A new True Crime series now streaming on Netflix reveals chilling recordings of the infamous “killer clown” John Wayne Gacy.
The series is entitled Conversations with a Killer: John Wayne Gacy. It is from the mind of director Joe Berlinger who previously brought True Crime enthusiasts his Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. His latest Netflix series takes you through the chilling circumstances of Gacy’s ghastly murders while also hearing about the tragedies in Gacy’s own words from interviews conducted with him between November 1979 and April 1980.
“After I got away with the first, I just kept getting away with them,” we hear in a voiceover from Gacy’s recorded conversations. “That’s why I didn’t stop.”
Gacy was an aspiring politician, contractor, and occasional clown who, despite his outward air of normalcy, assaulted and killed 33 young men in the 1970s.
As the first episode of the series unfolds, we hear from Dr. Kim Byers-Lund, who recalls the day her friend Rob Piest disappeared while they were working at a local pharmacy as teens in the Chicago area. Gacy was the last person who was with Piest.
Through a series of interviews with investigators, family members of victims, survivors, and others who knew Gacy personally, at the core of the series is one key question: How was Gacy able to kill so many people for so long?
The story also delves into the prejudices and dangers faced by young gay men who came out in the ’70s. As gay rights activist Martha Court describes in the series, many of these individuals who came out as gay or were discovered to be gay were “throwaways” from their families, which is presented as a contributing factor for the lengthy series of deaths at the hands of Gacy, seemingly without any thorough investigation from authorities.
A particularly impactful moment in the series is when investigators are describing actually finding the remains of Gacy’s victims, many buried in a crawl space in the killer’s own home.
Dan Genty, an evidence technician with Cook County Sheriff’s Office, recounts the “horror” he felt when he first realized that they had found “a basement full of kids.”
Listening to Gacy describe how he killed these young men and teen boys, what his pattern was truly makes you feel sick, amplified even further as survivors grapple with the reality that they easily could have been killed, alongside graphic footage from the excavation.
“The saving of the corpses and storing them in the basement,” Gacy states in the audio recordings. “It was a hiding place. It was a secret place.”
“Those are my bodies. That’s where I wanted to keep them. They had no right to touch ‘em.”
Ultimately, Gacy was executed by lethal injection in 1994, but five of his victims remain unidentified to this day.