In recent years, following popular movie releases such as “My Friend Dhamer” and “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” there has been an increased obsession with serial killers amongst younger crowds, specifically women. Through social media, the romanticization of these killers has been amplified. Although this odd fascination has become magnified recently, it is not new. In the height of the crimes they committed, Jefferey Dhamer, Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez and even Charles Manson all had legitimate fan clubs that fought and protested for their freedom. These people even went as far as to name themselves, from The Bundyphilles to the McDahmers. While protesting for a serial killer’s freedom might be different from calling them hot on TikTok, it is still the same obsession, just in a different font.
Since the dawn of modern society, people have been drawn to celebrities and have developed a serious love for those in the public eye. While parasocial relationships are (somewhat) harmless when it comes to celebrities like Harry Styles, it is alarming when people develop them with literal murderers. We have all gotten weird videos on our TikTok for-you pages, but I’d have to say seeing people who have genuine obsessions with infamous killers takes the cake. It makes you wonder how someone could actually think that highly of such a disgusting human being.
As today’s technology advances, crime professionals are able to fill in clues to old cases, as well as discover new information on old criminals. Over the past few decades, true crime documentaries have been on the rise. Documentaries highlighting and bringing awareness to old cases such as missing “411,” “Casting JonBenet” and “Abducted in Plain Sight” have been alluring and helpful. While movies highlighting the life of criminals are somewhat having the opposite effect. As I previously mentioned, movies such as “My Friend Dhamer,” and “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” highlight the lives and crimes of Joey Dhamer and Ted Bundy. In these films, having young, celebrity heartthrobs like Zac Efron and Ross Lynch playing the roles of such vile men sort of detaches them from their heinous crimes.
While most people know how cruel and vicious these people are, and could never be attracted to them, others detach them from their crimes and treat their attraction as a joke. I have seen endless Tweets and Instagram comments “joking” about finding these killers attractive. Statements such as “why is Bundy sort of hot” or “Bundy was fine ngl” seem harmless, yet they are incredibly insensitive. Most killers are charming or were good-looking, and their victims thought the same thing. Serial Killers have been intriguing the public since the start of their evil. Is it their charm that allows people to become fascinated with them? The fact that we cannot understand their actions? Are they a huge mystery puzzle that people are itching to solve? I love a good true crime case, but I could never allow myself to gain an attachment to the one committing the crimes. While these questions remain unanswered, it is important to inform people of how harmful and insensitive their attraction can be, even if it is just a “joke.”