The Drama Behind Dahmer

Breaking down the resurgence of serial killers in the media

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(Photo courtesy of Netflix)

Eva Yancheson, Reporter

From 1960 to 1994, American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer took the lives of 17 men and boys. Dahmer’s crimes run deeper than the murders themselves; they sliced open messily done stitches, exposing  the festering infection of the prejudices in the heart of the American police force. 

In this sense, the story circulating Dahmer’s crimes and case is an important one, one worth sharing. However, how many times can a story be told before it loses its meaning? How many versions can be rendered before its message becomes hazy? 

In the sensational drama series, “Dahmer-Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” directors Ryan Murphy and Ian Brannan recount the gruesome details surrounding Dahmer’s murders and case, putting in careful  attention to the crimes. 

They remembered all but one thing: the effect that their show would have on victims’ real-life families. 

The show exploits Dahmer’s victims and their families, reopening wounds that should have been left to heal. Dahmer brutally killed 17 people, though his victims’ pain still lives on. The terror inflicted upon those 17 men continues to persist in the lives of their families, friends and communities. 

Not only did these families have to bear the murder of loved one, they also had to endure the endless amounts of media, press conferences, books and movies that force them to relive the worst period of their lives. Is it fair, after 40 years, to bring their trauma back into the spotlight? 

The answer is no. Netflix should have taken this into consideration. However, everyone’s favorite streaming service failed to ask, or even notify, the victim’s families that this series was being made. After being in the dark, the shocked families of the victims took to social media to express their discomfort and anger towards the show being aired.

Not only is the show disrespectful, it’s also guilty of dramatizing certain events for an increased horror aspect. This is an unnecessary effect on the already disturbing facets of his kills being made known to the public. 

The gruesome details of Dahmer’s story shook the nation, so what do modern alterations say about the director’s intentions? Straying from the facts exposes motives beyond education and awareness. 

It can only be assumed that these changes were made to enthrall viewers, allowing the film industry to capitalize on the truth, as well as the anguish of those directly affected by the murders.

 The film industry has a reputation of being careless and greedy, with this instance only solidifying this assumption. If Netflix wants any shot at redemption, they will have to compensate for their mistakes. 

These families deserve more respect and privacy than they have been given since the very start of Dahmer’s trial.