Jeffrey Dahmer is Netflix “Star” of the Month with “Monster”.



CNN

Netflix will be showcasing many well-known stars in the coming weeks as the streaming service begins building up awards season. But its current leading man, its MVP of the month, is Jeffrey Dahmer, the notorious serial killer who died in 1994.

Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is currently Netflix’s most-watched title, according to its own figures, published on September 27, amassing more than 196 million viewing hours over the past week. And just in case Dahmer’s interest isn’t quenched, coming October 7th will be Conversations With a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes, the latest installment in this docuseries franchise that has previously starred Ted Bundy and most recently John Wayne Gacy.

Apparently, there’s an ongoing fascination with serial killers that has sparked interest in a certain stratum of the most prolific and heinous of them – what criminologist Scott A. Bonn dubbed “celebrity monsters” in a 2017 article for Psychology Today – so the audience is hardly an innocent bystander in this rather dirty equation.

But the renewed fascination with Dahmer again raises the question of whether these Hollywood productions with charismatic actors – here Evan Peters, while Bundy was played by Mark Harmon and in recent years Zac Efron, Chad Michael Murray and Luke Kirby – don’t can help but romanticize them in a media-obsessed age. (In an interview last year, Kirby admitted he had to overcome “an ‘ick’ factor” before taking on the role of Bundy in No Man of God.)

“Monster’s” producers, Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, were acutely aware of these concerns and sought to place more emphasis on Dahmer’s 17 victims and a justice system that would allow him to get away with murder as long as he did.

Nonetheless, there is an unsettling quality in the way the program – with the benefit of 10 episodes to tell the story – lengthens some of these encounters and presents the grisly evidence of Dahmer’s crimes.

Netflix chose not to make the series available for review before its debut, without detracting from a commercial performance that has been at the forefront of its dramas like Stranger Things and Bridgerton. This strategy could also have avoided some of the controversy that later arose about the impact of the production on the families of the murdered Dahmers.

In a first-person account for Insiders, for example, Rita Isbell, the sister of Dahmer victim Errol Lindsey, said of her cast on the show: “I feel like Netflix should have asked if we mind or how we do.” we felt it. You didn’t ask me anything. They just did it.”

As previously mentioned, interest in “celebrity monsters” is nothing new, and Dahmer’s current resurgence isn’t the first and won’t be the last we’ve seen of him, whether in documentary or dramatized form. In a crowded media landscape, serial killers have acquired their own brand of currency.

What doesn’t appeal to the genre’s popularity, however, is, as Kirby put it, the “idiot” factor. While Monster might have tried to anticipate certain criticisms, Netflix – and indeed the entertainment industry – hasn’t resolved them.

Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is currently streaming on Netflix and Conversations With a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes premieres October 7.

About Gloria Skelton

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