Anger over Netflix hit: relatives of victims criticize ‘Dahmer’ series

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Anger over Netflix hit
Relatives of victims criticize ‘Dahmer’ series

Jeffrey Dahmer is considered one of the most notorious serial killers in the US of the 20th century. Now Netflix has filmed its life as a series. “Dahmer” even currently tops the charts there. There is a lot of criticism from the relatives of his victims.

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

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

Story from the point of view of the “Milwaukee Monster”

“Dahmer” tells the murders from the point of view of the “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 with structural racism in the US. The majority of Dahmer’s victims were African Americans, who were reportedly often not taken seriously by authorities. Police escorted a victim who had fled to Dahmer’s apartment.

Ryan Murphy is the mastermind behind Dahmer: Monsters: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. The producer behind hit series like “American Horror Story” or “Glee” has already proven himself as a specialist for true crime formats with “American Crime Story”. Murphy’s regular actor Evan Peters plays the title rolewho appeared in almost every season of “American Horror Story”.

The supporting roles are also well cast. Richard Jenkins plays Dahmer’s father, Lionel. His stepmother, Shari, plays Molly Ringwald, the ’80s teen idol from films like The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink. The music for the series was created by Nick Cave and his longtime Bad Seeds bandmate Warren Ellis.

Spectators enthusiastic, relatives angry

The critics are so far divided on “Dahmer”. On the Rotten Tomatoes review collection site, the series only gets 46 percent good ratings. Decider’s Kayla Cobb, for example, praises the series for avoiding the impending glorification of a murderer and instead for systemic failure. Caroline Framke of “Variety” holds up against that. It testifies to the staging’s tendency to exploit the deeds. The series excels at trying to be both a killer’s psychographer and a study of his social environment. In contrast, “Dahmer” is well received by the viewers. They gave the series an 86 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

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

The series recreates Rita Isbell’s testimony during the trial. In doing so, she attacked Jeffrey Dahmer in court and was stopped by bailiffs. Isbell has also commented on the series. “It was like reliving everything,” she writes on Insider. “It brought back all the emotions I felt then.”

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