Filmmaker ‘Interviews’ Dead ‘Silence of the Lambs’ Serial Killer Ed Gein in Crazy New Doc
Breaking news, everyone: Humanity makes definitive contact with the dead in Ed Gein: The Real Psycho, when paranormal investigator and documentary filmmaker Steve Shippy successfully converses with the spirit of Ed Gein, the infamous killer who served as the inspiration for Psycho’s Norman Bates, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s Leatherface, and The Silence of the Lambs’ Buffalo Bill. Throughout the course of this two-hour Discovery+ special (April 9), Shippy asks both Gein and his mother Augusta numerous questions about their relationship, and they answer him in back-and-forth fashion, to the point that Gein even remarks, “Put on the suit.” When Shippy follows up by inquiring if the killer means the skin suit he crafted from the corpses he exhumed from a local cemetery, Gein replies, like any demonic specter might, “Yeah.”
“This kind of evidence is unheard of,” exclaims Shippy after a lengthy convo with the notorious fiend. What’s also unheard of is a non-fiction program going to these lengths to pretend that such make-believe nonsense is authentic. Part of Discovery+’s “Shock Docs” franchise, Ed Gein: The Real Psycho concerns Shippy and “renowned psychic medium” Cindy Kaza visiting various locales in Plainfield, Wisconsin, related to Gein in order to determine if his spirit still haunts the area, and to find out if perhaps Gein committed his crimes under the possessed spell of his domineering mother Augusta. What they find is nothing except a bunch of run-down buildings and abandoned outdoor spaces where they talk about feeling Gein’s presence, and employ a variety of electronic devices—whose purpose and operation is left vague because they’re useless beeping-buzzing contraptions—to commune with him in the hereafter. And yet at every turn, Shippy and Kaza pronounce that they’ve struck gold, thereby turning this entire affair into an absurd bit of gaslighting.
According to its hosts, definitive proof abounds in Ed Gein: The Real Psycho. The former hardware store building where Gein killed Bernice Worden in 1957? “Definitely haunted.” The old jail where Gein was kept? “Definitely haunted.” After hearing static-y noise on one of Shippy’s ghost-detecting gizmos? “We definitely made contact with the spirit of Ed Gein.” Following additional interference clatter on his machine? “Something is definitely here.” When they find a knife that supposedly belonged to Gein? “He definitely wants his knife back.” In the show’s closing moments, Shippy concludes, “Plainfield is definitely haunted.” Shippy utters the word “definitely” so many times—while finding absolutely zilch that’s “definitely” paranormal—that it almost feels as if he’s taunting us, throwing his bogus ruse in our faces.