Dahmer on Netflix

Dahmer Raises The Question “When Will We Stop Obsessing Over Serial Killers?”

The world is quite obsessed with true crime. Between books, podcasts, TV episodes, and movies, we can’t seem to get enough stories about evil, monstrous people. I won’t lie, I’ve fallen into true crime’s clutches.

It’s fascinating to see how someone’s mind can be so far from normal that they choose to commit vile crimes. We know Ted Bundy like the back of our hand, but somehow we just must tune in to the latest film adaptation to compare how different this one is from the rest.

Overconsumption of crime-centric media has desensitized us to all sorts of brutality. These fictionalized versions of real events that happened in real life are viewed by people who equate it to an episode of The Kardashians.

When Dahmer was announced to be released on Netflix, directed by American Horror Story and Glee’s Ryan Murphy and starring Evan Peters, I was immediately intrigued. Ryan Murphy knows how to direct something utterly spooky, especially when it stars Peters, but Jeffrey Dahmer was not the next project I expected from them.

Jeffrey Dahmer is the focus of thousands of podcast episodes and docuseries…Ross Lynch recently played Dahmer in My Friend, Dahmer, a movie so creepy I couldn’t make it all the way through. So to hear that yet another Dahmer-focused horror story was coming out was a little off to me…

Haven’t we been chilled to the core enough by these stories that we are fine never hearing - or seeing a reenactment - of them again?

The backlash surrounding Netflix’s Dahmer began when a family member of one of Dahmer’s victims spoke out about the show re-traumatizing their family. Murphy’s version includes a reenactment of a courtroom testimony by Rita Isbell, whose family later spoke out against the show.

In an exclusive for Insider, Rita Isbell recounts what it’s like reliving the trauma of losing a family member due to Netflix’s Dahmer:

“If I didn't know any better, I would've thought it was me. Her hair was like mine, she had on the same clothes. That's why it felt like reliving it all over again. It brought back all the emotions I was feeling back then.
I was never contacted about the show. I feel like Netflix should've asked if we mind or how we felt about making it. They didn't ask me anything. They just did it,”

I have to admit, these quotes deterred me from even starting the show. Isbell has a point, can we stop rehashing those details we already know? The victims’ families are still here, they’re real people, and these are real events.

Another issue I am having with all of this is the actors they are choosing to portray these awful humans. Like Zac Efron playing Ted Bundy, or Ross Lynch, or Evan Peters…although they may have done an eerily good job making them resemble the actual serial killers, it feels unnecessary.

Am I comfortable watching some of the hottest men in Hollywood play the worst men on the planet? Not really. We shouldn’t have to associate our favorite actors with people who don’t deserve the spotlight in the first place.

It’s true, streaming services get great views and there’s a ton of intrigue around these particular stories…but these plotlines have been told already. I know this won’t be the last serial killer fetishization, but please let it slow down after all this.

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