Rob Zombie Draws Ire Over Haunted House
Rocker-turned-filmmaker Rob Zombie has come under fire for a section of his haunted house in Illinois, devoted to serial killer John Wayne Gacy, with Gacy's prosecutors claiming that it's "in terrible taste."
Zombie's Great American Nightmare in the Chicago suburb of Villa Park features three rooms dedicated to serial killers Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy. In the "Gacy room," an actor dressed as Gacy sits in his famous clown costume, blowing up balloons, while two ghoulish dolls dressed as Boy Scouts sit on the couch.
Terry Sullivan, an attorney who helped prosecute and convict Gacy has said the exhibit is in terrible taste. Another prosecutor on the case, Robert Egan pointed to the fact that most of Gacy's victims were from the Northwest Region of Chicago, where Villa Park is located. While supporting Zombie's right to run the haunted house in the manner he sees fit, Egan points to the possibility of opening "old wounds" of the victims' families.
Zombie, who directed the horror movies The Devil's Rejects, House of 1000 Corpses and 2007's Halloween, responded to the criticism by pointing to the "humor" of the Gacy room. "There will probably be backlash," he said. "There was last year in California. They didn't like the Manson one because that was a California issue... This is the home of all serial killers — the Midwest. So they'll hate everything, I guess."
Zombie's co-producer, Steve Kopleman, replied regarding the Gacy room, "It's tasteless and offensive, but it's art. Some art is tasteless and offensive."
Known as the Killer Clown, Gacy was convicted of the sexual assault and murder of a 33 teenage boys and young men in a series of killings committed between 1972 and 1978 in Chicago. Gacy was convicted and sentenced to death on March 13, 1980, and executed by lethal injection on May 10, 1994.