Ed Gein: The Butcher Of Plainfield Review

Poster Art Country : USA
Year: 2007
Genre: Slasher
Format: Video
Running Time: 89 minutes
Distributor: Feifer Worldwide/Lionsgate

A young woman who has recently cheated on her boyfriend resolves to treat him to a romantic weekend in the mountains, unaware that her sins are about to catch up with her in murderous fashion as her one-night stand is not so ready to break off the relationship....

Written and Directed by Michael Feifer. Starring Kane Hodder, Priscilla Barnes, Michael Berryman, Adrienne Frantz and Shawn Hoffman.

One curious item for Ed Gein: The Butcher Of Plainfield is the end-credits disclaimer that rolls. Never mind that Edward Gein was a true figure who murdered numerous victims and did atrocious acts upon their remains. This picture is fiction. That the lead character is based upon a killer with the same name and whose modus operandi was identical--and that the movie's setting of the late 1950s in Plainfield, Wisconsin--are incidental. But if you can get beyond this narrative prestidigitation, Ed Gein: The Butcher Of Plainfield oozes with a refreshingly creepy vibe.

The coup here is selling Kane Hodder as the titular character. Anyone who's done his homework knows that the historical Ed Gein was a approaching sixty years old at the time of his capture and was a gaunt, greying figure. The tall, muscular and comparatively youthful Hodder is certainly a stretch physically, although the beard stubble and period clothing help soften the look. And let's face it--the four-time Jason actor (and soon-to-be Victor Crowley from the upcoming cinematic Hatchet) is going to carry considerably more star appeal for the seasoned genre video enthusiast.

Kane Hodder as Ed Gein.

The film deals with the day prior to and leading up to Gein's arrest. We follow the fictional deputy Bobby Mason (Shawn Hoffman), doing a decent low-rent Michael J. Fox effort as the novice lawman who realizes something's gone awry in the rustic little hamlet of Plainfield. He's got an ailing mother who practically has "next victim" tattooed on her forehead, if we know our horror movies. Actually, it's more a means to expand the horror subsection on Priscilla (The Devil's Rejects) Barnes' resume, but she does lend an air of experience in the acting department. Ditto with Michael Berryman, cast here in a fictional role as Gein's sometime (and usually unwilling) accomplice in grave-robbing.

As bodies begin to pile up, the authorities close come to suspect the local Gein's complicity, and the "not-how-it-really-happened" apprehension is slowly telegraphed as the good guys move in on the ghoulish farmhouse in the dead of night, where the fugitive Gein is now holding young Erica (Adrienne Frantz), who just happens--voila!--to be Deputy Mason's fiancee. The imposing Hodder does demonstrate some worthy acting ability, having to emote without the usual mask or make-up his roles hide him under. All the more reason to look forward to Hatchet, it would be remiss not to mention.

Michael Berryman co-stars in ED GEIN: THE BUTCHER OF PLAINFIELD.

Writer/director Michael Feifer, whose most recent effort was the Bill Moseley/Sid Haig vehicle A Dead Calling, wisely bathes his Plainfield in pseudo-sepia colors which not only suit the period but accentuate the creepy factor. If you've got to reinvent history for the sake of making a decently-paced neo-biographical piece, you could do a hell of a lot worse than Ed Gein: The Butcher Of Plainfield.


Review by Petch Lucas, for Pitofhorror.com

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