True crime is a genre that tends to generate plenty of interest in viewers. While some of us may watch the best horror movies or the best Halloween movies around this time of year, other viewers (such as myself) tend to watch true crime documentaries or biographical series, which is what brings us to our topic today - Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.
The Ryan Murphy created show has become a hit on Netflix, with its lead, Evan Peters, already generating lots of conversation for his performance as the famous serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer, from his earlier years, the time where he wasn’t killing, and all the horrors he caused. The series has truly joined the ranks of some of the most respected true crime shows on Netflix.
If you've watched the drama series on Netflix, you might be looking for something that provides information about Jeffrey Dahmer, but in a different way. Maybe another movie, or a documentary, or even another series. For those who are looking for more on the famous serial killer, check out these seven shows or movies – and one honorable mention you’re going to want to see.
My Friend Dahmer (2017)
First up on this list, we have My Friend Dahmer. Released in 2017 and based on the graphic novel of the same name, the film stars Ross Lynch as Jeffrey Dahmer, and follows the story of John “Derf” Backderf, a friend of Dahmer until the serial killer began killing in 1978, and now, he tells his story about his time as a friend of the murderer and what he was like in high school.
I don’t know what it is with former Disney stars playing serial killers, from Zac Efron as Ted Bundy, and now Ross Lynch as Jeffrey Dahmer, but it just works. Lynch’s performance as Dahmer was one of the highlights of My Friend Dahmer, and it really gives insight into what it was like to know Dahmer from a first-person perspective. It’s something seriously great. Also, Alex Wolff as Derf was a fantastic choice.
Released in 2002 and starring Jeremy Renner, Dahmer is another film that tells the story of Jeffrey Dahmer, going into the crimes that he commited and the reasons as to why, and how after everything, it all came crashing down when one of the men he tried to kill escapes.
Out of all the portrayals of Jeffrey Dahmer, I have to admit that this one is my least favorite, but that’s not out of any issue but my own. I look at Jeremy Renner and at this point in my life, I can’t separate him from Hawkeye because I’m such a big Marvel nerd. However, that doesn’t change the fact that he’s still great as Dahmer and gives a compelling performance just as the others on this list do. What this movie does really well though is that there isn’t a lot of gore, but the tension is just nail-biting and done so well.
Fresh Meat: Jeffrey Dahmer (2021)
If you were looking for a documentary to watch, you have to check out Fresh Meat: Jeffrey Dahmer. An original TV movie from Tubi, this documentary tries to get into the mind of Jeffrey Dahmer and show the reasons behind his gruesome nature, and the reasons as to why he turned to cannibalism.
It’s really well done, and trust me, if you thought you had seen everything in true crime, you haven’t until you’ve seen this. There are so many disturbing details that are talked about that you might not know. It’s a serious true crime doc that really gets into the mind of Dahmer.
The Jeffrey Dahmer Files (2012)
Next up, we have a film called The Jeffrey Dahmer Files. This is an independent documentary that features a fictionalized retelling of the story of Dahmer during the summer of his arrest, but also features interviews from both his next-door neighbor, the medical examiner and many more that detail into the discoveries of his murders.
While this is just a simple documentary, I feel like the story of Jeffrey Dahmer is revisited in such a way that it almost reinvented the story that we have heard tons of times about the killer. And what makes it better is those first-hand accounts from people who were actively involved with the case. Also, the fact that it was shot on Super 16 mm film is awesome.
The Secret Life: Jeffrey Dahmer (1993)
The Secret Life: Jeffrey Dahmer was actually one of the first ever retellings of Jeffrey Dahmer’s crimes, released in 1993, a mere two years after he was caught in 1991. Starring Carl Crew as the killer, the film is based on the life of Dahmer and his killings, much like many of the other adaptations on this list.
In comparison to many of the other big-budget films and shows on this list, The Secret Life: Jeffrey Dahmer is a surprisingly good retelling of the story of Dahmer, despite it being so early in the adaptations that have come out. While I do think that the story and the cinematography could have been done a bit better, Crew’s acting was something that really drew me in, and made the film that much more interesting to watch.
Buy The Secret Life: Jeffrey Dahmer on Amazon. (opens in new tab)
Serial Killers: The Real Life Hannibal Lecters (2001)
If you want another documentary, be sure to check out Serial Killers: The Real Life Hannibal Lecters. For those who don’t know, Hannibal Lecter was the main villain of the critically-praised psychological horror film, The Silence of the Lambs, a cannibalistic killer. In this documentary, the subjects examine serial killers, and their role in society and the horrors they caused in comparison to this fictional villain.
While this series does take a look at several serial killers – like Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, and Albert Fish – I’ve always found the segment on Jeffrey Dahmer interesting, including how it compares one of my favorite movies to one of the most despicable human beings of all time.
Buy Serial Killers: The Real Life Hannibal Lecters on Amazon. (opens in new tab)
Dahmer on Dahmer: A Serial Killer Speaks (2017)
In Dahmer on Dahmer: A Serial Killer Speaks, we get a first-hand look into the mind of Dahmer through interviews that were done by Nancy Glass, who spoke with the man when he was alive.
It’s an interesting look into the life of Dahmer and how he tried to speak on his crimes when he was in jail. With two parts that are 44 minutes long each, it may be worth adding to your watch list.
Stream Dahmer on Dahmer: A Serial Killer Speaks on Peacock. (opens in new tab)
Coming Soon: Conversations With A Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes (2022)
While this isn’t out at the time of writing this, I have to bring up Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes. Releasing on Netflix on October 7th, it is the third iteration of the Conversations with a Killer series. True crime viewers will be given access to interviews that feature Dahmer confessing to his crimes.
The first two iterations, The Ted Bundy Tapes and The John Wayne Gacy Tapes were quite revealing, so if you want to see something else about Dahmer that’s coming out soon, be sure to check up on this one when it arrives on Netflix.
With so much to watch, your weekend is going to be booked to the brim with these choices. But no matter what, you’ll learn a lot about the famous serial killer.
Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!
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