Kill the serial killer craze

Olivia Grefenstette, Opinions Editor

Like clockwork, a new true crime documentary or docuseries is released every couple of months. Hollywood has become obsessed with producing dozens of TV shows and movies based on the lives of serial killers such as Ted Bundy, Jefferey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, etc. 

Under the guise of entertainment, the horrors of these murders are picked apart, reenacted, and glamorized, all at the expense of the victims’ families. While some may argue that this new genre of serial killer media is harmless or raises awareness, these movies and TV shows prioritize profits regardless of the social repercussions.

Losing a loved one is a heartbreaking fate, let alone losing a loved one in such a violent and public way. While the families of victims are trying to carry on with life, they are constantly bombarded by billboards and social media ads with the names, in big bold letters, of the killers that forever altered their lives. When it comes to serial killer media, Hollywood racks in millions of dollars off the trauma of the loved ones of victims, without paying them a cent. The Netflix true crime docudrama “Dahmer” didn’t even notify or consult the families of victims about the content and creation of the show. This disregard for the very real emotions of victims reveals how Hollywood treats victims as expendable in their own stories and will cross any line in the name of entertainment. 

Furthermore, true crime media portrays and retells serial killings in a harmful light that allows for misconceptions about the disgusting nature of these crimes. The majority of these docuseries and movies place serial killers in center stage. Their plots revolve around the bullying and inconveniences that somehow excuse murder and mutilation. Swoon-worthy actors such as Zac Efron and Ross Lynch are cast as these perpetrators, adding fuel to the fire that is a surge of people condoning serial killers out of physical attraction. 

By creating dozens of movies and shows centering serial killers, the belief that the violent acts committed were purely atrocious becomes overshadowed by the fame and attention that comes with Hollywood’s spotlight. These murderers go from infamous to simply famous. They become fascinating characters, versus real people who committed real crimes and took innocent lives.

Lastly, true crime media can breed its own kind of evil: the copycat. With the stories of serial killers hitting mainstream media and gripping the attention of millions, there are individuals that want their own “15 minutes of fame.” Murders similar to those of famous serial killers have happened, revealing the most extreme dangers of media that glorify murders. 

If producers want to cover serial killings, they should focus on the victims of the case. Instead of reenacting their gruesome, traumatizing murders, Hollywood should focus on the lives these victims lived. Show audiences that these people were more than just names, more than just their deaths, and more than just their murderers.