Are there any people in the world who are, without reason, born, absolutely evil? The American drama “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” is raising such a question. Looking at the whole story, “Monster” has been asking questions, throwing one question after another, not only for the protagonist of the story, Dahmer himself, but also spreading the questions, one after another like ripples spreading to one field after another—the social , economics, race, family, psychology, law, religion, and those unknowable things, and until the end of the story, all of these things still have no answers, only leaving people with deeper doubts, confusion and bewilderment .
In terms of genre, “Monster” is actually a biopic, focusing on the life of Jeffrey Dahmer, one of the most notorious serial killers and ogres in American history. The most restrained narrative is scarier than any fictional crime story. Carl Franklin, one of the directors, once directed the second season of “Mindhunter”, which is also a story about serial killers, so “Monster” and “Mindhunter” have very similar temperaments, gloomy, moist, dignified, slow, Like a piece of doom metal that goes back and forth and loops endlessly, like a long and lingering nightmare with no exit.
Stories about blood and death could have been handled in an extremely dramatic way, but “Monster” deliberately chose a “dull” way of telling, which is a restoration of real events and a tribute to the dead, and this calmness purifies And extracting the essence of cruelty, those killings happened silently, and were silently covered up, giving off some suspicious smells, slowly dissipating in the world, leaving behind sad families one by one.
Most of Dahmer’s victims were ethnic minorities, blacks, Asians, recent immigrants, and sexual minorities, which led to the first question that this killing was triggered by prejudice based on race and sexual orientation ? It does not seem to be the case, judging from his confession and evidence chain, he has no prejudice. The reason why he chose those people was because he wanted to be close, or just as he said, he could only live in those communities, surrounded by only those people. No one knows whether this is an excuse or the truth, it has become an eternal question in motivation.
But also doubtful is the influence from the family of origin. This is an indispensable dimension when studying the motives of serial killers. Dahmer has a pair of discordant parents. His mother is anxious and irritable, and his father is helpless and weak. The camera stares at his childhood for a long time, but can’t detect more weirdness. He has been inexplicably interested in dead animals since he was a child, but what does this mean? Freud’s psychoanalysis has fallen from the altar, and the academic circle has long since ceased to believe that childhood pranks of killing insects and small animals, sad memories of parents’ divorce, and bed-wetting can lead to a person becoming a serial killer in the future. Crazy hypothesis. Some children who are interested in animal anatomy have precedents for becoming surgeons in the future, and the vast majority of children from single-parent families are also normal, so how can it be said that all these lead to a person’s distortion? So, again, this is a huge, unresolved question. Dahmer’s eccentricity seems to be uncorrectable. His father tried his best to help him find a university and sent him to join the army, but almost all failed. Social education has completely failed. Can it be concluded that some people are inherently uneducable? Can anyone give a definite answer to this question?
If we say that the motives and root causes of those crimes that cannot be definitively answered are spiritual and endogenous, then there are also a series of social and external reasons that “connive” and “maintain” Dahmer’s crimes. It’s almost certain.
Damo was sent to live in his grandma’s house. The old man actually saw his grandson’s strange behavior and smelled the strange smell from the hidden corpse in the house. Damo’s father was also called to check the source of the strange smell. Judging from the behavior, the family members should have suspected that Dahmer had done terrible things, but they never got to the bottom of it. It was fear and avoidance that made them finally choose to turn a blind eye. And when he lived alone completely, the neighbors called the police again and again because of the strange movement next door and the smell coming from the vent, but the police ignored him. In such a black neighborhood, a low-level public rental housing, the inertia of prejudice, the laxity of the police and the indifference of the system connived Dahmer.
If human beings are regarded as a kind of creation—whether it is a creation created by God or an evolutionary creation, they have to face the mistakes and omissions in it, then what is the error tolerance rate, and what is the scope of error that can be tolerated? That’s where the unknowables come in. After Damo was arrested, he once asked for death, but the state abolished the death penalty. After being imprisoned for life, he claimed to convert. The ambiguous look in the pastor’s eyes betrayed him. God loves the world, but can ogres be accepted? Where is the boundary where a person is defined as a person? Was he really purified when he came out of the pool of baptism? Dahmer eventually died at the hands of another prisoner who claimed to have been inspired by God to kill him. Is this an act of justice or evil? Is it sacred or profane?
There are many similar unanswered questions. After Dahmer was arrested, he became an evil “star”. Some people sent him money to the prison for his signature, and some people made him the protagonist of horror comics, which made him happy and broke the hearts of the victims’ families. Where is the boundary between liberty and punishing evil and promoting good? What are the psychological motivations of fans of serial killers? Out of curiosity or rebellion? Or is it the desire to destroy and kill buried deep in the human heart? What should we think of this group of fans? After being favored by the entertainment industry, the theme of serial killers has been completely gamified, and the protagonists are endowed with a “charm aura”. Is this kind of portrayal moral? This torture also applies to the American drama itself. After “Monster” was launched, the family members of the victims of the year have raised questions. So, is the restatement of the case an effort to explore the truth or a carnival of human blood?
Yes, this story raises too many unanswered questions. The most embarrassing thing is the state of one of the victims when he met Dahmer. That sunny, enterprising, active deaf-mute, he never complained about his difficult situation, that kind of high-spirited and self-confidence almost infected Da Mo, the devil who had never been influenced, became soft and hesitant, although in the end he still moved He picked up the butcher knife, but his hesitation itself is almost a kind of proof, proving the survival of humanity, proving that he still knows the difference between good and evil, proving that he may still have the possibility of being redeemed. Of course, this may just be the wishful thinking of others.
The building where Damo lived was demolished, but the memory remains in people’s minds. Should those cruelties be forgotten or remembered? For the families of the victims, remembering is torture, and Dahmer’s neighbor who insisted on calling the police feels that remembering is a trial, a trial of Dahmer, a trial of the indifferent police, and a trial of historical and current injustices against ethnic minorities.
The motivation of serial killers has always been a mystery. Some people think that the invention of the highway network supported them; some people think that the brutality of the Vietnam War affected them; Flooding led them; others believe that the capitalist system nurtured them… But until now, this has remained a mystery. We can only understand and analyze killings based on motives in the mundane sense—for money or for affection. But if torture and killing are incorporated into pleasure, enjoyment, or some kind of uncontrollable desire system, all this will become blurred, and even shake the self-righteous civilization of human beings, making all self-promotion seem pale and powerless. Whether this is the damage of a certain gene fragment in the history of evolution, or God’s joke or deliberate creation, or whether this is just a proof that human beings have not surpassed other species at all, is unknown.
In “Monster,” the judge who opposed the university’s study of Dahmer’s brain said it opposed the motion because the causes of serial killers are so complex that simple generalizations would create deeper disasters. Yes, but people still want to know the answer, even if there may never be an answer, only in the process of seeking again and again, they fall into puzzlement again and again. This is the fate when human beings have to look seriously at themselves.