Before just a few weeks ago, many had only heard of Jeffrey Dahmer through old YouTube videos and spotty documentaries on the serial killer’s life. The new Netflix series, ‘Dahmer: Monster – The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,’ which has now become the second most successful Netflix series of all time, sheds light on a very dark person and subject topics that haven’t been dived into so deeply before. With this, comes many problems.
In the series, Evan Peters plays Jeffrey Dahmer and he truly does an award winning job at acting as the serial killer. Many videos have been made comparing Evan to the real Dahmer, and at times, it’s hard to tell which is which. Per rumors, it was said that Evan played so close to playing his role that he had therapists on set to bring him down mentally from taking on such a devilish character.
The series goes through the life of Dahmer and stays as accurate as possible to the actual story and happenings that went on during Dahmer’s spree.
Problems with the series began once it picked up traction as they initially started when some members of the LGBTQ+ community noted how it was wrong of Netflix to host the series under the LGBTQ+ tag. After backlash, Netflix did oblige those who voiced concern and took the tag off of the series.
After the problems with tags, Netflix and the makers of the series received comments that they were making money off of the tragedy of others. So far, over 300 million hours of the series has been watched from subscribers to the Netflix platform. This has brought a lot of revenue to all involved with the series, but not the family members of the victims who had their stories told within the series.
Some family members have made it very clear that the series retraumatized them and they did not receive any kind of financial compensation for their stories, likeness, etc. While it is a bad look for Netflix to do this, it should be noted that the Dahmer case in 1992 awarded family members with upwards of $50,000,000. To add, the case is public record which means that the story can be told by anyone without the need for contact or agreements. Of course, no monetary amount can replace a loved one regardless.
The next issue that arose was general public opinion on the piece. Many felt that the series sexualized Jeffrey Dahmer and many began to feel an attraction towards Dahmer and feel a sense of sadness for Jeffrey Dahmer rather than for the victims whose lives were taken by the killer. Obviously, this was not what the series intended to happen.
The show runs for a total of ten episodes and has been successful for good reason. The series tells the story flawlessly and, in my own opinion, does a great job at highlighting the lives of the victims as well. For many, it has been hard to comprehend that Dahmer and his victims’ stories are in fact real due to the way the stories are told. The series unfolds like a normal horror series, but please keep in mind how real it truly is.
Since it came out, the series has been trending and it doesn’t look like it will stop soon. It looks like the phrase of ‘Monster,’ may lead to more deep dives into other serial killers. Gacy was highlighted in the Dahmer series and may have his own soon.
In any regard, with the Netflix adaptation being great in terms of acting, production, and story telling, respectfully – it is sad that we, as a culture, look at this more as entertainment rather than trying to make actual changes in the studies of psychology and looking for prevention rather than what story we can talk about over dinner next or what serial killer is the most attractive of them all.