The Case of Jeffrey Dahmer: Why Are There People Who Idolize Serial Killers?

Following the success of the Netflix series, fans of American Cannibal and even Halloween party costumes emerged; an expert explains the fascination carried out by criminals

Evan Peters plays Jeffrey Dahmer in the Netflix series

Series released on September 21, 2022 “Dahmer: American Cannibal” became one of the biggest hits Netflix. The production in which he acts Evan Peters (β€œX-Men”) quickly attracted viewers around the world as it told the story of Jeffrey Dahmerone of the biggest serial killers from the United States, responsible for the murder of more than 17 people between 1978 and 1991. Charting the trajectory of the serial killer, the Netflix production shocked viewers by depicting Dahmer’s brutality. On the other hand, several fans of the criminal began to appear, and the character of Dahmer took on a celebrity tone. At Halloween parties in the United States, for example, costumes have become commonplace. The same effect has occurred on other occasions, with other famous cases, such as Ted Bundy (a criminal who raped and killed several women in the United States in the 1970s) and the Columbine killers (two youths who opened fire on a school in the United States Colorado, killed 12 classmates, a teacher, and then committed suicide). The echo caused a revolt on social networks and criticism of those who wear the assassin’s costumes.

In an interview for A young pan, Nicholas Mosmann, clinical psychologist, specialist in psychopathology and public health at the University of Public Health at USP, analyzed the popularity of serial killers in the public, attributing idolatry to two factors: the charisma of criminals and the projection of power that people see in them. “There are two important factors. The first is the personal factor of the serial killer. They are charismatic people, who have a very strong personal magnetism. That is an important point. Another thing, from the person who follows him, is that usually the one who sees a serial killer with power in the personality, because of which the person projects into that killer a power that he does not have. When a person sees Dahmer with this potency, with vengeance for those problems he cannot deal with, he projects himself into it and feels powerful. When he projects himself negatively onto that upside-down hero, he sees the power he wishes he had. A power that does not pass through any ethical or moral sense, but is a power with which she can take revenge and destroy,’ explains Mosmann.

The expert also talked about the success of series and movies that depict brutal cases, citing successes like “Round 6” and “Joker”. According to Mosmann, this brutality attracts audiences for two different reasons: curiosity and sadism. “We tend to be drawn to brutal series, whether it’s legal cases or fiction, as in ‘Round 6,’ which caused a fever. The ‘Joker’ from a few years ago also comes to mind. Brutality calls us, causes us a kind of curiosity, and at the same time some people look at it not with curiosity, but with a certain pleasure and sadism. I believe there are two types of people, those who look up serial killer cases out of curiosity, to find out what happened, and those who look at it with sadism.”


The phenomenon is so great that Jeffrey Dahmer has become one of the most used costumes in the United States. Wigs, glasses and shirts similar to those used in the series were all selling well. However, family members of Dahmer’s victims were not comfortable with the sale. In an interview with TMZ, Shirley Hughes, the mother of Tony Hughes, one of the serial killer’s victims, spoke about the loss and triggers that fantasy brings, saying it’s painful to watch a stream that profits from the story and stating that fantasy relives trauma.. The costume response was so much so that eBay, one of the largest e-commerce sites in the US, banned the sale of items inspired by the killer.

Nickolas also spoke about the topic, mentioning the triggers mentioned by Shirley. He warns that this kind of behavior can be harmful to society. “When we look at a serial killer with admiration, he comes from a very wounded side, a side that we have to work on. The side that sees hurting others as a form of choice. When we think about fantasy, I think there are a lot of problems. When someone dresses like a serial killer, they don’t understand how damaging it can be to the people around them. When you use fantasy, you have no idea how much it can trigger emotional feelings in people”, says the expert, stating that many cases of this genre require professional monitoring to deal with the trauma.

Who was Jeffrey Dahmer?

Born May 21, 1960, Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer was responsible for the deaths of 17 men and boys, most of the murders occurring between 1989 and 1991. In addition to murdering his victims, Dahmer was also tried for rape, necrophilia, and cannibalism. Despite being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, and psychotic disorder, Dahmer was found sane at trial and sentenced to 16 life terms in 1992. On November 28, 1994, Christopher Scarver beat the serial killer to death. an inmate who was also serving time in a maximum-security prison in Wisconsin.

other productions

“Dahmer: American Cannibal” is not the first production to show Jeffrey’s brutal crimes. Riding on the wave of the series with Evan Peters, the documentary series β€œA Conversation with a Serial Killer: The Milwaukee Cannibal” explores Dahmer’s mind through the legal team. In 2017, the film “Awakening the killer“, starring Ross Lynch and about Dahmer’s transformation. Bringing Jeremy Renner to the start of his career, β€œDahmer” was released in 2022 and chronicles 17 murders committed by a serial killer. Furthermore, the documentary film “Mind of the Monster: Jeffrey Dahmer the Cannibal” features documents, testimonies and interviews with relatives and friends of Jeffrey’s victims, trying to understand his transformation into one of the greatest serial killers in history.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *