No show on Netflix has debuted with greater numbers than the current 10-part dramatization of Jefferey Dahmer, simply called Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.
With incredible acting from Evan Peters, who plays Jefferey Dahmer, and Richard Jenkins as Dahmer’s father, Lionel, it’s no surprise that the show has been a hit — despite the dark and remarkably troubling nature of the story.
The show is set in both Milwaukee, where the bulk of Dahmer’s killings were committed, as well as his hometown of Bath, Ohio.
But as riveting as Monster can be, it’s not entirely accurate, according to former Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporter Anne E. Schwartz, who covered the case back when it was happening in the early 1990s.
In fact, Schwartz contended that the show “does not bear a great deal of resemblance to the facts of the case,” in speaking to The Independent.
“When people are watching Ryan Murphy’s Netflix series and saying, ‘Oh my God, this is terrible.’ I want to tell them it didn’t necessarily turn out that way,” Schwartz said.
At the time, Schwartz said she received a tip that a human head and other random body parts were found inside an apartment. She was able to get a look inside, she said, as well as take a whiff of the odors coming from the place.
“I was a crime reporter for five years so I know what it smells like when you walk into a building with a dead body or a decomposing body. This was not that. This was a very chemical smell,” she said.
They got more wrong.
The show depicts the smell as decomposing body parts, which Dahmer passed off to visitors, neighbors and the police as pork chops gone bad.
Schwartz also disagreed with the show portraying Dahmer’s neighbors and the community playing such a large role. She said police officers dealing with the crime scene really were not racist, nor homophobic, as Monster often makes them out to be.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with them, interviewing the people who were at the scene. Again this is a dramatization, but at a time when it is not exactly easy for law enforcement to get trust and buy in from the community, it’s not a very helpful representation,” Schwartz said.
Multiple people have come out against the movie, including some celebrities, indicating there really was no need to re-live these heinous murders all over again. Schwartz is in that camp as well.
“People in Milwaukee think this is a horrible blemish on the city, they don’t want people to think about it,” she said.