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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Issues with the true crime trend

<u’ve been on Netflix recently or looked at the top podcasts on Spotify and iTunes, you’ve probably noticed the recent craze for all things murder. Being fascinated by stories of infamous serial killers and shocking tales of survivors is not a new phenomnom; however, the recent wave of interest in this once underground community is.

My love for true crime started from a young age with Dateline and blossomed into a healthy obsession that I satisfy with books about cult leaders and murder documentaries. More recently, I have fallen in love with the podcast My Favorite Murder (10/10 recommend). As a long-time appreciator for true crime, there are problems I’ve come to recognize within the murder community.
The recent trend of true crime has, in many ways, exacerbated these issues, namely the glorification of killers and disregard for victims. Let’s look at a Sundance film about Ted Bundy as a case study: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. The film’s trailer has just come out and Netflix recently made a deal in hopes to buy it. Played by Zac Efron, Ted Bundy is portrayed as hot, charming, and romanticized as ever.

Despite his long list of victims (there are 30 that we know of), which he murdered and sexually assaulted, none are mentioned or shown in the trailer—save for a short clip of him dragging a faceless, unconscious woman accompanied to upbeat rock music.
Admiration and even cult-like following of serial killers is a disgusting, albeit an old trope. Productions should be conscious of this, and when they take on the stories of killers, they need to show the human impact. Murder is a touchy subject, and when you make a movie of it you should say the victims’ names and call the killers what they are: not sexy or dashing, but truly evil.

As true crime becomes more mainstream, the issue of romanticizing killers will inevitably become more obvious. That being said, it our job, as critical audiences and consumers of media, to remember serial killers aren’t sexy or meant to be celebrated. Serial killers display the worst in humanity and should be called out for what they indeed are: truly evil.

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