With “Dahmer – Monster: The Story of Jeffrey Dahmer” Netflix has once again proven that the streaming service is always good for a real surprise hit. That’s not to say that it wasn’t clear from the outset that Ryan Murphy’s true crime format had some serious hit potential. The fact that “Dahmer” shoots through the roof like this, collects record after record and is still one of the most discussed series of the year, was not foreseeable in this form.
But since “Dahmer” is a mini-series, fans shouldn’t hope for a second season. The chronicle of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer (Evan Peters) is complete and definitely told, the first season made sure of that and covered all perspectives (victims, perpetrators, authorities, cult by fans) as far as possible. Still, it seems like episode 8 of the series already gives a hint of what Ryan Murphy and his team might be into next.
It’s not a big spoiler if you haven’t started “Dahmer” yet or are just beginning the series: In episode 8 there is a short narrative detour that does not focus on Jeffrey Dahmer, but on Edward “Ed” Gein. The serial killer and corpse molester credited with the roles of Leatherface in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films, Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs and Norman Bates in Psycho“ functions is brought into focus in a sequence lasting several minutes.
In episode 8, the police finally managed to catch Jeffrey Dahmer after doing a little more digging around his apartment. His father Lionel (Richard Jenkins) and his lawyer try to give Jeffrey the advice in a conversation that he should plead insanity at his conviction. In other words, Jeffrey is supposed to fool the judge into thinking he’s crazy. This would give the killer of 17 people the opportunity to spend the rest of his life in a mental institution rather than in prison. And that’s where Ed Gein comes in.
Lionel tells his son about the case – and we as viewers are also familiarized with the horrific case in an atmospheric cutscene: After the death of his mother, Gein killed a 51-year-old innkeeper in 1954, to whom he was a kind of mother-son relationship had built. Since she was flirting with other men in Gein’s presence, the then 39-year-old was forced to kill the woman and keep her body in his home.
Three years later, Ed Gein committed the next murder. His victim: Bernice Worden, who – allegedly – had stolen her husband from another woman, who is said to have then committed suicide. Gein shot the 58-year-old. A few days later, the police found the woman’s body on his farm – decapitated, disembowelled and hanging from the ceiling like a piece of deer in the shed.
When police searched Gein’s property, they found numerous remains of various bodies (at least 15) which Gein had obtained through body-stealing from the local cemetery. Gein had used female corpses exclusively, making suits such as masks from human skin, boxes from female genitals, and bowls from skulls.
Since Gein was found not guilty, he was committed to the Medota Mental Health Institute in Wisconsin. In November 1968 there was a new assessment, which declared Gein to be guilty but also insane. He was then referred back to the medical facility, where he died on July 26, 1984 of complications from lung failure.
First off, nothing has been remotely hinted at by Ryan Murphy or Netflix in that regard. Instead, only speculations should be expressed here, which were kind of fueled by episode 8 of “Dahmer”. Because it seems quite logical if Ryan Murphy would take on the serial killer Ed Gein in his own series. Not only because, in contrast to Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson or Ted Bundy, Gein seems almost fresh. Gein’s life story once again gives the opportunity to stage an incredibly gripping horror drama.
While “Dahmer – Monster” focused primarily on the relationship between father and son in relation to Jeffrey Dahmer’s family situation, Ryan Murphy could shed light on a new inner-family dynamic in the case of Ed Gein. The close to pathological relationship between Ed Gein and his mother again reveals a lot of tension, which confronts the viewer under completely different circumstances with the question of who is to blame for Gein being able to do such things.
Since Ryan Murphy is already heavily involved with true crime and has a particularly strong penchant for horror material, it would not be a surprise if in the near future the announcement made the rounds that he was working on a series about Ed Gein. Whether that will actually be the case remains to be seen. Before that, on October 13, we can expect “The Watcher’ his new series on Netflix, which is again based on a true story. You can watch the trailer here: