“Dahmer”: Controversy over Netflix hit about serial killers

Netflix hit controversy about serial killers

Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer.

Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer.

© 2022 Netflix, Inc.

The series “Dahmer” about the notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is a huge hit on Netflix. Criticism comes from relatives of the victims.

With “Dahmer – Monsters: The Story of Jeffrey Dahmer” Netflix seems to have landed its next big hit. In many countries, “Dahmer” is currently in the top 10 most streamed series – including in Germany and the USA.

“Dahmer”: That’s what the hit series is about

The true crime series focuses on Jeffrey Dahmer (1960-1994), one of the most notorious serial killers of the 20th century. Between 1978 and 1991 he molested and murdered at least 17 boys men. He performed cannibalistic acts on some victims. In 1994, a fellow inmate killed him in prison, where he was serving a multiple life sentence. Despite a diagnosed borderline disorder, court experts considered him sane.

“Dahmer” tells the murders from the point of view of the “Milwaukee Monster”, as the press dubbed the serial killer. But the perspective of the victims also plays a role. Incidentally, “Dahmer” also deals with the incompetence of the police – and with structural racism in the United States. The majority of Dahmer’s victims were African Americans, who were allegedly often not taken seriously by the authorities. Police escorted a victim who had fled back to Dahmer’s apartment.

The cast of “Dahmer: Monsters: The Story of Jeffrey Dahmer”

Ryan Murphy (56) is the mastermind behind “Dahmer: Monsters: The Story of Jeffrey Dahmer”. The producer behind hit series like “American Horror Stories“Or “Glee” has already proven itself with “American Crime Story” as a specialist for true crime formats. The title role is played by Murphy’s regular actor Evan Peters (35), who was in almost all seasons of “American Horror Story”. Also the supporting roles are well cast.Richard Jenkins (75, “Six Feet Under”) plays Dahmer’s father Lionel.His stepmother Shari embodies Molly Ringwald (54), teen idol of the 80s (“The Breakfast Club”).The music for Series comes from Nick Cave (65) and his longtime “Bad Seeds” band member Warren Ellis (57).

Controversial with critics, celebrated by viewers

The critics have so far been divided on “Dahmer”. On the Rotten Tomatoes review collection page only 46 percent think the series is good. Kayla Cobb of Decider, for example, praises the series for avoiding the threatening glorification of a killer and instead focusing on systemic failure. Caroline Framke from “Variety” holds against it. It attests to the staging’s tendency to exploit the deeds. The series excels in trying to be both a psychograph of a killer and a study of his social environment.

On the other hand, “Dahmer” is well received by the viewers. They gave the series an 86 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Again and again traumatizing”: criticism from relatives

Criticism of the format comes from the relatives of a victim. “My family (the Isbells) are pissed off about this show,” writes a relative of the murdered Errol Lindsey on “Twitter”. “It’s traumatizing over and over again, and why? How many more films/shows/documentaries do we need?”. His cousin Rita Isbell was the sister of Errol Lindsey.

The series recreates Rita Isbell’s testimony at the court hearing. In doing so, she attacked Jeffrey Dahmer in the courtroom and was held back by bailiffs. Isbell has also commented on the series. “It was like reliving it all again” she writes at “Insider”. “It brought back all the emotions I felt at the time.”


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