Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story marks another piece of entertainment recounting the heinous murders committed by Jeffrey Dahmer.
The new documentary on Netflix delves into the 17 known murders that Dahmer executed from 1978 to 1991. The show covers how he would seek out men, usually, people of color who at the time were less noticeable of being missing, from public spaces and would take them back to wherever he was living for a promise of money or sex and would drug, strangle, and kill them. After killing the men, Dahmer would perform sexual acts with the corpses and dismember and dispose of the bodies, sometimes even keeping parts of his victims. Not only would he keep his victim’s body parts, but he would eat them as well and sometimes take pictures of the body while he was dismembering them so he could look back on it and relive the event. Some of the victims include Konerak Sinthasomphone 14, Oliver Lacy 23, Stephen Hicks 19, and more who had their lives taken away from them by “satan himself.”
Although the show has now become the most streamed series on Netflix, its insensitive portrayal of Dahmer and his victims has sparked the upset of their families and viewers.
In the show, Dahmer is played by talented actor Evan Peters, who is well known for his role in the series American Horror Story. In the past, Peters has opened up about having to partake in therapy for some of his roles, as they constantly take a mental and physical toll on him. Taking this into account, his fans are even more worried after his performance in Netflix’s adaptation of the events. Critics claimed they had to pause the show because of how Peters’ mannerisms resembled Dahmers to a point where they thought Dahmer was still walking this earth.
To some, this series gave a better perspective of the victims and how the justice system failed them. However, it began to spark controversy after media surfaced that Netflix never reached out to the families of the victims.
Eric Perry, cousin of Errol Lindsey, a victim of Dahmer said in a tweet, “I’m not telling anyone what to watch, I know true crime media is huge right now, but if you’re actually curious about the victims, my family (the Isbell’s) are pissed about this show. It’s retraumatizing over and over again, and for what? How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need?”
The family also spoke on the portrayal of Rita Isbell’s victim impact statement as they were upset about the dramatization of the event that happened during the trial.
In an interview with Insider, Isbell opened up about her thoughts on the docu-series. “I was never contacted about the show. I feel like Netflix should’ve asked if we mind or how we felt about making it. They didn’t ask me anything. They just did it. But I’m not money hungry, and that’s what this show is about, Netflix trying to get paid. I could even understand it if they gave some of the money to the victims’ children. Not necessarily their families. I mean, I’m old. I’m very, very comfortable. But the victims have children and grandchildren. If the show benefited them in some way, it wouldn’t feel so harsh and careless.”
Along with the family, true crime fans also had an issue with the docu show. They were upset that Peter’s portrayal humanized Dahmer in a way that would try to make the audience feel for him and understand why he committed murder, rape, cannibalism, necrophilia, and dismemberment.
This is not the first time that fans have had a problem with one of Netflix’s true crime thrillers. Fans felt the same sentiment when Ted Bundy was depicted as innocent in the 2019 film, Extremely Wicked; Shockingly Evil and Vile. Some people think that these films should stop being made as it continuously traumatizes victims’ families again and again just to profit off of it.
Since 1992, there have been over 20 projects released on the events that were dictated by Dahmer and by the looks of it there will not be a stop to it anytime soon. True crime is one of the hottest genres in television at the moment so it would be quite hard to even attempt to make a halt to its production. Unfortunately, it is only a matter of time until the number of Dahmer related entertainment rises with a new wave of interest in this topic every few years.