One of the scariest horror movie characters was actually based on a real-life killer

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By Nasima Khatun

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Did you know that one of the scariest horror movie characters was actually based on a real-life killer?

Based on a Stephen King novel, Gerald’s Game was released on Netflix back in 2017 and told the story of a couple (played by Bruce Greenwood and Carla Gugino) that tries to "spice up their marriage in a remote lake house."

However, after husband Gerald dies unexpectedly during a risqué sex game, the wife, Jessie, is left handcuffed to their bed frame and has to do whatever she can to break free from the physical shackles as well as the shackles of her mind.

After battling multiple demons, there's one that stands out from the rest and it is none other than the 'Moonlight Man', AKA the 'space cowboy' in the original book.

Portrayed by Dutch actor Carel Struycken, the character is visually striking - incredibly tall and with facial deformities, originally causing Jessie to believe he was merely a figment of her imagination.

A terrifying figure that haunts Jessie, you may think he's just a creepy figure created by King. However, he is - in fact - based on a real-life killer.

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Credit: Netflix

Ed Gein, from La Crosse, Wisconsin was a notorious killer whose gruesome crimes gained worldwide notoriety. He was also King's inspiration for the Moonlight Man/Space Cowboy.

Not only did he kidnap and dismember women from his local area, but he also took them back to his farm in Plainfield where he used to live with his mother and father. Gein would then make household items, clothing, and masks, out of their body parts.

The notorious killer also collected other body parts by robbing graves to help fuel his horrifying hobby, until he was eventually caught by the authorities.

After he was caught, 10 human skulls were found - with the grisly figure jumping to 15 when remains of more bodies were found following a second search of Gein's dilapidated Wisconsin home.

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Ed Gein after he was caught. Credit: Bettmann/Contributor/Getty

In 1958, years after committing his first crime, Gein’s "house of horrors" - as described by Britannica.com was ultimately destroyed by a raging fire.

Up until this day, who or what started the blaze remains unclear.

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Smoldering ruins is all that remains of the House of Horrors after a fire of undetermined cause destroyed it in 1958. Credit: Bettmann/Contributor/Getty

The motives for his crimes were his strange obsession with his mother, after the killer admitted both women he murdered resembled her. While the legal system went back and forth with Gein's trial, in the end, he was deemed unfit to stand and spent the rest of his life in a mental hospital, where he remained until his death in 1984.

Not only did the notorious murder inspire the 'Moonlight Man', but it was reported that he also inspired other classic horrors such as Psycho (1960), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974); and The Silence of the Lambs (1991).

Featured Image Credit: ATHVisions

One of the scariest horror movie characters was actually based on a real-life killer

vt-author-image

By Nasima Khatun

Article saved!Article saved!

Did you know that one of the scariest horror movie characters was actually based on a real-life killer?

Based on a Stephen King novel, Gerald’s Game was released on Netflix back in 2017 and told the story of a couple (played by Bruce Greenwood and Carla Gugino) that tries to "spice up their marriage in a remote lake house."

However, after husband Gerald dies unexpectedly during a risqué sex game, the wife, Jessie, is left handcuffed to their bed frame and has to do whatever she can to break free from the physical shackles as well as the shackles of her mind.

After battling multiple demons, there's one that stands out from the rest and it is none other than the 'Moonlight Man', AKA the 'space cowboy' in the original book.

Portrayed by Dutch actor Carel Struycken, the character is visually striking - incredibly tall and with facial deformities, originally causing Jessie to believe he was merely a figment of her imagination.

A terrifying figure that haunts Jessie, you may think he's just a creepy figure created by King. However, he is - in fact - based on a real-life killer.

size-full wp-image-1263241585
Credit: Netflix

Ed Gein, from La Crosse, Wisconsin was a notorious killer whose gruesome crimes gained worldwide notoriety. He was also King's inspiration for the Moonlight Man/Space Cowboy.

Not only did he kidnap and dismember women from his local area, but he also took them back to his farm in Plainfield where he used to live with his mother and father. Gein would then make household items, clothing, and masks, out of their body parts.

The notorious killer also collected other body parts by robbing graves to help fuel his horrifying hobby, until he was eventually caught by the authorities.

After he was caught, 10 human skulls were found - with the grisly figure jumping to 15 when remains of more bodies were found following a second search of Gein's dilapidated Wisconsin home.

wp-image-1263241570 size-full
Ed Gein after he was caught. Credit: Bettmann/Contributor/Getty

In 1958, years after committing his first crime, Gein’s "house of horrors" - as described by Britannica.com was ultimately destroyed by a raging fire.

Up until this day, who or what started the blaze remains unclear.

wp-image-1263241571 size-full
Smoldering ruins is all that remains of the House of Horrors after a fire of undetermined cause destroyed it in 1958. Credit: Bettmann/Contributor/Getty

The motives for his crimes were his strange obsession with his mother, after the killer admitted both women he murdered resembled her. While the legal system went back and forth with Gein's trial, in the end, he was deemed unfit to stand and spent the rest of his life in a mental hospital, where he remained until his death in 1984.

Not only did the notorious murder inspire the 'Moonlight Man', but it was reported that he also inspired other classic horrors such as Psycho (1960), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974); and The Silence of the Lambs (1991).

Featured Image Credit: ATHVisions