Every time a new movie or TV series comes out about a real-life serial killer, it always sparks controversy and debate over whether these depictions should exist and if they are harmful. There has been a recent spate of Ted Bundy movies, including former teen heartthrob Zac Efron playing him for Netflix. Netflix‘s latest true crime series starring Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer has ignited the debate once again.
Despite the controversy, movies and TV shows about real-life serial killers can also garner critical acclaim. Charlize Theron won an Oscar for portraying Aileen Wournos in Patty Jenkins’ Monster. Quentin Tarantino’s speculative narrative Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (which gave Charles Manson a very different ending) won Oscars, including for Brad Pitt. David Fincher made the movie Zodiac, and the TV series Mindhunter – both of which are highly regarded.
But there is a dark side to the reaction that some of these works can generate, which is a fetishization, and even fandom for the killers themselves. Some craven companies or individuals have even attempted to cash-in with merchandise, and eBay is cracking down on such products, including Jeffrey Dahmer Halloween costumes.
According to Entertainment Weekly, in the lead-up to Halloween, eBay has removed any and all costume listings related to Dahmer — who murdered 17 men and boys in Milwaukee from 1978 until his arrest in 1991.
“I can confirm that these items are banned on eBay and are being removed under our Violence and Violent Criminal Policy,” an eBay spokesperson told EW. “These items have been prohibited under the policy – this was not a new or recent decision.”
While many people understandably find true crime and serial killer movies and TV shows distasteful, there are other options if you want to check out movies based on a true story.