From Evan Peters' portrayal of Jeffrey Dahmer to 'Conversations With a Killer' Documentaries 30 Years Later

From Evan Peters' portrayal of Jeffrey Dahmer to 'Conversations With a Killer' Documentaries 30 Years Later

From Evan Peters' portrayal of Jeffrey Dahmer to 'Conversations With a Killer' Documentaries 30 Years Later
Netflix / Getty Images

Thirty years after being convicted of 15 Wisconsin murders and sentenced to life in prison in 1992, serial murderer Jeffrey Dahmer is now the subject of two disturbing true-crime documentaries on Netflix. As the troubling life and heinous crimes of the "Milwaukee Cannibal" resurface, here's what you need to know about the subject of Ryan Murphy's scripted series, Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, starring Evan Peters, and director Joe Berlinger's true-crime docuseries, Conversations With a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes.

Jeffrey Dahmer's Murders

Dahmer murdered 17 men and adolescent boys between 1978 and 1991, with many of his crimes including necrophilia, cannibalism, and the preservation of different body parts. His first murder occurred three weeks after graduating from high school, when he picked up a hitchhiker named Steven Mark Hicks.

Over a 13-year period, Dahmer began killing males he was sexually attracted to, despite the fact that he saw them as nothing more than sexual objects. Some of the remains were later stowed away at his parents' Ohio home, his grandmother's property in West Allis, Wisconsin, and his Milwaukee apartment.

From Evan Peters' portrayal of Jeffrey Dahmer to 'Conversations With a Killer' Documentaries 30 Years Later
Curt Borgwardt/Sygma via Getty Images

Despite the fact that Dahmer identified as gay, the LGBTQ culture in Wisconsin was still mainly underground at the time. Furthermore, the state was experiencing heightened racial tensions. The victims were largely closeted gay males, frequently hitchhikers, runaways, or persons of color, similar to the circumstances surrounding John Wayne Gacy's murder spree, allowing Dahmer's murders to go unpunished until his capture in 1991.

Dahmer admitted to the deaths linked to the evidence found in his flat after being apprehended. He later acknowledged to killing a total of 17 persons, 16 in Wisconsin and one in Ohio, his first. Dahmer was later charged with 15 charges of first-degree murder, and despite his effort to plead guilty due to insanity, he was declared sane and convicted on all 15 counts. He was then condemned to life in jail, where he was murdered two years later.

The Jeffrey Dahmer Story - Dahmer - Monster

Although My Friend Dahmer was the most recent scripted project released in 2017, The Jeffrey Dahmer Story created by Murphy and Ian Brennan is the first scripted drama to chronicle the serial killer's troubled upbringing and chilling life as a killer, with Peters portraying Dahmer during his murder spree.

According to Netflix, Dahmer is a series that sheds light on these unconscionable crimes, focused on the underserved victims and their communities impacted by the systemic racism and institutional failures of the police that allowed one of America's most notorious serial killers to continue his murderous spree for over a decade. The story of the serial killer's life is then explored in detail, starting with his previous murder attempts and culminating in his capture and conviction.

The series also features Richard Jenkins as Lionel Dahmer, Molly Ringwald as Shari Dahmer, Michael Learned as Catherine Dahmer, and Niecy Nash as Glenda Cleveland, a Milwaukee neighbor. Cameron Cowperthwaite portrays the role of Steven Hicks, Vince Hill-Bedford portrays the role of Steven Tuomi, Rodney Burnford portrays the role of Tony Hughes, and Shaun J. portrays the role of Steven Tuomi. Tracy Edwards, who escaped from Jeffrey Dahmer, played some of his victims in a play to commemorate Dahmer's arrest. Dominic Burgess plays John Wayne Gacy, who murdered 33 men and teenage boys between 1972 and 1978.

From Evan Peters' portrayal of Jeffrey Dahmer to 'Conversations With a Killer' Documentaries 30 Years Later
Image Credit : netflix

When it came to his portrayal of Dahmer, Peters started "from scratch." He revealed that he was only familiar with images of Dahmer's arrest and trial. To get into character, he watched Dahmer's Dateline interview with Stone Phillips before reading various biographies and the police report of his confession. 

I was really scared about all the things that he did, and diving into all of that. I had to go to very dark places for extended periods of time. It was so amazing that all of it really happened. And I really appreciate the importance of being respectful to the victims and the victims' families while trying to tell the story as authentically as possible. "You must have had some plot points because he did these things."

Meanwhile, the series is Peters' latest collaboration with Murphy, having previously appeared in nine episodes of American Horror Story as well as Pose. It also comes after his Emmy-winning performance as a detective on the HBO limited series Mare of Easttown, which marked a significant difference from his work on AHS at the time.

The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes: Conversations with a Killer

The latest part of Berlinger's true-crime docuseries, which premieres on Netflix on October 7, moves the focus from previously unseen conversations with serial killers Ted Bundy and Gacy to previously unseen recordings with Dahmer. The series, like the previous two seasons, will be told primarily in Dahmer's own words, with interviews offering his viewpoint on the atrocities.

Furthermore, the three-part documentary will not only include "never-before-heard audio interviews between Dahmer and his defense team," but it will also "delve into his warped psyche" while attempting to answer questions about police accountability, such as how a person previously convicted of sexual assault was able to avoid suspicion for so long and how views of the gay scene or people of color at the time affected investigations into these crimes, with the help of a moderator.

"This notion that I had of revisiting tales that had already been told, but seen through a modern day, social justice lens appears to have succeeded," Berlinger said of the first season, which was about Bundy and became a huge hit on Netflix. "So, I started thinking about who would be next," he explained at the time, adding that Gacy was an easy next choice and that "another season of Conversations was on the way."

Berlinger stated that he believed the tapes that would serve as the basis for the Dahmer season were "compelling" after obtaining them.

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