Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

The Romanticisation and Monetisation of Murderers

Trigger warning: Graphic descriptions of violent acts.


As human beings, our morality guides us to achieve fairness and justice where harmful acts have taken place, in order to protect the public. We have decided that punishments are carried out in the form of fines, imprisonment, rehabilitation and so on.

Yet, there is a recurring theme of serial killers rising to fame after being the subject of documentaries that gain mass attention. An undeserved reward of public notoriety that feeds a murderer’s desire.

While it is no secret that curiosity gets the best of us and we occasionally fall into the rabbit hole of exposing ourselves to these sinister stories - the trend of women romanticising serial killers is one that is undeniably concerning and unhealthy.

According to research published in the Social Psychological and Personality Science journal article, many more females in comparison to men are fans of true-crime stories. From Ted Bundy to Luka Magnotta and Chris Watts, these are the names of only a few who have somewhat gained a fandom and had their atrocious crimes monetised.

Ted Bundy was an American serial killer, rapist and necrophiliac who committed these acts in the 1970's. He admitted to murdering 36 women across a few states, but experts believe that a more accurate representation amounts to 100 or more victims.

Last year, a biographical film ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’ based on Ted Bundy was released. A public favourite, Zac Efron, starred as the lead role which perfectly encapsulated Bundy. Not only did he resemble Bundy appearance-wise, but he also embodied the charm that Bundy possessed which lured his victims.

However, the attraction did not end once his crimes were revealed. Several Tik Tok videos, such as this one, have recently surfaced wherein users express his sexual appeal. Although claimed as a joke, several comments under this video perceived it as an insult to the real victims and the normalisation of a devastating crime.

‘Don’t F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer’ is a Netflix documentary series that was released last year, showcasing the online manhunt that led to Luka Magnotta’s arrest and life sentence, which he is currently still serving.

Luka Magnotta is a Canadian murderer who uploaded videos of himself abusing cats in 2010, as well as a video where he stabbed a man to death in 2012. The man was dismembered, and his body parts were delivered to several places afterwards.

Despite his violent acts, Magnotta gained numerous admirers which The National Post identified through several Facebook groups and a fan page, which had almost 1,400 members during the year of his arrest.

Another documentary series, ‘American Murder: The Family Next Door’, was also released by Netflix earlier this year. It tells the story of Chris Watts, an American who murdered his pregnant wife and two young daughters in 2018. Watts is currently serving a life sentence in prison- throughout his time in prison so far, he has received love letters, revealed by the Huffpost.

Closer to home, Peter Sutcliffe, who was nicknamed by the press as the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’, is an English serial killer that recently passed away on the 13th of November, this year. He murdered 13 women across Leeds, Bradford, Manchester, Huddersfield and Halifax throughout 1975 to 1980.

Unsurprisingly, Netflix recently released a trailer for their upcoming documentary series based on Sutcliffe. ‘The Ripper’ will premiere on Netflix tomorrow.

While film production companies continue to exploit the stories of serial killers and our curiosity- the victims need us to do better. We must remind ourselves of the horrifying situations they had to endure and stand for what is right.



Words By: Ellis Idris 

Edited By: Tamikka Reid 






I am 21 years old and a third year student studying Journalism at the University of Leeds. I was born in the Philippines and raised in Malaysia where I went to an Australian International School. I love music, arts, culture and travelling.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️