‘Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story’: Evan Peters Transformation & More – Hollywood Life

‘Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story’: The New Controversy Over Netflix Smash Hit

Evan Peters has tackled his darkest role yet in 'Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.' Here's everything about the chart-topping Netflix series and the controversy surrounding it.

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DAHMER – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is killer good. The Ryan Murphy crime drama instantly captured audiences’ attention with Evan Peters as the infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. It shot to the top of Netflix’s streaming charts after dropping on Sep. 21, 2022, and made records with its week-one numbers.

But the unsettling series has not been without its controversies. Audiences were upset after finding the show about the cannibal killer filed under Netflix’s LGBTQ section, because of Jeffrey’s sexuality. After backlash, the tag was removed.

Nothing, not even controversy or a major case of the creeps seem to be stopping people from jumping into the Netflix limited series. The 10-part saga chronicles Jeffrey’s murders of “17 men and boys, mostly individuals of color, across the midwest over the course of 13 years. As the series evolves, it explores how the case was egregiously mishandled and how the crimes went ignored by police for over a decade.”

Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story “exposes these unconscionable crimes” that took place from 1978 to 1991 and centers “around 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 in plain sight for over a decade.”

Ready for more Dahmer? HollywoodLife has rounded up everything we know about Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, including the cast, filming details, and more.

What Is Jeffrey Dahmer’s Backstory?

Jeffrey Dahmer infamously murdered and dismembered 17 males in cold blood. His horrific crimes also involved rape, necrophilia, and cannibalism. Jeffrey became known as the “Milwaukee Cannibal” and the “Milwaukee Monster.”

The serial killer was eventually diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, and a psychotic disorder. However, he was found to be legally sane to stand trial. After his capture, Jeffrey was convicted of 15 of the 16 murders and sentenced to 15 terms of life imprisonment in 1992. He was later sentenced to a sixteenth life imprisonment term for an additional homicide. He was beaten to death by inmate Christopher Scarver on November 28, 1994, while in prison.

Jeffrey Dahmer
The real Jeffrey Dahmer in 1991. (Allan Y Scott/AP/Shutterstock)

Despite the show being titled Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, the show will not be told from his perspective. “We had one rule going into this from Ryan [Murphy] that it would never be told from Dahmer’s point of view,” Evan told Netflix Queue.

Evan said it was “important to be respectful of the victims, to the victims’ families, to try and tell the story as authentically as we could… You need to have certain plot points — he did do these things — but you don’t need to embellish them. You know, we get it. We don’t need to see it over and over again.”

How Have Audiences Been Reacting?

Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story was an instant Netflix hit, rocketing to the top of their charts upon its release. It quickly racked up 196.2 million hours of view-time, surpassing previous record-holder Squid Game for the most watched series in its first week

Squid Game still holds the all-time title, with over 570 million hours clocked. To put that in perspective, the runner-up was Season 2 of Fate: The Winx Saga. It drew in 60.97 million hours of viewing in its second week on the charts.

Has There Been A Backlash?

Audiences were upset after the movie was tagged under the “LGBTQ” genre category on Netflix. Though Dahmer was a gay man, often luring his victims with promises of parties and hookups, Netflix’s “LGBTQ” is usually home to more positive depictions of gay, lesbian, and transgender life, like Heartstopper or Sex Education. As one Twitter user put it, “This is not the representation we’re looking for.”

After the outrage, the streamer removed the offending tag.  The tags “ominous,” “psychological,” “horror,” “vintage crime,” and “dark” remain.

There has also been a backlash from the families of Dahmer’s actual victims. Rita Isbell, the sister of victim Errol Lindsey, told Insider, “It’s sad that they’re just making money off of this tragedy. That’s just greed.”

When Did The Trailer Come Out?

The first trailer dropped on September 16, less than a week before the show’s release. One day prior to Monster’s launch, Netflix released a second trailer in order to “properly showcase the complex story.” There’s been plenty of buzz surrounding this project since it’s another collaboration between Evan and Ryan.

Where & When To Watch

All 10 episodes of Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story will be released on September 21, 2022, on Netflix. The release date was confirmed when the first trailer dropped on September 16.

The role of Jeffrey Dahmer is Evan’s first series regular role since his Emmy-winning turn in Mare of Easttown. All eyes are sure to be on the actor within the awards circuit as he takes on one of America’s most notorious serial killers.

The official synopsis reads: “Monster chronicles the story of one of America’s most notorious serial killers, largely told from the point of view of Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims and dives deeply into the police incompetence and apathy that allowed the Wisconsin native to go on a multiyear killing spree. The series dramatizes at least 10 instances where Dahmer was almost apprehended but ultimately let go. The series also is expected to touch on white privilege, as Dahmer, a clean-cut, good-looking white guy, was repeatedly given a free pass by cops as well as by judges who were lenient when he had been charged with petty crimes.”

Cast & Crew

Evan Peters
Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer. (Netflix)

Evan Peters plays serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. The actor portrayed the Wisconsin native from high school to his death in prison at 34. “I was very scared about all of the things that Dahmer did, and trying to commit to [playing this character] was absolutely going to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life,” Evan told Netflix. “It was so jaw-dropping that it all really happened. It felt important to be respectful to the victims and to the victims’ families to try to tell the story as authentically as we could.”

The actor prepared for his transformation by watching Jeffrey’s interview with Dateline NBC’s Stone Phillips, as well as YouTube videos about him. He also read biographies, the police report, and Jeffrey’s confession.

“I was very scared about all the things that he did and diving into that and trying to commit to that was absolutely going to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life,” Evan said in an interview. “Because I wanted it to be very authentic, but in order to do that, I was going to have to go to really dark places and stay there for an extended period of time.”

The Shape of Water star Richard Jenkins and The Breakfast Club’s Molly Ringwald play Lionel and Shari Dahmer, Jeffrey’s father and stepmother. Penelope Ann Miller plays Jeffrey’s absent mother Joyce, and the show will chronicle his parents’ “struggle to make sense of their troubled son and their neglect to recognize his danger.” Michael Learned plays Catherine Dahmer, Jeffrey’s grandmother. Jeffrey would often lure his victims to his grandmother’s house where he lived for a time.

Molly Ringwald Richard Jenkins
Molly Ringwald and Richard Jenkins in ‘Monster.’ (Netflix)

Niecy Nash, who previously worked with Ryan on Scream Queens, stars as Glenda Cleveland. Glenda was one of Jeffrey’s next-door neighbors at a Milwaukee apartment complex. “Glenda was one of his victims too. And her story has been told the least,” Niecy told Netflix. Glenda became suspicious of Jeffrey and alerted their landlord multiple times of foul odor coming from his apartment. When the landlord didn’t believe her, Glenda called the police, but they refused to take a Black woman and her family, living in an underserved neighborhood, seriously.

Glenda notably called the police after watching 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone stumble naked out of Jeffrey’s apartment and into the street. When police arrived, Jeffrey lied and said the boy was his lover. The police believed Jeffrey over Glenda. Konerak became another one of Jeffrey’s victims.

Niecy Nash
Niecy Nash as Glenda Jackson. (Netflix)

“Heavy is the head that wears the crown to tell this story as it had never been done before,” Niecy said. “That comes with a lot of responsibility because you want to make sure you get it right.”

Evan stressed, “It’s called The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, but it’s not just him and his backstory. It’s the repercussions; it’s how society and our system failed to stop him multiple times because of racism and homophobia. Everybody gets their side of the story told.”

Who Is The Creative Team?

Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan serve as co-creators and executive producers. Additional executive producers also include Evan, Alexis Martin Woodall, Eric Kovtun, Janet Mock, and Carl Franklin (episode 1). Carl, Gregg Araki, Paris Barclay, Jennifer Lynch, and Clement Virgo also directed episodes.

President of Color Of Change Rashad Robinson is a consulting producer. Rashad worked with Bryan to make sure that the victims’ stories would be heard and explored. “I wanted to make sure that we really enhanced the deep understanding of the systemic racism in the Milwaukee Police Department, that we really enhance all the ways in which policing failed throughout each and every stage, the incentive structures that allowed a blond-haired, blue-eyed guy to continually kill and harm people, particularly Black and brown people,” he told Netflix’s Tudum.

Evan Peters
Evan Peters in a scene from ‘Monster.’ (Netflix)

He added, “This was not a situation of a lone wolf, which is oftentimes the story that gets told about Dahmer. And so what makes this different is that we get to understand and see the humanity of those who were murdered by Jeffrey Dahmer. But we get to understand and see it not as unfortunate, but as unjust.”

Filming Details

Filming for Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story took place from late March 2021 to the end of July 2021. The limited series was filmed in Los Angeles.