If there’s one thing Netflix has always done well, it’s true crime documentaries: from their hit show Making a Murderer, to the phenomenon of Tiger King, the streaming giant has always excelled in gripping factual shows about some of the world’s most notorious criminals.

In 2019 Netflix released the doc Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, which brought viewers inside the mind of one the most infamous serial killers in history. This year they’re following that series up with the next instalment, Conversations with a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes.

The followup follows a similar format to The Bundy Tapes, with filmmaker Joe Berlinger compiling hours of archive footage and interview tapes with the horrific murderer John Wayne Gacy. Gacy’s murders occurred throughout the 1970s and shocked the world when they were uncovered, and he became known infamously as the Clown Killer due to his job as a children’s clown entertainer.

What results is a chilling yet enthralling series that explores one of America’s most notorious criminal cases, finding new details and perspectives. It aims, overall, to answer the question of “how was John Wayne Gacy able to get away with killing so many people for so long?” Because of his pushes to meet politicians and his job as a kids’ entertainer, the documentary proposes the sobering conclusion that Gacy was simply thought of as too popular and harmless a person to be a murder suspect.

The show also explores the devastating effects of attitudes towards the gay community in the 1970s; many of Gacy’s victims were gay teens. The series is truly powerful in the scenes exploring this and the testimonies of investigators into the murders, with harrowing interviews with detectives. The series’ synopsis reads “He dined with the powerful. He preyed on the vulnerable. Beneath a smiling exterior was the horrifying darkness of a sadistic serial killer.

You can watch the whole series of Conversations with a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes right now on Netflix, running at three hours long across three episodes. In addition, the series’ predecessor The Ted Bundy Tapes is also available here.


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