New Netflix series aim to examine Dahmer killings with modern cultural lens
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Although the events of the Jeffrey Dahmer killings happened more than three decades ago, filmmakers and authors are offering new perspectives on one of Milwaukee's darkest chapters.
Jeffrey Dahmer raped and murdered 17 men and boys over a 13-year period in Milwaukee. He was committed to prison in 1992 and was killed by a fellow inmate just two years after.
"Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" is a drama series now on Netflix starring Evan Peters as the serial killer and Niecy Nash as Dahmer's neighbor who reported suspicious activity to the police multiple times.
Another series, "Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes" is a documentary series set to be released on Netflix in October.
The drama series in particular aims to highlight the relationships between police and communities of color and the LGBTQ community in Milwaukee and how it may have helped Dahmer elude law enforcement.
Niecy Nash turns in a powerful performance as Glenda Cleveland, a vigilant neighbor fighting for justice in DAHMER - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. Premieres at midnight! pic.twitter.com/Vu8zV9ddgz— Netflix (@netflix) September 20, 2022
"I think it is important for us to see these serial killers as products of our culture rather than unique aberrations," UW-Parkside professor Josef Benson told CBS 58 in an interview.
Benson is currently writing a book about the Dahmer killings which will present new information and perspectives, including the impact of race and queerness and their roles in how the killings played out.
"In the time Jeff was predating a lot of these queer men of color in gay bars, not long before that, MPD had routinely raided these bars," Benson explained. "So, how do you expect people who are missing, friends and people in their community, how do you expect them to feel as though the police are on their side when for years the police were terrorizing them? This is a huge part of the story I'm interested in telling."
Benson understands the traumatic nature of the history surrounding the Dahmer killings, but believes revisiting them with a modern lens -- both through the Netflix series and with his book -- can help set the record straight to honor the memory of the victims and communities affected.
"Looking at serial killers through the prism of culture can tell us more about ourselves than perhaps we like to believe," Benson said.