Thursday, October 04, 2007


(2002) ***

Dahmer and the Ed Gein flick I reviewed earlier are part of a collection of five films by First Look Entertainment about the lives of serial killers. I'll be watching the other three over the course of the Thon. I noticed that Netflix predicted that I'd give it exactly this many stars, which makes me a little worried, as they've pegged two out of the remaining three with 2 stars. I'm crossing my fingers that Ed Gein wasn't the high water mark, but we'll see.

Early on in Dahmer, Jeffrey visits a local shoe store where he cannily eyes another male customer before offering to buy him a pair of shoes if he'll come home and pose for pictures. Once home, Dahmer slips some mickeys into the young man's Coke and then circles around him with a Polaroid. As the guy begins to loll his head, Dahmer stands over him, an aroused smile never leaving his face.

At this point, I found myself wishing I had more of a context for where in Dahmer's timeline this scene fell. Was this victim number one? Victim number 17? I did a little bit of research and discovered similarities between this victim's circumstances and the circumstances around the death of Konerak Sinthasomphone, victim number 14. These events fell in the middle of Dahmer's home stretch of seven murders taking place over the months of May, June and July of 1991. He describes that period in his life thusly,

"I was very careful for years and years, you know. Very careful, very careful about making sure that nothing incriminating remained, but these last few months, they just went nuts… It just seemed like it went into a frenzy this last month."

It'd have been nice to know these things by now just to improve my context for Dahmer's horrifying next move which is to plunge a power drill into the still living boy's head.

This is the most graphic happening we're permitted to see. We see one other killing and the corpse of another, lying mottled with blue clots on Dahmer's bed. But our only glimpse into the breadth of Dahmer's murder history is a flickering series of shots of him drugging dudes at a club and taking them home to molest them. Who are all these people? Did Dahmer kill them too?

The film chooses to focus little on Dahmer's body count, not at all on his cannibalism. It focuses almost entirely on Dahmer's approach; How he gets his victims to come home, how he incapacitates them, the obvious sexual thrill he gets from having his way with them. On a personal note, if I were to take a girl home and she were to collapse drunkenly on the bed, I'd be pretty disappointed and then I'd go raid the fridge and watch cable for a couple hours. Dahmer, however, dives as hotly into his molestations as if his victim were kissing back.

That's about all we see of him though. Dahmer is largely a movie about a shitty date with someone. There are probably far more compelling parts of Dahmer's story to try to make a movie out of.


Octopunk said...

It's weird, you describe the focus of this movie as Dahmer's predatory methods and I wonder if it's meant to be a "how to" video.

Jordan said...

I read the book by the FBI interrogator who interviewed Dahmer. It was fascinating. The business with the drill is in there: Dahmer was trying to wound the boys so that they would be "living" sex toys with no consciousness.