“Dahmer – Monster” and the Troubling Glorification of Serial Killers

Chloe Carlson, Staff Writer

The production of shows starring serial killers has been a hot topic for years, involving some of the worlds most famous such as Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gayce, and the most recent rendition, Jeffery Dahmer. If done correctly, these shows can be informational in their documentation of what led to these killers’ dark tendencies, as well as description of their crimes and how their violent stories came to an end. So why is the new Dahmer series receiving so much backlash? The most overwhelming points that have been circling the internet include the glorification of Jeffery Dahmer, himself, as a serial killer, the failure to follow a documentary-style format that accurately depicts events and the insensitivity towards the families of the victims involved. 

Immediately after announcing the cast-list for the series, people on social media swooned over the ridiculously handsome Hollywood star chosen to play Dahmer, Evan Peters. This especially hit hard on apps like Tik Tok, where teens from all over the world created, circulated and enjoyed videos/edits glorifying his killings as well as his looks and his dark, mysterious demeanor. Viral videos have even surfaced of individuals dressing up as, reenacting actions of, and fully embodying Jeffery Dahmer. Some claim that Hollywood pushes people to put these killers on a pedestal by casting attractive actors to play these disturbed individuals in a dark romantic sort of way. Another flow of complaints included the inability to be historically accurate to real-life events. According to an article written by Pop Buzz, “Anne E. Schwartz, author and former reporter, told The Independent that the Netflix series took “artistic license” with a lot of key details, adding that it actually “does not bear a great deal of resemblance to the facts of the case”.” 

Last, but certainly not least, the show has received loads of backlash from the victims’ families and close friends. Several of these individuals have stated that Netflix never reached out to them while making the series informing them of the gruesome details included, and even quoted them on statements they had made during the original trial without their permission. Furthermore, the graphic portrayal of the killings, rapes, and trials have reopened wounds that have been healing for years. Members of these families have discouraged glorification and cosplaying of Jeffery Dahmer as he is a deeply crude individual who should only be remembered as a monster who ruined and traumatized countless lives.