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 and 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.
- Adult Fear: A kindly person invites your child out for a day of fun and promises to have them back by the afternoon, and you agree. You get them dressed up, tell them to be on their best behavior, and kiss them goodbye. You never see them again.
- 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.