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Are We Glorifying Serial Killers?

Enjoying media is one thing, glorifying murderers is another.

Credit: Netflix

With the September release of Netflix’s ‘Dahmer’, the romanticized edits of horror heartthrob, Evan Peters, have begun to flood social media in their predictable fashion.

With the popularity of the Zac Efron-fronted film, ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile’, it’s no secret that people readily consume this type of content. But why do we enjoy this content and is it problematic to do so?

Evan Peters: Killer Heartthrob

With American Horror Story catapulting him into mainstream media, Evan Peters has been no stranger to disturbing roles. His characters on the hit Ryan Murphy show have become staples of television. The name ‘Tate Langdon’ will still make ears prick and minds descend back to 2011 on Tumblr where fan edits of the perverted character littered the platform. Surprisingly, still to this day, there are accounts dedicated to romanticizing this fictional school shooter. This raises the question- why do we enjoy content about serial killers and is this consumption a form of glorification?

Credit: Motortion Films/ Shutterstock

Hunger For Horror

True crime documentaries have been soaring in popularity over the past year, with Netflix releasing new ones almost every other month. The consistent and unwavering supply and demand of these shows put the entertainment aspect into perspective; what do we enjoy about these shows and why is it mainly women who consume this content?

In a study conducted in 2010, women were revealed to be more avid watchers of true crime than men. This was reduced to women often feeling more vulnerable to attack and therefore, feeling more informed after watching true crime shows. Women like to predict situations and seek out solutions in case they find themselves in such. As Jena Friedman said, women don’t watch crime, we study it.

Human beings are naturally curious and our brains seek novelty. Chasing unusual instances is something that makes us human. There’s a part of us that has an attraction to those in power even if this power is used badly. This explains the pen-pal relationships that some women formed with the likes of Richard Ramirez and Ted Bundy. This is known in the field of psychology as, identification with the aggressive.

Sublimation also explains this as it explores why humans watch violent movies or aggressive sports- we have to find an outlet for our primal drives for aggression and often true crime shows satisfy this.

TikTok Takeover

It’s always the names of the serial killers and never the names of the victims that are the most recognized. We have to ask ourselves, are we glorifying these murderers?

Fanfictions, Twitter ‘stans’, and TikTok edits of serial killers are nothing new but remain wildly popular every time a new documentary is released. Richard Ramirez was the target of the affection of Twitter users after, The Night Stalker, was released on Netflix. The same thing occurred when, The Ted Bundy Tapes, were announced. There seems to be a line between the genuine research and curiosity into these heinous individuals and the glamourization and glorification of them. Should we be questioning the morality of our consumption of this media?

Written By

Hi, my name is Emily Marsey, I am twenty one years old and an English Literature graduate from Hartlepool living in Liverpool.


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