Why There Is Never Going To Be Another Film About Jeffery Dahmer

There's been enough coverage of this killer, do we really need another film about him?

Why There Is Never Going To Be  Another Film About Jeffery Dahmer
Photo from Medium.com

The macabre acts of killings are the hot topic right now. There are numerous podcasts, tours, movies, documentaries about many killers.

But Jeffrey Dahmer is one that is strange to see how he's held up relevancy all these years, before his murder and after his death.

Before I go on, I do have to address that I am aware that there are already two films about Jeffrey Dahmer. I'll address those and their mark on the biography of Jeffrey Dahmer in film.

Throughout the years, there has been a strange fascination with serial killers. Jeffrey Dahmer is up there with John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy.

My mother told me at a young age who Jeffrey Dahmer was. She explained it to me simply, "He found roadkill, he killed men, he killed boys, he ate some of them, he was arrested, his dad maintained his relationship with him until he was killed in jail." That's how it should be explained as minimal as possible to describe someone like Jeffrey Dahmer that can't really be explained minimally.

After I learned about who Jeffrey Dahmer was, I started to see numerous references I picked up on. He's made a strange impact to be referenced in many movies and songs.

  • In Demolition Man, he's referenced by Wesley Snipes in the build-up to the climactic scene of thawing out the other criminals and Wesley Snipes' character says, "Jeffrey Dahmer? I love that guy!" (Also keep in mind that reference was made before Jeffrey Dahmer's murder in prison)
  • In Katy Perry's song Dark Horse, the rapper Juicy J featured on her song went in rap verse to say "She eat your heart out, Like Jeffrey Dahmer"
  • In Ke$ha's song Cannibal, she sings "Be too sweet and you'll be a gonner, Yeah, I'll pull a Jeffrey Dahmer"
  • In Hazbin Hotel, the character Kate Killjoy tells Charlie that there was a proposed and cancelled "Cooking with Jeffrey Dahmer series" indicating that Jeffrey Dahmer is in hell and makes a cooking show.

Personally, all except the last mentioned, I found it to be a bit shallow for these references that are enticing the fascination with Jeffrey Dahmer, almost making him appealing for fascination. I found it that these people in the media were being a little too enthusiastic to make Jeffrey Dahmer into casual conversation. Now I do have to take it back on the negativity I'm projecting to also see the factor that the references are about what he did, cannibalism and murder, it makes the reference hold up, but it's also highlighting him to be taught to a younger audience that might not be ready to learn about someone like Jeffrey Dahmer. But then again, this is how life is now with talking about dark crimes. Dark crimes are now apart of a casual conversation, which means Jeffrey Dahmer is still going to be a household name.

With Jeffrey Dahmer still having a resonating fascination to be creating documentaries and movies. It made me wonder if there would ever be another movie made that would include the heinous acts he did. First I'll cover the movies that were already made about him before I continue.


If you really look at this film, in the decade of 2000-2010, that was the decade where serial killer films began to take hold to be in production. Dahmer was released in 2002, this was the first film to be theatrically released that wasn't televised. In fact I read that Jeremy Renner was proposed to play Jeffrey Dahmer, because of his strong likeness to Jeffrey Dahmer but also, there weren't many actors that were accepting roles to play serial killers. Jeremy Renner really put his career on a risk to play someone that couldn't really be portrayed due to the dark content that audiences may not be comfortable with or irked by.

I remember when I watched this film, my mother had already informed me years ago about who Jeffrey Dahmer was. I knew what to expect, I didn't know the future knowledge I would know about Jeffrey Dahmer, and watching the film, I was already slightly uneasy watching it with my limited information.

This film, skirted around the majority of the murders that Jeffrey Dahmer did. Being a film in 2002, there was some moments that couldn't be recreated which did hurt the film's credibility but what can you do when your a filmmaker that has to abide by the rules and make sure to not go too far in representation. In the case for Jeffrey Dahmer's story, I'm Ok with having a mediocre film that can't go far because it's too vile to show.

My Friend Dahmer

With Dahmer, it focused on the first killing and the cruising he did for his victims. This film based off of the graphic novel is going to be the only film based off of Jeffrey Dahmer that focused on the small portion of his life that lead up to the inflicting deeds he did to men and boys. What Jeffery Dahmer did is uneasy to hear, even ones like me that have a strong stomach and psyche have a hard time to learn about what he did. This is the closest that viewers will get to a Jeffrey Dahmer film without having to witness heavy hits of the hellish acts. It can't be seen and shouldn't be seen. The Marc Meyers film did a good job without making the film sympathetic to Jeffrey Dahmer, but sprinkled the empathic motions of Jeffery Dahmer's life as well as the accurate facts about how he started his macabre deeds with animals and the trouble he had with talking to others. John "Derf" Backderf made this series of comics about Dahmer in high school when he barely knew him and then started to know him to try and be his friend. But Derf ultimately had to quietly sever ties out of the eerie nature that was starting to be seen. I do have to credit this film for being cautious and considerate to create this film (as well as Backderf for making the comic), that it was created to be a neutral film that didn't excel on branching outside of the criteria of the bio-topic comic that Backderf created.

After I read about those two films, brushing up on my history of the first film and then reading about the recent one in 2017, I checked the lists on Wikipedia and IMDb to find there was no production or possible presentation to make another film about Jeffrey Dahmer, and personally, I'm glad. His whole story is not meant to be re-created. The Dahmer movie, as I mentioned, skirted around the facts but just re-creating the first murder, and the attempted murder on Tracey Edwards (fictionalized as Rodney in the movie).

Throughout the years that I learned about the gritty details of every part of Jeffrey Dahmer's life, I can't see how there would be an accurate movie to what horrific and grotesque acts he committed to these boys and men. When I learned about what he did to the young boys, I thought to myself that there is no way that could acted out on the screen, it's not possible with motions that have been made to prevent some young children from having to participate in a certain scene to be acted out, whether recreating a real part of history or a fictional part to play. It's information that will never be unsettled, it makes my stomach churn with unease just thinking about the victims that were deprived of a long life because of Dahmer's dark intensions.

From the serial killer films I've seen, there is never going to be a balance with showcasing the early life that leads up to the killing, the awful acts of violence, arrest, trial, afterword, and credits. The Ted Bundy films don't shy away from the violence, the recent Ted Bundy movie, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile. That film focused on the two escapes, the television broadcast of his lawyer tactics used in the trial, and the impact it had on Elizabeth Kloepfer. Bundy has been overused to show his story that has already been known, yet there are continual movies because of the fascination.

But the obsession will never end about this Milwaukee cannibal, there has been numerous documentaries about him as well as the two feature films, and even one dark humor horror film that shows a fictionalized version of him fighting John Wayne Gacy. I do find it unsettling that at some point, there will be a filmmaker that won't shy away from the grotesque grit and show what was never meant to be re-created.

As much as there the filmakers are critized for not showing the facts so people can learn the whole story. I have to appreciate those who take the brunt of it to know that it can't be done. No one wants to see a visual representation to reanact what happend, it's already hard enough knowing the truth, and if a filmmaker is keeping the whole truth, then it should be a hint that this is a cruel truth that shouldn't be told entirely.

Now as I have been doing my homework on a criminal or a killer that comes into topic for a biography film, there are other factors of the truth around the crime that I think about. Some of these factors that not many think of in the process for a film.

Apply these factors to the history of Jeffrey Dahmer's killings and eventual incarceration.

I think of the victims, they'll be hounded for interviews because of the spectacle possilbity there would be one more thing to learn about the killer's motives. It would be a lot of strength to have to detail the disturbing events that can't be forgotten for someone else to see it as enticing entertainment.

I think about the officers that found the horrific scene. That image of that apartment is burned in their mind and I image the non-stop hounding from reporters and writers that wanted their quotes.

I think about those two women that tried to help one of his victims out of human kindness. Only for them to be unfortunalty dismissed by the officer who bought Jeffrey Dahmer's story.

I think of the man who killed Jeffrey Dahmer in prison and how he'll love the media attention.

This is now a world where people are obsessed with crime, to have this strange fascination with serial killers.

The internet is divisive about these macabre humans, there are some that hold these killers at a pedastal for the ferocious acts they committed. There are others that advocae to remind these certain people that these are killers that took human lives and to stop treating them like idols.

As I came to close this article to advocate that there should not be a film, I made an unexpected find there is a proposed Netflix series for Jeffrey Dahmer's life to be shown. Ryan Murphy, creator of series like Pose, Fued, American Horror Story, and American Crime Story. This gives me worry about extending his relavancy into a TV show. But I have some relief about how this bio-topic show will go. Ryan Murphy does show the truth of the subject, but without heavy amounts of details that don't need to be show.

Jeffrey Dahmer was a distubing man that unfortuantly won't fade in time due to the cult following he's gotten. He's a topic of mention in film, music, books, merchandise, aesthetic boards, and casual conversation. As much as I want to believe that he'll fade away as a topic of terror, he won't. All I can hope for, as I hope for those who have been effected by him is that they'll get some peace in the years when his relevancy can possibly fade away.

movie review
Samantha Parrish
Samantha Parrish
Read next: Chad Alan Lee
Samantha Parrish

I'm here to teach you something new or expand your mind in a neutral aspect.

Instagram: parrishpassages

Oh and I wrote a book called, Inglorious Ink.

See all posts by Samantha Parrish