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Ed Gein, the serial killer who inspired the most famous characters in horror movies: from Norman Bates to “The Madman with the Chainsaw”

Small town, big hell. At the beginning of the last century, Plainfield was a place where only 700 people lived. Set in Wisconsin, the rural landscape seemed out of a calendar: large mills, sprawling plantations, and farms spread across vast acres. That which we know as the “deep America”. All its inhabitants believed that they knew each other, no one distrusted anyone. The doors were wide open, the boys were playing anywhere. But that place where tranquility reigned was the cradle of terror.

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The most infamous resident of those payments was Ed gein, who committed crimes so heinous that she became the muse of the most iconic murderers in cinema: Norman bates, from Psychosis (1960); Leatherface, from The Madman of the Chainsaw (1974); Buffalo bill, from The silence of the inocents (1991); largely to Patrick Bateman from American Psycho (2000); and countless class b killers. However, the massacres and looting of the ‘Plainfield Butcher’ surpass any fiction.

Ed Gein, the serial killer who inspired the most famous characters in horror movies: from Norman Bates to

What the police found when they entered your property in November 1957 could not fit in the head of any filmmaker or writer. On the ground floor was the horror: cups and ashtrays made from human skulls, a belt made from women’s nipples, furniture upholstered with human skin, masks made from faces, and the disemboweled body of their latest victim. But that collection wasn’t the only thing that inspired pop culture. The other part of her personality was reflected upstairs.

When you went upstairs, there was no more clutter or dirt. Things gleamed because that place was sacred to the assassin. He had jealously cared for every detail because that was the room of the woman in his life: Augusta, his mother. She was a religious fanatic who viewed men as despicable beings and women as the embodiment of evil. For that reason, he did not let his children interact with other people, he wanted to keep them on the path of good …

Some of the elements that Ed Gein built.  (Photo: AP)
Some of the elements that Ed Gein built. (Photo: AP)

Various articles maintain that Ed had an Oedipus complex. Even, although it is not confirmed, the theory that flies above is that he murdered his brother Henry because he was the only one who objected to the bond he had with his mother. With no one questioning him, he dedicated himself to taking care of her and fulfilling her requests. The relationship did not go as well as he imagined because Augusta suffered a stroke just a few months later and was paralyzed. Another attack would end killing her a year later.

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The murders he confessed were those of Bernice Worden, owner of the hardware store, and Mary Hogan, who ran a bar where he used to hang out. While he detailed how he desecrated the graves of women who had recently died to use parts of their bodies as ornaments, he denied having violated them when unearthing them. “They smelled very bad,” he said. Despite the fact that many maintain that he practiced cannibalism, he never admitted it.

He was diagnosed with schizophrenia and referred to an asylum where he remained until his death on July 26, 1984.

The relationship between Ed Gein and his mother: the bond Alfred Hitchcock took for “Psycho”

Alfred Hitchcock he had such a big ego that his greatest success came almost as a joke. What if someone talented made a low-budget film? He wondered. So he asked Universal to buy the rights to the novel Psychosis, by Robert Bloch. Those pages had as their muse the repercussions that the Ed Gein case had: the idea that the neighbor can be the monster, but above all the oedipal relationship between a serial killer and his mother.

Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates in "Psychosis".  (Photo: Paramount)
Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates in “Psycho.” (Photo: Paramount)

Inspiration would become even more evident in Bates Motel, the series that showed how Norma Nate raised her son Norman. She took it upon herself to convey all her obsessions and misogyny to him. Even with the passing of the episodes, incest becomes the lynchpin of the plot.

Leatherface and Buffalo Bill, fetishists inspired by the Plainfield butcher

Director Tobe Hooper mind that The Madman of the Chainsaw (1974) came to him when he was in a supermarket and imagined cutting his way through the crowd with a chainsaw. Everything else comes from the Plainfield butcher: the idea that isolation can have dire consequences on a young man and the protagonist’s hobby with his farm for human parts.

Leatherface in a classic scene from "The madman with the chainsaw".  (Photo: Turbine)
Leatherface in a classic scene from “The Madman with the Chainsaw.” (Photo: Turbine)

On the other hand, Buffalo Bill, the serial killer of The silence of the inocentsIt also has a lot of Gein. While writer Thomas Harris mixed several famous killers like Ted Bundy and Gary Heidnick, the most chilling thing was that he skinned the women he killed to make objects with human skin.

Violence as a source of pleasure: the yuppie from “American Psycho” who admired the farmer

Both in the book American Psycho as in his film adaptation, the protagonist is closer to any yuppie on Wall Street than to a Wisconsin farmer. But Besides admiring Donald Trump, he used to praise Ed Gein.

Christian Bale in a scene from "American Psycho".  (Photo: Universal Studios)
Christian Bale in a scene from “American Psycho”. (Photo: Universal Studios)

He killed homeless people, prostitutes, and co-workers. All in a way as beastly as his admired Ed Gein, whom he attributes to “getting turned on just by thinking of a beautiful woman nailed to a pole.” However, that textual quotation is wrong because the author of that phrase was the serial killer Ed kemper, who killed 10 women, including his mother.

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HELEN HERNANDEZ

Helen Hernandez is our best writer. Helen writes about social news and celebrity gossip. She loves watching movies since childhood. Email: Helen@oicanadian.com Phone : +1 281-333-2229

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