The Gray Man is a 2007 American True Crime film.
Albert Fish is a man with... issues. You see, due to an abusive childhood, he's developed many paraphilias. Paedophilia, sexual sadism, a humiliation fetish, you name it. His madness boils to a head, and he starts abducting murdering children. As his murders continue, the police desperately search for the lunatic the public has nicknamed "the Gray Man."
This film contains examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Albert is incredibly emotionally and financially abusive to his son, but his treatment of his daughter might be his only humanizing trait.
- The Adjectival Man: Fish is nicknamed "the Gray Man" before his identity is discovered.
- Based on a True Story: Albert Fish was a real murderer, and his crimes were really this horrific.
- Big Bad: Albert Fish, our paedophilic Serial Killer Villain Protagonist.
- Depraved Bisexual: Albert Fish's paedophilic and homicidal tendencies extend to both boys and girls. He also had a wife, but they've long since divorced.
- Evil Old Folks: Fish is rather elderly, and the coroner who assesses his first victim assumes he had help due to the savagery.
- Faux Affably Evil: Fish presents himself as a kindly old man who loves children, but the slightest upset reveals him as a cruel misogynist who loves children too much and a sexual sadist.
- Film Noir: The film presents itself as a net-noir.
- Freudian Excuse: Albert Fish became a paedophiliac Serial Killer and cannibal in an attempt to process the trauma of spending his childhood in an abusive Orphanage of Fear.
- Gory Discretion Shot: While we see Fish abducting the children, the camera cuts away before he kills them.
- I'm a Humanitarian: The reason Grace Budd's body is never found is because Fish chopped her up and ate her.
- Insanity Defence: While on trial, Fish's defense hinges their entire case on this. It doesn't work, and Fish gets the death penalty.
- Karma Houdini: Nothing happened to Fish's childhood abusers.
- Pædo Hunt: Fish commits his crimes due to a sexual interest in hurting children. He never rapes them, as his fetish is in their murder.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Serial Killer Albert Fish responds to his landlady refusing to let him take her son to the movies by sending her a misogynistic screed.
- Private Eye Monologue: Will King gets one, as part of the nourish feel of the film.
- Sadist: Albert Fish is a true sexual sadist, getting off on child murder and cannibalism. He states that he could rape them too, but doesn't because the violence is what gets him off. He's also a psychological one, sending a graphic letter to Grace Budd's family years after he killed her, just as the wounds are starting to heal.
- Self-Harm: Fish makes a regular ritual out of flogging his own back, due to his humiliation fetish. He also kept 29 sewing needles in his groin.
- The Sociopath: Fish is a low-functioning sociopath. He can present a calm demeanor, but the slightest upset will cause him to have a violent outburst, and he's secretly a sadistic murderer.
- Survivor's Guilt: Grace Budd's brother was Fish's initial intended victim, but he changed his mind, and the brother has been beating himself up ever since.
- That One Case: The Grace Budd case becomes this for Will King, who ends up obsessing over it for years after it goes cold, to the point of having a mental breakdown.
- Villain Protagonist: Albert Fish, a paedophilic Serial Killer. However, he's not the only protagonist, as the detective pursuing him gets roughly equal screentime.
- Would Hurt a Child: Albert Fish is a serial murderer of children.