctantly Tom agrees. After a minute Tom says he can't break out of them and Gacy says "the trick is that you've got to have the key". Thinking that it's all a joke, Tom asks for his hands to be freed and Gacy moves behind him and starts spinning him around and then strangling him. A work colleague of Gacy's comes to the house, punches Gacy in the stomach and takes all of the money from Gacy's wallet and then leaves. The two investigators outside the house watch and say that "the shit's kicking off tonight". Tom manages to get past Gacy and runs to the cops and Gacy leaves the house whilst they enter and look for evidence and find a box containing dozens of watches and drivers licenses.

Gacy is driving around thinking about everything he has done and then returns to his house and is arrested and taken to jail as the police begin to exhume the bodies from the crawl space. Friends, family and onlookers all stand around and watch as the police begin piling up the bodies. The male prostitute watches on and then looks away and begins to walk away from the scene and the film ends with Gacy in prison and what his last words were.


  • Mark Holton as John Wayne Gacy
  • Adam Baldwin as John Gacy Sr.
  • Tom Waldman as Hal
  • Charlie Weber as Tom Kovak
  • Allison Lange as Gretchen
  • Edith Jefferson as Mother Gacy
  • Joleen Lutz as Kara Gacy
  • Scott Allen Henry as Young John Wayne Gacy
  • Kenneth Swartz as Dave
  • Matt Farnsworth as Stu
  • Jeremy Lelliot as Steven Banasky
  • Joseph Sikora as Roger
  • Oren Skoog as James Burrel
  • Joe Roncetti as Peter
  • Eddie Adams as Duane
  • Doran Ray as Tony Pasolini
  • Larry Hankin as Eddie Bloom
  • Rick Dean as Ray
  • Glenn Morshower as Ted Boyle
  • Jessica Schatz as Julie Boyle
  • Mickey Swenson as Detective Ritzik
  • Dan Bell as Detective Dunne
  • John Laughlin as Detective Lieutenant Kay
  • Steve Abbott as Officer Radclif Wolf
  • David Manis as Officer Greg Bucholtz
  • John Horn as Fred Getz
  • Tina Preston as Meg Getz
  • Shadi Dwait as Mr. Pasolini
  • Jessica Hanamoto as Tammy Gacy
  • Grace Hanamoto as April Gacy


On the film review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, Gacy received a 17% approval rating, based on six reviews, with an average rating of 3.8/10.[1] Chuck Wilson of LA Weekly found Gacy to be an "unenlightening" and "unconvincing" film that suffered from "dime-store psychology" and a failure to "convey the subtleties of Gacy’s scheming intellect."[2] Mike Long of DVD Talk gave the film a half star out of a possible five, opined that it "offers no suspense, no gore, and no thrills" and concluded, "If nothing else, a film about a serial-killer should offer a glimpse inside the criminal mind. If it can't do that, it could at least be an entertaining exploitation film. Gacy is neither of those things and there is absolutely no reason to see this movie."[3] Reel Film Review's David Nusair commended Mark Holton's performance as Gacy, but lambasted the film itself, which he derided as being an ineptly written and directed "bore" that "completely fails to make any kind of impact."[4] Conversely, Gacy was praised for its "dark, disturbing insight into Gacy" by Steve Barton of Dread Central, who went on to write that the "horrifying and informative" film was "well-worth seeking out to learn more about America's most notorious serial killer."[5]


  1. ^ "Gacy". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  2. ^ Wilson, Chuck. "Gacy". Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 8 July 2003. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  3. ^ Long, Mike (13 May 2003). "Gacy". DVD Talk. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  4. ^ Nusair, David (23 May 2003). "Gacy (May 23/03)". Reel Film Reviews. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  5. ^ Barton, Steve (1 April 2013). "Countdown – Top Six Killer Clown Movies". Dread Central. Retrieved 19 June 2018.

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