Born in Wisconsin, Ed Gein (Steve Railsback) was the second son of George Gein (Bill Cross) and Augusta Gein (Carrie Snodgress). He had an older brother, Henry (Brian Evers). Ed grew up with an abusive alcoholic father and a religious zealot mother. His father eventually died of heart failure. Several years later his brother, Henry tells him that he is moving out. When he disparages his mother Ed kills him and sets fire to the brush around him to cover the murder. Now Ed is even more isolated with only his verbally abusive mother for company. When his mother dies, Ed becomes despondent.
With his mother gone, Ed becomes obsessed with dead older women. He makes trips to the cemetery and digs up the bodies of older women who have recently died. He attempts to bring them back to life. When that isn’t successful, he uses the body parts of the women to make himself a bodysuit, masks, shrunken heads and various furniture and lamps. His house is strewn with skulls and bones.
Ed’s psychosis deepens. He begins to imagine that he is seeing and hearing his mother. She tells him that women are sinful and must be killed. Mary Hogan (Sally Champlin) is the barmaid at the local bar. She is loud and overly sexual. Ed shoots and wounds her. He takes her to his home and ties her to the bed. When she dies, he eats some of her and uses parts of her skin to make his bodysuit. The police have no clues as to where Mary is or what happened to her.
Ed’s mother continues to appear in his hallucinations. Now she tells Ed that Collette Marshall (Carol Mansell), who owns the local hardware store, is a flirtatious temptress who stole her husband from another woman, and she must die. But Collette doesn’t go missing for very long, and the last person who was in her store was Ed Gein.
“Ed Gein” AKA “In the Light of the Moon” was released in 2000 and was directed by Chuck Parello. It is an American crime horror film. At the ending of the movie is a brief black and white video of the actual Ed Gein. The movie follows Gein’s life pretty well. Many movies were made that were loosely based off of Ed Gein, in particular “Psycho” 1960, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” 1974 and “The Silence of the Lambs” 1991.
Railsback plays the slightly retarded Ed Gein in a quietly mad manner. His usual wild insanity is severely toned down here. His portrayal is very close to how Gein actually was. There is some graphic content but most of the film is the slow mental breakdown of a man alone trying to justify his demons.
There is a section in the middle of the film where the film jumps and the sound isn’t in sync, but right now, this is the only copy of the film I have.
In 1957, the real Ed Gein AKA “The Butcher of Plainfield” AKA “The Plainfield Ghoul” was arraigned and pled not guilty by reason of insanity. He was diagnosed as having schizophrenia and was found to be mentally incompetent to stand trial. Ed was sent to the Central State Hospital for the Criminally Insane and later transferred to the Mendota State Hospital. In 1968 he was determined to be mentally able to confer with council and was put on trial for the murder of Bernice Worden. Worden’s character was named Collette Marshall in the film. He was found guilty but then deemed mentally insane and was remanded to Central State Hospital. He was not tried for the murder of Mary Hogan but did admit to killing her. Gein died in 1984 at the age of 77 from lung cancer. He is now buried in an unmarked grave between his parents.