America is fascinated with serial killers. So much so, that a famous cannibal like Jeffrey Dahmer has been portrayed by Jeremey Renner, Ross Lynch, and now Evan Peters—all in projects released within the past decade. Audiences simply can’t get enough of the true crime story revolving around the man once known as the “Milwaukee Monster,” but just who was he exactly?
That’s precisely the question DAHMER – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story—the new Netflix limited series by American Crime Story‘s Ryan Murphy—plans to put to bed for good. Focusing on the point of view of Jeffrey Dahmer’s 17 victims, the 10-episode series dramatizes the failed efforts by the police to track and capture the serial killer for over 13 years throughout Wisconsin, between 1978 and 1991. During that time, the former Army medical specialist (Dahmer was discharged for alcohol abuse) committed gruesome murders of young men and boys, in which he would preserve their body parts and later consume them.
According to DAHMER, there were at least 10 instances in which Dahmer was almost apprehended, but ultimately let go. The chilling series also hopes to reveal the “communities impacted by the systemic racism and institutional failures of the police that allowed one of America’s most notorious serial killers to continue his murderous spree in plain sight for over a decade.” He was eventually captured in 1992 and sentenced to 16 consecutive terms of life imprisonment, following a full confession. Though pleading “guilty but insane” after he was diagnosed with several psychotic disorders, Dahmer was found to be legally sane during his trail. In November 1994, after just two years behind bars, he was beaten to death by a fellow inmate.
DAHMER stars Evan Peters as the titular serial killer, alongside Richard Jenkins, Molly Ringwald, Penelope Ann Miller, and Michael Learned as members of the Dahmer family. Niecy Nash also joins them as Glenda Cleveland, Dahmer’s neighbor, who tried to warn the authorities about his behavior. Murphy serves as co-executive producer alongside frequent collaborator Ian Brennan and writer Janet Mock. The entire series is available to stream on Netflix. Watch as you please, but make sure you balance out that true crime series binge with a rom-com too. Netflix has light watches too, you know!
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Josh Rosenberg is an entertainment writer living in Brooklyn, keeping a steady diet of one movie a day; his work can be found at Spin, Insider, Vibe, and on his personal blog at Roseandblog.com.
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