Jeffrey Dahmer’s film about his youth is the origin story of the Netflix series
The isolation and strangeness are palpable even in a two-minute clip from the movie “My Friend Dahmer.”
Based on the graphic novel and cautionary tale written by high school friend of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, the 2017 film captures both the retro 1970s setting, as well as the ominous aura of a young man who would dominate the national headlines at the start. 90 after his arrest for murder in connection with the death and dismemberment of 17 men.
“My Friend Dahmer” will be screened Friday at 7 p.m. at the Canton Palace Theater as part of the Canton Film Festival.
“The talent we have in this region is quite impressive,” said James Waters of the Canton Film Fest. “And a lot of the people who worked on the movie (Dahmer) are Ohio people.”
“My Friend Dahmer” is particularly timely due to renewed interest in the Dahmer case following the recent release of a new 10-episode Netflix series about the serial killer which has garnered nearly $200 million. hours of viewing, according to IndieWire.
Launched earlier this month, “DAHMER Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” had the streaming service’s most-watched first week for a new taped series.
“Emily the Criminal” will also screen at the Canton Film Fest at 7 p.m. Thursday. Saturday’s event will include the 7 p.m. presentation, “Chase Crawford Returns to Film Casting.”
The movie “Terror Trips” will screen Saturday at 8 p.m. followed by a Q&A with director and screenwriter Jeff Seemann.
Director Marc Meyers achieved the ominous tone of “My Friend Dahmer” by drawing on both source material and filming scenes from Dahmer’s home and childhood neighborhood in Bath Township, NY. Summit County.
“In the pursuit of authenticity, which is very important to us, and part of the reason (graphic novelist John “Derf” Backderf) entrusted it to us, I wanted to shoot the film as close to actual locations as possible. “, explained Meyers. “We shot in (Dahmer’s) childhood home in (the Akron area) … and on the same roads that he traveled, and the same streets that he traveled and cycled, which grounded the film in a way that is unique only to our film.”
After:Jeffrey Dahmer’s Ohio Connections: What the Netflix Series Mentions and What’s True
“Dark penchants for putting roadkill in jars and looking at the bones.”
The storyline ends shortly after Dahmer’s graduation from high school in 1978 when he picks up a hitchhiker who would never be seen again.
“My Friend Dahmer” explores deviant clues missed by friends, adults and the community, “which makes it all the more haunting that someone so depraved fell through the cracks (and that these people) have missed the signs,” said Meyers, who’s other feature films include “All My Life” (2020) and “Human Capital” (2019).
And although the story predates Dahmer’s series of murders and maimings, as a teenager he had “dark inclinations for putting the road dead in jars and watching the bones as part of his life. secret,” Meyers said.
Despite the dark mood of the film, Meyers said the story was relatable at its core due to its focus on Dahmer’s high school years.
“My parents got divorced and separated…and I grew up in a bucolic place like (Bath Township near) Akron, Ohio,” he said.
Generally speaking, he said, teenagers often feel like strangers at school, and students have either been made fun of by a child or they have been the butt of teasing, Meyers said. , 50 years.
“These are things that we all know are aspects of growing up, but it’s the combination of nurture against nature, and all of these things that happened around him that contribute to this creation in this monster, when other things don’t create a monster,” he said.
Netflix’s Dahmer series gave origin story a boost
“My Friend Dahmer” is enjoying a “second life” in the wake of the Netflix series, said Meyers, who grew up in New York’s Cortlandt Manor neighborhood.
“Our film is kind of the story before this story,” the director said. “It’s their childhood… (and) it’s an origin story, and it can tell a lot more about a person than going through all the horrifying details line by line.”
“Those involved with (‘My Friend Dahmer’) have noticed another wave in which people … come to rediscover or revisit our film for the first time,” Meyers said, referring to streaming and social media.
After:Where to Watch ‘My Friend Dahmer’ Movie After Watching the Netflix Series
Navigating and exploring the life of a serial character is challenging, said Meyers, who lives in the Brooklyn, New York, area with her family.
“We’ve always tried to be considerate of the family members and the first victims and anyone else who might be troubled and haunted by the Dahmer name and all that kind of other stuff that it conjures up,” he said. -he declares.
The Netflix series has been criticized by family members of some of Dahmer’s victims for re-traumatizing them and not asking for their input.
“We’ve all had very serious conversations about that fine line,” Meyers said. “Nothing in the book is meant to disrespect the victims. This part of the story doesn’t touch on the (murders), so there’s a lot of it that’s left to the imagination and the people.”
“I just think it’s human nature…to be curious about the dark sides of our psyche.”
Fascination and interest in serial killers is nothing new. “Jack the Ripper”, the “Green River Killer”, John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy are among the most notorious.
But there are even more opportunities to watch and hear these stories in the digital age. True crime podcasts, documentaries and movies are very popular.
“I just think it’s human nature…to be curious about the dark sides of our psyche,” Meyers said. “And most people know better when not to explore those impulses, or those impulses don’t really enter their brain, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some kind of human fascination with dark edges. of what makes us human, and so you learn that someone leans or falls into that dark space themselves, (and it’s) a window into a part of ourselves that we don’t go into enter or that we are afraid to explore.
“It’s part of being human,” he added. “…When someone goes down those holes, we want to start from a safe place in the movie theater or at home on our couch to take that horrible route ourselves.”
Waters of the Canton Film Fest said Meyers handled the subject matter thoughtfully and for the benefit of the audience.
“I think people are definitely fascinated by these kinds of people,” he said of Dahmer and other serial killers. “And what I really love, even about the (Netflix) show and the Marc Meyers movie, is that it doesn’t really glorify the serial killer per se, but it shows, I guess, a look more in-depth on how this happened, so that even hopefully as a society people can stop and say, maybe we can be kinder to each other. .. so maybe we don’t have society (with) all these things going on, and we can catch it.
More Ohio Movie Projects Planned
Meyers said he plans to return to Ohio to film two more feature films.
“I can’t wait to come back to Ohio to do something soon,” he said.
“I think it’s just a great place to make a movie, so I’m glad ‘My Friend Dahmer’ is getting all those sorts of second lives, including (at the Canton Film Festival).”
Filming could begin on one of his projects later this year.
“These are stories I learned doing ‘My Friend Dahmer’ in Ohio,” Meyers said. “One is the race car kind of world, and the other is around a college campus. We put those pieces together.”
Contact Ed at 330-580-8315 and [email protected]. On Twitter @ebalinREP.
If you are going to
WHAT – Guangzhou Film Festival
WHEN – from Thursday to Saturday
WHERE – Canton Palace Theatre, 605 Market Ave. N in Guangzhou.
PROGRAM – “Emily the Criminal,” 7 p.m. Thursday; “My Friend Dahmer,” 7 p.m. Friday; and “Terror Trips,” 8 p.m. Saturday.
OTHER PROGRAMS – A Q&A with “My Friend Dahmer” director Marc Meyers and Stark County native Jennifer Klide, who led the production design for the film, will follow the film, at around 9 p.m. Thursday night. A Q&A featuring It Is Written Productions will take place at 6 p.m. Saturday, followed at 7 p.m. Saturday by the screening of “Chase Crawford Talks Back on Film Distribution,” before “Terror Trips” airs. A Q&A with “Terror Trips” writer/director Jeff Seemann will follow this film.
TICKET INFORMATION – A $25 pass can be purchased for the entire film festival; and $10 tickets are available for individual days at https://cantonpalacetheatre.org/. The theater box office can be reached at 330-454-8172 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.