Content Warning: The following article contains discussions/depictions of suicide.
Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is the latest true crime series on Netflix. Based on the notorious serial killer from the ‘90s who was to serve 15 consecutive life sentences for the murder, dismemberment, and even consumption of 17 young men, Evan Peters stars as the titular character.
The ending doesn’t provide much in the way of information cards to indicate what parts of the show are true and which aren’t. Indeed, there’s plenty about the show that’s based around fact. But some details were altered for a more dramatic effect.
The Meat Sandwich
While the series takes some liberties in the retelling of the stories, one particular scene was actually true, which was the one where Dahmer visits Glenda Cleveland with a meat sandwich as a peace offering. However, the truth is slightly altered. Cleveland was not actually Dahmer’s neighbour, but lived in a nearby building and witnessed his odd behavior and people coming and going. It was another woman named Pamela Bass who lived a few doors down from Jeffrey in the Oxford apartments. The character of Cleveland on the show is likely based on a combination of the two women.
According to Distractify, which sites the documentary film The Jeffrey Dahmer Files, Bass says Dahmer did indeed often make sandwiches for a number of neighbors in the building. “I have probably eaten someone’s body part,” Bass said in the documentary. The quote alone is enough to rank this series among true crime shows that would cause viewers to nope out.
Glenda Cleveland Repeatedly Calling Police
While Cleveland didn’t live in the next-door apartment as depicted on the show, she did witness plenty of unusual happenings in the area and Dahmer’s odd behavior and repeatedly called the police about it. This includes after her daughter and niece told her about the incident with Konerak Sinthasomphone. According to Seventeen, Cleveland indeed did continue to call the police to follow up on him.
When she later noticed the missing person signs for Sinthasomphone, Cleveland again called the police and even the FBI in hopes that they would follow up and look into Dahmer, but to no avail. Dahmer would go on to kill five more people after Sinthasomphone before he was caught.
The Police Officers Let Sinthasomphone Go
The story of the two police officers who were called to the scene when Sinthasomphone managed to escape was true, though Glenda Cleveland was not physically present at the time. It was only her daughter and niece. The pair called the police when they noticed Sinthasomphone appeared drugged and was bleeding and in pain. The story played out similarly to how it was shown, with the police officers believing Dahmer’s story and sending the young boy back to the apartment with him.
According to PopBuzz, following Dahmer’s arrest, the police officers were dismissed for negligence but were later reinstated with back-pay. John A. Balcerzak went on to become head of the police association while Joseph P. Gabrish became captain and interim chief of a police department. Both men, long since retired, continued to stand by their decisions long after Dahmer’s death. The controversy around race and alleged police incompetence add another layer to the show, making it worthy of being among the best serial killer TV shows on Netflix.
As depicted in flashback scenes on the show, Dahmer and his father Lionel did, in fact, collect roadkill and dissect and analyze the remains. When Lionel, a chemist, discovered that his son had an interest in this, he thought it was a legitimate interest in research and animal autonomy that could lead to further studies and an eventual career, according to LADbible.com.
While fans are polarized on how they feel about this, many stand by Lionel in that, given that he himself was a scientist, it made sense that he would believe his son might be genetically inclined to have similar interests. Though he did not see any red flags with this at the time, Lionel Dahmer went on to write in his book that he believes he overlooked the signs.
The High School Photo Bombing
In one odd scene, while Dahmer is still in high school, he is seen walking into a yearbook photo shoot for the Honor Society, posing in the center of the picture, then walking out. Later, a group of angry teens is seen livid when they notice his face, which is later blacked out in the copies that are distributed.
This not only really happened, but the actual photos have resurfaced on Reddit. Yahoo! Life cites a former classmate Mike Krukal who spoke in the crime documentary Jeffrey Dahmer: Mind of a Monster. Krukal says Dahmer often did things like that as strange pranks. Such acts were not covered in other movies like My Friend Dahmer, which ranks among the most underrated movies about serial killers.
Joyce’s Suicide Attempt
In one scene following Dahmer’s arrest and incarceration, his mother Joyce Flint is seen unplugging the gas stove in the kitchen and attempting to end her life. This actually happened, according to UPI archives. She was reportedly found face down in her kitchen.
She was taken to a medical center still breathing and managed to be saved. As also shown in the series, Flint also penned a handwritten note asking to be cremated, describing her life as “lonely,” and declaring her love for both her sons. According to Distractify, Flint passed away years later in 2000 from breast cancer at the age of 64.
All The Basic Victim Stories
While not all the stories might have been completely true to fact, all the victims shown in the series are indeed based on real victims of Dahmer’s, according to Seventeen. His first murder was of 18-year-old hitchhiker Steven Hicks.
Tony Hughes, who was the subject of the largely silent episode, was indeed a young deaf man who befriended Dahmer and also became one of his victims. While not all the victims’ stories were told, the total count of 17 was accurate, based on convictions, news stories, and Dahmer’s own confessions.
Jeffrey Dahmer Was Baptized
Right before his murder on the show, Dahmer is seen having a heart-to-heart about God with a priest in the prison. He later declares that he wants to be baptized, and the ceremony happens in a small prison whirlpool.
According to HITC, not only did Dahmer indeed get baptized in prison, but it also happened on the same day another notorious serial killer, John Wayne Gacy, was executed, as shown. Another detail from the show about this fateful day was also true, in which there was a solar eclipse.
Jeffrey Dahmer Being Murdered In Prison
It has long been confirmed that Dahmer was murdered in prison by a fellow inmate, Christopher Scarver. According to archived news clipping from the Associated Press, Scarver claimed that “God told me to do it.”
According to Distractify citing the New York Post’s interview with Scarver in 2015, Scarver questioned Dahmer about his crimes as he is seen doing on the show, asking if he really committed them. He then beat Dahmer with a metal bar from the weight room. Scarver is reportedly still alive and in prison, publishing his own poetry.
Lionel Refused To Have Jeffrey’s Brain Studied
Following Flint’s attempts to have Jeffrey Dahmer’s brain studied by a university following his death to try and determine a cause for who he was the way he was, Lionel Dahmer did argue against her wishes in court. He claimed that Jeffrey had a will that clearly stated his body should be cremated, according to Bustle.
As depicted in the gripping crime series, the exes fought in court and Lionel won, with Jeffrey’s brain cremated without any studies proceeding with it. Dahmer’s brain had been preserved in formaldehyde for years until the decision was finally made.
NEXT: 10 Best Movies & Shows About Serial Killers Like DahmerSource:gamerant.com