Why Netflix’s hit ‘Dahmer’ is controversial

With Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, it looks like Netflix has had its next big hit. In many countries, “Dahmer” is currently in the top 10 of streaming series – including in Germany and the USA.

The true crime series focuses on Jeffrey Dahmer (1960-1994), one of the most famous serial killers of the 20th century. Between 1978 and 1991 he molested and killed at least 17 young men. He did acts of cannibalism on some of the victims. In 1994, he was killed by one of his colleagues in prison, where he was serving a life sentence. Despite a diagnosis of borderline disorder, court experts considered him sane.

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

The mastermind behind Dahmer is Ryan Murphy


Series Poster: ‘Dahmer’ can be streamed on Netflix since September 21, 2021

Ryan Murphy (56 years old) is the mastermind behind Dahmer – The Beast: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. The producer behind successful series like “American Horror Story” or “Glee” has already proven to be a specialist in true crime formats with “American Crime Story”. The regular star was played by Murphy’s regular actor Evan Peters (35), who has appeared in nearly every season of “American Horror Story.”

The supporting roles are also cast well. Richard Jenkins (75, “Six Feet Under”) plays Lionel Dahmer’s father. His stepmother Shari embodied Molly Ringwald (54), the teen idol of the 80s (“Breakfast Club”). The series’ music comes from Nick Cave (65) and Bad Seeds member Warren Ellis (57).

Controversial among critics and celebrated by viewers

So far, critics have been divided over “Dahmer”. On the Rotten Tomatoes review group website, the series gets only 46 percent of good reviews. For example, Kayla Cobb of Decider praised the series for avoiding the threat of glorification of a killer and instead focusing on systemic failure. Caroline Framke of Variety is against it. It attests to the gradual tendency to exploit business. The series excels in its attempt to be a psychological author of a killer and a study of his social environment.

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

“Shock again and again”: criticism from relatives

Criticism of the figure comes from the victim’s relatives. A relative of the murdered, Errol Lindsey, wrote: “My family (the Isbells family) is angry at this show.” Twitter. “It’s shocking over and over again, and why? How many films/shows/documentaries do we need?”. His cousin Rita Ispel was Errol’s sister Lindsay.

The series reproduces Rita Espel’s testimony in court hearing. She attacked Jeffrey Dahmer in the courtroom and was restrained by court officials. Isbell also commented on the series. “It was like getting everything back,” she wrote on Insider. “It brought back all the feelings I had at the time.” (cw/spot)

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