Wicked (Wisconsin) Wednesday Pt. 13: In the Light of the Moon/Ed Gein


Now I would be lying if I didn’t say that this title reminds of me some dramatic French romance film. In the Light of the Moon sounds so cozy. This is a film that should have a synopsis something like, “He thought he had everything: a job, a flat in the city, more money than anyone could want. But there was still something missing – love.”

But alas, it’s another week of Wicked Wisconsin Wednesday and it is yet another week where I am subjected to yet another poor movie based on Ed Gein. This Spanish/Portugese production (which also goes by the more apt name Ed Gein in Australia and the States) was released in 2000. It’s possibly the best-known film based on the killer’s life. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the more uninspired.

The film opens up with some old footage of neighbours and friends of Gein getting interviewed by the news. It’s a nice, eerie way to set things up. It then moves on to a young couple getting freaked out by hearing something in the cemetery at night. Despite the title, this couple is not the romantic centre of the film. But like most Ed Gein movies, it picks up near the time of his mother’s death. Viewers only see his family life through flashbacks.

Two boys stop by at Gein’s one morning. These sorts of scenes always serve as a reminder of how human and normal Gein was to most people. He was a bit odd, but still well-liked by many in the community in Plainfield. It isn’t long before the youngest boy stumbles upon some heads in Gein’s room – which he claims are relics from the war (this is a nice true story that was a nice touch here).

The casting of serial killer-regular Steve Railsback is quite good: he’s polite, but just the right amount of sinister. He is often made fun of behind is back by various men for being a bit strange. He hits the right spots to make you feel a bit of sympathy while being reeled into his disturbed mind. The flash backs of his interactions with his mother Augusta are pretty good at enhancing the depth of character for Gein (even if they are some of the more silly scenes of the movie). Unfortunately, this is where the movie starts to fill in the gaps of history.

Here Ed is seen killing his brother George, which was never proved. It’s over the top and a bit cringe-worthy to watch. Here the film seems to stop. Or perhaps it just got too predictable, which I guess is to be expected considering this is a biopic of sorts. But knowing a story doesn’t mean it has to be done in the most boring manner possible. The use of the momma/Ed scenes start to become more frequent as the film goes on to show the progressive decline of Gein’s mental health. Unfortunately, this is pretty dull to watch.

burningbushHow the rest of the film plays out is as much as one would expect. It’s pretty light on the gore and detail here, leaving much to the imagination. But somehow it doesn’t really engage the mind. Rather, it puts it to sleep.

The acting is over the top, the facts are being toyed with, almost every scene is about three times more dramatic than it needs to be, but Ed Gein isn’t so bad. This movie mostly just suffers from lack of imagination. It plays everything so straight, and that includes the scene with the super bad burning bush effects.

This is not the best Ed Gein movie (that award still goes to Deranged). Though it is still heads and shoulders above that other “Ed Gein” movie with Kane Hodder. The film is just not that effective in making you feel anything. There is some sympathy towards Railsback’s Gein, but that’s about it. Just a little mild disgust and discomfort. I quite looked forward to it ending about half of the way through. If it wasn’t for Railsback, this probably wouldn’t be worth anyone’s time to go out of their way to watch.

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