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How Could Media Affect What Would Be Someone’s Initial Thoughts About A Killer?

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True crime stories are something many people from all different aspects of life can find interesting but where these interests start to differ from person to person is where problems can lie. Could media affect what would be someone’s initial thoughts about a killer? To shape the view. While people may think they’re not heavily influenced by films, massive blockbusters such as Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, proved to change people’s perception of sharks has been changed forever, since the film’s release, certain shark species have dropped from 50-90%. A study conducted by Michelle C. Pautz, showed that 25% of people had has a switch in opinion when watching two different films Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, this study as well as undeniable statistics show us just how much certain forms of media can change our perceptions. So, when movies are being created depicting the Milwaukee cannibal, Jeffery Dahmer, as a misunderstood outsider that the audience feels empathy for, we are creating an environment in which people are sympathizing with one of the most infamous serial killers of all time.

Marc Meyer’s film ‘My Friend Dahmer’ (based of the graphic novel of the same name), depicts a young Jeffery Dahmer in high school, Dahmer is seen to be an outsider, a trope that has been toyed with in media years before. The problem arises when the ‘tortured teenager’ is also responsible for the rape and murder of 17 boys and men, instead of focusing on the victims that Dahmer tore away from their families, Meyers chooses to victimize a man who would later go on to commit some of the most horrendous acts the world has ever seen.

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The difference between Marc Meyer’s My Friend Dahmer and David Fincher’s Zodiac and Se7en is the perspective of the films. Both Zodiac and Se7en, tells a story about a serial killer (one fictional and one real), from the point of view of people trying to uncover the identity of the killer, showing the victims and presenting them as deranged murders committing equally as deranged crimes, not presenting them as the odd-one-out at the back of the classroom. After watching Se7en, you don’t feel any pity for Kevin Spacey’s character even after he expresses his envy for a normal life. Having a serial murder as your lead has been done before Marc Meyers film, Dexter is a well-known book series and TV show, but the simple difference is one killed 17 real men and teenagers while the other is a 100% fictious character.


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