Why is everyone so obsessed with true crime?


There is just something about this generation and their enchantment towards true crime that has people wondering “why?” Photo credit: Aydan Azzara

Aydan Azzara, Staff Writer

Just like your typical superhero movie produced by Marvel or DC, there is good and there is evil. This is a common theme most young adults take interest in and when people watch true crime, it fulfills that comfort theme that happens in most shows, movies, and books.

When people watch movies like Iron Man or Captain America, they see a movie filled with “magic” with occurrences that are obviously fake and won’t happen in real life. When someone is watching true crime, these scenarios are real and the viewer is on the edge of their seat because they yearn for the resolution to the story.

Humans are drawn to movies and tv shows that can give them insight on their life. People like to relate their lives to stories they see on the screen, so when they watch true crime, this gives them examples of how something could play out.

There are tons of people who have severe fears of things like being kidnapped for instance and watching these shows or movies in the comfort of your own home may help with these types of anxieties.

According to uwmedicine.org, “Normally, we experience emotions like sadness or anger in real-world situations that are much more serious and negatively impact us. Engaging with those emotions in a safe, contained and chosen environment — like on your couch — can be therapeutic for some people.”

Developing a liking to true crime is nothing to be concerned about because almost everyone can get engulfed in the plot when watching or reading about these stories. They want to see the end result of an issue. However, there are some instances when an addiction to true crime can get concerning.

With the influx of true crime tv shows on large streaming platforms such as “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” on Netflix, many young adults are continuously being drawn to these shows developing crushes and emotional connections to the main characters that are portraying these murderers.

The reason for this is the need for commotion and talk around the show, so hiring attractive, young actors, like Evan Peters who plays Jeffrey Dahmer, gets the younger audience who already is attracted to Peters involved.

They then watch the show for him and disconnect the actor from the actual person he is portraying.

This is a tricky issue because these shows are meant to show the horrible crimes these people committed in real life, but Netflix has no control over who their audience falls in love with.

While watching shows and movies where it’s complete fantasy, you may see yourself taking a liking to a character who may have killed someone, but we excuse it because it’s not real. People have the mentality that it is okay to excuse murder for their favorite characters in fantasy books, shows, and movies.

Sometimes this mentality carries over to when they are watching true crime. People need to remember this is a serious matter that should not be excused due to a liking towards a character.

Although this seems crazy, this has happened many times.

Richard Ramirez, whose most known as the Night Stalker, had many women develop an attraction towards him because of his appearance. With his high cheekbones and sharp jawline, people from all sorts couldn’t see the wrong in his actions. He even had fans who would show up to his sentencing hearings.

According to an article named “Why Do Killers Like The ‘Night Stalker’ And Ted Bundy Attract So Many Fangirls?” written by Gina Tron from Oxygen.com, the Los Angeles Times noted that there was a woman at the 1989 hearing that smiled and waved to Ramirez and he smiled and waved back.

The article quotes Tony Valdez, a KTTV reporter who is featured in the Night Stalker Netflix docuseries, “In all my years of covering trials in Los Angeles, I never saw a defendant with more sex appeal than Richard Ramirez.”

Being obsessed with true crime is normal to a certain point until you start idolizing and falling in love with the criminals, because evil is fascinating. Just like all of the other genres people are drawn to, true crime fills a void for people who seek thrill and the unexpected.

But this satisfaction can turn into an unhealthy obsession that can not only affect individuals but society as a whole.