More horror films have been based on Ed Gein, a notorious serial killer known for making skin suits from his victims.
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Due to the severity of his crimes and the state of his house when he was arrested, Ed Gein is one of the most infamous American serial killers. Convicted killer and body snatcher Gein, known as “the Butcher of Plainfield” or “the Plainfield Ghoul,” was a convicted murderer and body snatcher who operated in Plainfield, Wisconsin from 1946 to 1957 after the death of his mother left him alone and delusional.
Gein’s crimes include the creation of several skin masks he wore to be closer to his mother, and the collection of various women’s body parts which he decorated throughout his home, including heads, bones, tanned skin lampshades and furniture covers, and a variety of clothing items crafted from human skin.
Gein has inspired more horror movie killers than any other real-life criminal because of the extreme nature of his crimes. Filmmakers have often drawn inspiration from the infamous Norman Bates to create their own twisted villains, such as Dr. Oliver Thredson in American Horror Story: Asylum.
1. Psycho (1960)
Robert Bloch’s novel, Psycho, was published in 1959 and Alfred Hitchcock’s film adaptation, which was based on Ed Gein’s crimes, was released a year later. Bloch was 35 miles away from Plainfield at the time of Gein’s arrest.
However, Paula Guran notes that Bloch’s book Behind the Bates Motel was written with the “theory that the man next door may be a monster undiscovered even in the gossip-ridden microcosm of small-town life” in mind at the time. Bloch was astonished to learn how much Norman Bates resembled Gein in his actions and his reasons once the full circumstances of Gein’s case were published, and he placed a sentence alluding to Gein in one of the book’s last chapters to make a parallel.
When it comes to classic horror films, Psycho ranks as one of the most revered, with an American Film Institute rating of number one on their list of the 100 most thrilling films ever made. Despite Hitchcock’s admission that Norman Bates is entirely Bloch’s creation, it’s clear that Gein’s crimes were more a part of the cultural zeitgeist at the time of the film’s development than they were when the novel was written. Anthony Perkins’ portrayal of Norman Bates, portrayed by Anthony Perkins, owes a lot to his work as Norman Bates.
Norman Bates and Ed Gein have a mother complex in common. In both cases, the males were raised by an overbearing mother who was deeply religious. They fell into a state of lunacy after their mother died and committed murder as a result of this. They were able to keep their mother alive in their minds and even “become” her at times.
2. Deranged (1974)
After his mother’s death, Ezra Cobb, an elderly man living in a rural Midwestern hamlet, initiates a serial of murders and grave robbery that is largely based on Ed Gein’s life. When Cobb’s devout mother died, he was trained to be a misogynist and went on a killing spree and grave-robbing spree.
The plot of Deranged is also remarkably similar to the story of Gein’s existence and eventual capture, with some notable exceptions. As with Gein’s assassination of tavern owner Mary Hogan, Cobb was fascinated by and eventually killed waitress Mary Ransum. The treatment of Sallie Mae’s body by Cobb and Gein in Deranged is similar to that of Bernice Worden, a hardware shop owner.
Deranged plays up the necrophilia part, as the film was also known as Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile, despite the fact that Gein himself never practiced necrophilia. This is remarkable. With the exception of this one detail, the tale is eerily identical to Gein’s.
Here is a list of every real serial killer who appeared in “Devil’s Night” on American Horror Story:
3. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Elmer Wayne Henley, the serial killer Dean Corll’s go-to accomplice, was also a major influence on Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre by Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel. To be fair, Gein’s inspiration for Leatherface is much more obvious, given the character has a history of dressing as women, mutilating bodies, and fashioning other outfits out of human flesh.
Leatherface was inspired by Ed Gein’s horrible murders when Kim Henkel wrote the Texas Chainsaw Massacre screenplay, which he researched extensively. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the first film to take inspiration from Ed Gein without focusing on his mother’s relationship with him. Although Leatherface is portrayed dressing up as a woman, this feature is not explicitly tied to a mother figure. Instead, it draws attention to his preoccupation with human skin and body mutilation.
4. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Hannibal Lecter, the charismatic and deadly serial killer/cannibal depicted by Jonathan Demme in his 1991 film, Silence of the Lambs, has gained a cult following. Agent Clarice Starling’s pursuit of Buffalo Bill, a serial murderer who preys on obese women and skins their corpses, is the film’s core premise.
Thomas Harris’ 1988 novel Silence of the Lambs is the inspiration for the film adaptation of the same name. Harris drew inspiration for Buffalo Bill from a variety of real-life serial killers in the United States, including Jerry Brudos, an Oregon-based serial killer and necrophile who murdered four women while dressing as one of them; Ted Bundy, a notorious serial killer who repeatedly pretended to be injured before attacking his victims; and Gary M. Heidnik, a serial kidnapper and rapist.
He was a serial killer because of his ability to mutilate bodies to make skin suits, which is what most people remember about Gumb. Because of his proclivity for dismembering corpses and his desire to transform into a woman by collecting women’s skin clothing, Thomas Harris created a killer who is so preoccupied with femininity and transformation that he will kill to create an outfit made of women’s skin and to be born again as one.
5. Ed Gein (2000)
An in-depth look at the life and crimes of Ed Gein, this film, released as Ed Gein in North America and Australia, is also known as In The Light of the Moon. It begins with his childhood abuse at the hands of his overly religious mother and alcoholic father before concluding with his arrest and the discovery of his home by police officers. Gein’s life is closely examined in order to make a true rendition of his life on film, however the portrayal is inconsistent. The film is lackluster and has received generally poor reviews from critics and spectators.
While the film was intended to be a psychological study of the protagonist’s mind, filmmaker Chuck Parello (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) wanted it to be a continuation of his previous work. Even if Gein may or may not have been to blame for his brother’s death, he had a direct impact on him. Also, while Gein was fascinated by tales of cannibal tribes and Nazi crimes, he never admitted to committing cannibalism as Parello has painted him.
6. House of 1000 Corpses (2003) & The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
Cult classic films like House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects by Rob Zombie integrate many cultural references, such as naming all the family members after Groucho Marx characters from the 1930s. Otis B. Driftwood (Bill Moseley) is, however, a nod to Ed Gein as played by Bill Moseley. As the most vicious member of the Firefly family, Otis is named after Marx’s character from A Night at the Opera. He is a sadistic necrophiliac who creates freaks for Captain Spaulding’s museum by sculpting his victims. In addition, he wears his victims’ skin as a costume on several occasions. Characterization in Rob Zombie’s movie about the Firefly family is based on these two most prominent characteristics of Ed Gein’s crimes.
7. Ed Gein: The Butcher of Plainfield (2007)
After more than 50 years since Ed Gein’s arrest, the most recent horror film based on his crimes is Ed Gein: The Butcher of Plainfield. Butcher of Plainfield is a direct-to-video horror film starring Kane Hodder ofFriday The 13th fame, which focuses on the history of Gein and the circumstances leading to his capture. It’s about Ed Gein, a sheriff’s deputy, and his girlfriend being kidnapped and killed by Ed Gein along with Vera Mason, and the subsequent race to find him before it’s too late. The name of the film clearly reveals that it is based on the real-life murderer Gein, despite the film’s lack of accuracy. Even though Ted Bundy and other well-known serial killers have served as inspiration for more recent horror film villains, Ed Gein’s crimes have been deeply ingrained in popular culture and will continue to do so in the years to come.