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My Friend Dahmer: Independent Bio-Drama Explores Adolescence of Jeffrey Dahmer 

Friday 17th, November 2017 / 16:00
By Breanna Whipple

CALGARY – My Friend Dahmer. The title peaks out at me on a shelf dominated by covers of exuberant super heroes, strikingly majestic in their battle against evil. “My Friend Dahmer,” what a curious combination of words, I thought. As though the infamy of Jeffrey Dahmer had stripped any realism to the fact that he was a functioning human just like myself and all those around me.

Without hesitating, I picked the book up off the shelf, flipped through the beautifully illustrated graphic novel by American cartoonist John “Derf” Backderf (who had attended high school with Dahmer), and was immediately mesmerized. Prior to that day I had never experienced such unique content. Two hundred and twenty-four pages of cartoons providing the closest insight available to the private life of the world’s most notorious serial killer; an adolescence plagued by binge drinking, parental negligence, and a bizarre fascination with festering road kill. 

The graphic novel immediately received critical acclaim in 2012, the year of its release. Given the unique coming of age tale under these particularly peculiar circumstances, no wonder it achieved universal success. Naturally, a film was an appropriate succession, and thanks to writer and director Marc Meyers, such a necessity has finally come to fruition. 

For those who are fortunate enough to be unfamiliar with his murderous history, Jeffrey Dahmer, (also penned as the Milwaukee Cannibal), committed vile acts of rape, dismemberment, and murder against 17 boys and men between 1978 and 1991. To further the horrific nature of these crimes, Dahmer claimed that his motive behind the killing was in efforts to create a ‘sex zombie’, and admitted to attempting crude lobotomies with a drill on four of his last victims. But these crimes are not the central focus of the film. Instead it follows the novel and focuses on the years leading up to what would inevitably become one of the most gruesome series of murders in American history. 

Fascination with the mind of a serial killer is anything but unusual. For the majority of us it is completely impossible to understand. What causes people to kill? To maim? To torture? To feast upon human flesh? Perhaps the journey Jeffrey embarked upon in his formative years can provide clues, perhaps not. One thing can be promised, the tale is like no other. 


See My Friend Dahmer Friday, Nov. 24 at The Globe Cinema.

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