Dahmer: why does Hollywood glorify serial killers?

Why do big networks continue to profit from these tragedies?

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Why do big networks continue to profit from these tragedies?

Macey Thaxton, Staff Writer

Netflix released a new documentary series, “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” on Sept. 21. In addition to the release, a huge amount of backlash has been aimed toward the show, however, this hasn’t affected the success of the show itself.

“Monster: The Jeffery Dahmer Story,” or “Dahmer” for short, is based on the true story of cannibalistic serial killer and sex offender, Jeffery Dahmer between the years of 1978 and 1991 in Milwaukee, Wis. He was given 15 life sentences but was unable to fulfill the sentence after dying at the hands of a fellow inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wis.

The series itself is based on the murders, capture and trial of Dahmer, as well as flashbacks that include childhood memories that may have led to his crimes. Dahmer had a hard childhood and to help him deal with it, his father introduced him to taxidermy. 

In the realism aspect of the story, Netflix was definitely not lacking when it came to gore, and at times, scenes were extremely graphic and almost unwatchable. However, the casting was what stuck out the most. Almost all the actors had an uncanny resemblance to the real people they played, including the victims and their families.

Since its release, “Dahmer” has risen to the top five most-watched series on Netflix and is still on Netflix’s Top 10 Shows as of Oct. 31. Shortly after the release of the new show, some of the victims’ families made statements online about Netflix failing to contact them about the series. The sister of Errol Lindsey, a victim of Dahmer in 1991, took the opportunity to write from her perspective on insider.com.

“It brought back all the emotions I was feeling back then. It’s sad that they’re just making money off of this tragedy,” Rita Isbell said.

The families have every right to be upset with all of the movies and shows about Dahmer, especially Netflix. Big production companies continue to traumatize the victims’ families.

Once the show started to become rather popular, people began making jokes about Dahmer or quoting lines from the show, which are either direct quotes or lines based on the true story. Many jokes are being made online calling Dahmer attractive because of his crimes and the trend of romanticizing serial killers. Some jokes are more subtle and “acceptable,” for example a sign Edmond Memorial Student Council hung in the hall reads “can I listen to your heartbeat?” Recently several TikToks have gone viral depicting parents dressing their children up as Dahmer and people commenting on the results of the Google search “Jeffery Dahmer costumes.”

A huge effect of the networks creating shows and movies based on serial killers is that people start to see the killer as nothing more than a character. A new generation has learned about the horrid things this man did, but they didn’t live through it and therefore don’t understand the horror it brought to everyone. 

With all of the controversies, it’s important for everyone to realize that this is a very real story that affected many families. Seventeen lives were lost to this man and it’s unfair to the people who were affected to continue to be traumatized by film companies making movies to turn a profit.

Contact Macey Thaxton at [email protected]