Serial Killers Taking Over Modern Media


Noah Herridge/ Highalnd Rambler

Lela Howard, Staff Writer

Ted Bundy, Ed Gein, Jeffrey Dahmer, these serial killers have been plastered all over mass media for years now. Movies about their infamous slaughters have gained enough popularity they have created a genre all their own. With the offer of adrenaline rushes and satisfying glimpses into these dark psyches, it’s easy to understand why.


“I find the thought process of the criminal fascinating. I think it’s interesting to see how others think and what they felt.” Shyama Diana, a junior at Highland, explained.


This is a common sentiment among the audiences of these films, and makes true crime an easy target for directors.


However the media is approaching it in a seriously dangerous way.


In the past two years nearly half a dozen feature films on real life serial killers have been released. All of them have glorified these sadistic men and showcased their murders with pitiful undertones.


For instance in the 2017 movie “My Friend Dahmer” Jeffrey Dahmer’s mother is shown as a neglectful, intoxicated woman handling her rocky marriage very poorly. While this is indeed an unfortunate childhood for anyone, the movie seems to tie her actions to Dahmer’s later murders as if to excuse his behavior. This is not okay. These men’s motives were nothing to be pitied and should not be portrayed as such.


This not only gives the message that certain actions justify vicious attacks like these but also seems to suggest that these men are not fully responsible for their actions when the blame should be rightly and solely placed on them.


Winter Murdock is a self proclaimed true crime lover and student at Highlands. She also believes that the media is not portraying these acts properly.


“Most of the time stories in the media seemed to be dramatized, especially in movies and T.V. shows because it can make the story more interesting.” Murdock said.


This is one of the biggest problems facing these movies. To draw in an audience media platforms feel the need to build an emotional bond to the character depicted. What they don’t realize is the power that this gives the perpetrator.


Ted Bundy moved his murder spree from Utah and Washington to Florida because, as he claimed, escaping confinement here did not give him as much of a thrill or as much fame as escaping from death row would.


Giving people like him a media presence and in such a positive light simply means we are continuing the game that he wanted us to play. Yet this is exactly what we’re doing in order to make a profit off of the new crime addicts in America.


This has become such a big market to tap into that people forget their morals


“I think it’s become popular recently because I feel like everyone definitely has a part to them where they think ‘what if?’” Diana said.

The media preys off of this passive voice in our heads. Making movies where the killers are portrayed as “handsome” or “tortured souls” so they gain a bigger crowd. However this just excuses a seriously violent epidemic and takes attention away from the victims of the crimes who are the people we should truly be giving a media namesake too.


We need to stop using this serial killer hype as a means of making profit and instead as a platform to discuss the prevention and the impact these people had on the innocent members of our community.


It is important to hear these stories and see the gruesome reality of these men’s lives and the lives of the victims impacted, however, it should be simply that, not a glorified, pitying description of horrible people.