We are friends, right? And friends can be honest with each other about the important things in life, like how Emmy-winning actor Evan Peters is an absolute smoke show. That’s why I feel safe to offer friendly advice. As hot as Peters is, we all need to put those feelings aside as we head to Netflix Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.
Lately, there has been a disturbing trend of romanticizing and sexualizing serial killers. We saw the worst when Netflix was going through its Ted Bundy phase. The year was 2019, and the streamer released two hit Bundy-focused projects within months of each other: the docuseries The Ted Bundy Strips and that of Zac Efron Extremely wicked, incredibly evil and vile.
If you were to believe Twitter, the biggest thing about these two projects was that Ted Bundy was a baby. Little attention has been paid to how Bundy used his traditionally attractive appearance and charming personality as a tool to lure his victims and turn away those who distrusted him. No, the hot take at the time boiled down to “he’s a 10 but he confessed to 30 murders”. These projects have led to a moral nightmare, encouraging people to view these crimes as pure entertainment and to dismiss the very real victims who have suffered because of this man. It was a deeply worrying trend, and one that Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story can continue despite a small mistake on his part.
Like Efron before him, Evan Peters is hot. But he’s also a deeply committed actor who has proven he fully understands the responsibility of portraying real killers. American Horror Story: Cult asked Evans to quickly portray Charles Manson, Marshall Applewhite, David Koresh and Jim Jones. Even with AHS‘ notoriously intense production schedule, Evans researched each of these people and worked to get into their dark headspace. From what we’ve seen so far, he’s been doing the same thing with Dahmer since Freak. Netflix even released a video of Peters explaining what he did to prepare for the role and why it was so important to him that this project respect victims first.
This is another reason why looking like Peters as an actor rather than a celebrity is crucial in this project. Based on the trailers and marketing around this miniseries, Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story doesn’t really seem to be about Jeffrey Dahmer. Rather, it’s about his victims, the pain he caused, the systematic trappings that led him to get away with so many murders, and the racism and homophobia that contributed to his rule. of terror. Examining how the police failed this community at almost every level is an important and relevant story to tell. It’s exactly the kind of framing that not only justifies but elevates a dramatic miniseries like this. But all that nuance is lost the second someone makes a “this killer is hot” joke.
The real Jeffrey Dahmer was absolutely a freak. Between 1978 and 1991, Dahmer murdered and dismembered 17 boys and men. He would target black men as his victims, and on at least two occasions he drilled holes in his victims’ heads and poured hydrochloric acid into them. His murders often involved necrophilia and cannibalism. Four of his victims were legally children, and he was even arrested once for drugging and sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy. Stories like this were oddly common in Dahmer’s life. Yet he was allowed to walk free again and again as he continued to hurt people. Dahmer’s case is ultimately deeply sad, not just because of the people he victimized, but because it was preventable.
That’s all to say, please don’t glorify Jeffrey Dahmer. Don’t let your craving for Evan Peters keep you from Freak try to do. The last thing we need is another Ted Bundy revival on our hands.
New York Post