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One Of The Creepiest Horror Movie Characters Was Based On A Real-Life Serial Killer

Lisa McLoughlin

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One Of The Creepiest Horror Movie Characters Was Based On A Real-Life Serial Killer

It has been revealed that one of the creepiest characters in horror movie history was based on a real-life serial killer.

The bone-chilling Gerald’s Game was released on Netflix in 2017, and was based on Stephen King's 1992 book of the same name.

The film tells the story of Gerald (played by Bruce Greenwood) and his wife Jessie (Carla Gugino) as they go on a romantic break to try and refresh their marriage.

They head off to a remote lake house, but after a sex game goes wrong Gerald dies, and Jessie ends up handcuffed to the bed. The film then focuses on the claustrophobia and panic Jessie feels as she begins to realise just how dire her situation is.

Watch the trailer below:

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One of the film's creepiest elements is the ‘Moonlight Man’, who is referred to as the ‘space cowboy’ in the book, a terrifying figure lurking on Jessie's periphery that comes to embody death in her mind.

While Jesse and viewers alike are unsure if he's just a hallucination, it turns out that the character is based on a real-life serial killer: Ed Gein.

Just as the Moonlight Man has a bag of bones and trophies, Gein exhumed corpses from a nearby graveyard in a 'dazed state'.

He’d haul the bodies back to his home, where he'd take the skin and bones of his victims to make various objects like lampshades.

Police also found a female body suit, which authorities believed Gein had made to wear so 'that he could become his mother – to literally crawl into her skin'.

Ed Gein is the serial killer who inspired the 'Moonlight Man' in Gerald's Game. Credit: FBI
Ed Gein is the serial killer who inspired the 'Moonlight Man' in Gerald's Game. Credit: FBI

Gein was eventually caught when cops investigated the disappearance of hardware store owner Bernice Worden in 1957.

The murderer was the last person who saw her alive, and when they searched his property, they found her mutilated dead body.

There's an exhaustive list of other things they found in his house, but let's just say some of the less-disturbing items were human skulls on his bedposts.

The character lurks on Jessie's periphery throughout the movie. Credit: Netflix
The character lurks on Jessie's periphery throughout the movie. Credit: Netflix

Gein’s crimes were also the inspiration behind 'Leatherface' from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs, and Norman Bates from Psycho.

His story also helped develop other projects like House of 1000 Corpses and the character of Dr Oliver Thredson from the TV series American Horror Story: Asylum.

Instead of being locked up in a normal prison, Gein pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. He was deemed to be mentally incompetent to stand trial, and a judge committed him to the Central State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.

He died in 1984 of heart failure as a result of cancer.

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Topics: Netflix, TV and Film, Crime

Lisa McLoughlin
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