Well, I am one episode from finishing Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer story and as with any Netflix series, I am inclined to go back and fact check some of the storyline. Although, I haven’t seen any glaring errors. But Netflix likes to tinker with the evidence. Pinch of salt.
The story itself is well written and executed as a miniseries. The gore was kept at a minum, the storyline dominant, and the characters were very strong. The acting was excellent, particularly by Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer and Niecy Nash as Glenda Cleveland, Dahmer’s neighbor. Peters did well to portray the often meek polite montone Dahmer. Then he delivers the other side, seen only by a few. His performance builds believability. I was watching Jeffrey, not Peters. As for Niecy Nash as Cleveland. Nash had me holding the edge of my seat riding an emotional rollercoaster that went from dread, to sadness, and to tears. What Cleveland went through, the toxic smell of decay coming through her vent. She listened to murders happen right next door in Apartment 213, then there were power tools, saws, and drills. Nocturnal visits to the dumpster.
One night, Glenda Cleveland, Sandra Smith, Tina Spivey, and Nicole Childress, came to the aid of one of Dahmers victims who had stumbled naked and bleeding from the apartment into the street.
They called the police and Dahmer insisted the 14 year old was his friend. Police arrived and they told the Cleveland and the teens to butt out. Dahmer kept insisting it was a lovers spat and his friend was just really drunk. They ignored the fact he was bleeding from both the head and the buttocks. They followed Dahmer, who helped the boy back up to apartment 213. One officer, Joseph Gabrish, said he detected a foul smell. While the other, John Balcerzak said he did not. They left the 14 year old with Dahmer, and reported it as a homosexual domestic dispute. Within an hour Jeffrey Dahmer murdered the 14 year old Laotian named, Sinthasomphone. Officer Balcerzak would be one of the arresting officers, when another victim escaped. Both Balcerzak and Gabrish would be fired, but later reinstated. Two shitty cops.
Cleveland had made numerous calls about Apartment 213, and the strange goings ons, but Milwaukee PD and Balcerzak dismissed her calls. Even as she ranted, “Someone is being murdered over there!” This poor women, what strength she must have had to steel herself against the nightmare next door.
It is an interesting character study and brings the stories of some of the victims to the forefront. It is the monster we go to see, but in every serial killer’s debris trail are scores of voiceless victims and their broken families.
My view on whether Jeffrey Dahmer was sane or not hinges on his crimes. You simply don’t do the things that he did without some form of mental illness being present. The way in which he dismembered, cannibalized and disposed of his victims yells crazy from the Milwaukee rooftops. Dahmer was diagnosed as borderline personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, and a psychotic disorder, but was deemed sane to stand trial because he knew his crimes were wrong. Personality and psychotic disorder are well known, schizotypal personality disorder is an intense discomfort with close relationships. Dahmer confessed to killing 17 victims, and pled guilty to 15 murders in Milwaukee, Dahmer’s sanity was put on trial. He was found to be sane and sentenced to 15 sentences of life in prison.
In 1994 Dahmer was beaten to death by a fellow inmate.
A lot of emphasis was put on his upbringing, an over protective father and mentally ill mother who seemed to have daily screaming matches. Some of that may have contributed to his inability to get close, but I don’t think Dahmer was made, he was born that way. Certainly the family dynamic did not help.
A tragic story all around. A black mark on Milwaukee PD. And even the Reverend Jesse Jackson doesn’t get a pass, as he moves on to greener pastures rather than protesting the disgusting reinstatement of Balcerzak and Gabrish.
I recommend it.
Thanks for listening
WAIT! DON’T GO AWAY JUST YET
Check out my SyFy Horror, Acadia Event, which was inspired by my time as an ice trucker. No I didn’t see any aliens. But it’s a hoot chock full of action, good guys, bad guys, and bone eating aliens. It’s avalailable on all platforms, in all formats. Here’s a link: wbp.bz/acadiaeventa