As a complete scaredy-cat of all things based on horror and crime, it has become an absolute nightmare of mine to see the creation of serial killer biographies gain popularity. The film, “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile” based on serial killer Ted Bundy aired in 2019 and was instantly a raging topic filling our social media feeds. Now, with the new series, “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” we see a similar trend resurfacing, but are these biographies causing more harm than good?
Don’t get me wrong; we must learn about these experiences to protect ourselves and avoid future repetitions. When the Ted Bundy film gained popularity, we could witness his tactics to lure in his victims. He was a charming man that young women were enamored with, and it was easy to believe that he could not cause harm. Despite the educational purposes “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile” may have strived to achieve, it began a new movement that normalized and romanticized serial killers.
After witnessing actor Zac Efron take on the character of Ted Bundy in this biography, audience members began to fantasize about being one of the victims of his crimes. A growing number of fan pages and fanfiction accounts were created that glorified the violent murders of the 1970s. Audience members became more concerned with the physical appeal of Ted Bundy than the fact that he was an actual convicted serial killer.
With “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” there has been much praise for the light shed on the murders committed by Jeffrey Dahmer and how his victims, who were predominantly Black, were failed by the police. However, there was also a lot of controversy within this series that encouraged viewers away. Relatives of the victims were forced to relive their trauma, and many felt taken advantage of. Social media users have even used their platforms to create fan edits and sounds about the new series. One person states, “One thing I found intriguing about him was that he was completely honest and didn’t deny anything.” Even worse, many viewers have used this time to create thirst traps about the Jeffrey Dahmer actor Evan Peters.
Although we want to continue to educate and protect each other with serial killer biographies like “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile” and “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” we’ve taken a turn that has led to the glorification of these individuals instead.
What do you think? Should we continue to produce these biographies, or should we put an end to them all together?