American serial killer and sex offender Jeffrey Dahmer, aka The Butcher of Milwaukee, is indicted on 17 murder charges, men and boys of African or Asian descent, between 1978 and 1991. (Photo by Marny Malin/Sygma via Getty Images)
Movies - TV
Netflix Isn’t Going To Stop Making Jeffrey Dahmer Projects, Huh?
There’s no doubt about the popularity of true crime, and within an already sought-after genre, the case of Jeffry Dahmer is one of the most popular. Since his conviction in 1992, Dahmer has been the subject of a staggering fifteen movies and shows, and Netflix’s two additions to the fray highlight everything that is wrong with the true crime genre.
Netflix’s two recent Dahmer projects, “Monster” and “Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes” have each garnered a huge viewership. The show’s immense popularity has even inspired a disturbing TikTok trend of users reacting to the grisly polaroids Dahmer took of his victims and has prompted eBay to ban the sale of Dahmer costumes.
These obscene cultural side-effects highlight how the true-crime genre has shifted towards entertainment and exploitation, and lay bare the fact that both shows largely overlook the perspectives of the victims’ families. It’s unfair that these shows immortalize a killer while capitalizing on the pain he inflicted and trivializing the suffering of his victims.
This is particularly cruel considering that “Monster” claims to give space to Dahmer’s victims. However, Rita Isabell, the sister of Dahmer’s 19-year-old victim Errol Lindsey, wasn't even consulted and said “I feel like Netflix should’ve asked if we mind or how we felt about making it. It’s sad that they’re just making money off of this tragedy. That’s just greed.”
The problem is that true crime markets itself as entertainment and watching how real lives were destroyed shouldn’t be labeled as such. Additionally, the genre’s lack of regard for victims and their families is irresponsible, and if studios want to continue producing true-crime media, then they must honor the victims in a more worthwhile way.