Ryan Murphy’s Monster

The Jeffrey Dahmer Story and romanticization of murder



The newest portrayal of the crimes committed by Jeffrey Dahmer receives intense backlash

by Isabel Andjell, Staff Writer

Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, is the newest portrayal of Milwaukee’s notorious serial killer.

The series broke Netflix’s worldwide record in its debut, with nearly 197 million views. New audiences are being introduced to the horrors committed by serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer. While director Ryan Murphy may have intended to tell the story from the victims’ point of view, critics argue that the show revisited a story that should have been left alone.

For years, young true crime fans have developed an odd relationship with these killers, who are often portrayed in TV shows and movies by attractive men. Evan Peters portrays Jeffrey Dahmer in Monster, and fans have been posting highly disturbing things to social media; going as far as to say that they “feel sorry” for Dahmer. This is where Murphy’s intention has clearly been distorted by audiences. This phenomenon is not unique to Monster; fans engaged in similar behavior when Zac Efron played Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.

The glamorization of serial killers takes away from the very real people whose lives were corrupted by the crimes the killers committed. When audiences are shown serial killers as mysterious, misunderstood young men, it becomes simple for them to forget that they turned the lives of hundreds into nightmares. Some of the biggest critics of the show are the relatives of Dahmer’s victims, who were not asked to be involved in the making of the show. Netflix is profiting off the irreversible damage done to the lives of the people who lived through the events put into the series.

Eric Perry, a relative of victim Errol Lindsey, said, “We’re all one traumatic event away from the worst day of your life being reduced to your neighbor’s favorite binge show. And most importantly, if you’re going to create something that uses real-world people and experiences, you should at minimum contact those people out of respect.” Rita Isbell, Lindsey’s sister, has also spoken about the monetization of the trauma of hundreds of individuals.

It also came as a shock to many when they saw the series had initially been tagged as “LGBTQ+” on Netflix. In an era where homophobia and racism are as rampant as ever, the decision to tag the murders of Black queer men under this category has awful consequences.

Monster glorifies psychotic behavior, it re-traumatized Dahmer’s survivors, and reduced the murders into  mere entertainment.