5 Things to Know About the ‘My Friend Dahmer’ Movie Adaptation

Posted on October 26, 2017 by
Based on John “Derf” Backderf’s 2012 graphic novel of the same name, the new My Friend Dahmer movie chronicles the life of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer during his high school years in the late 1970s. Since its premiere at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, the film has been building serious buzz, with critics calling it “authentic enough to get under your skin” and “truly haunting.” With its mainstream release on November 3, the My Friend Dahmer movie is sure to leave you with goosebumps. Here’s everything you need to know about this creepy adaptation before you head to the theaters.


1. Author Backderf actually knew Dahmer in high school.

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The most incredible part of My Friend Dahmer is that it was written by someone who was actually friends with Dahmer. Backderf attended high school with Dahmer and was part of his friend circle, witnessing his drinking and odd behavior, but not realizing at the time what it actually meant. Although he fell out of touch with Dahmer, who was ultimately convicted of raping and murdering 17 boys and men between 1978 and 1991, what Backderf observed formed the basis of this graphic novel.


2. The story focuses on Dahmer’s troubled youth.

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Adapted and directed by Marc Meyers, the film focuses on Dahmer’s senior year of high school and culminates before his first known murder, which happened two weeks after his high school graduation in 1978. Although unsettling, the film takes an empathetic look at Dahmer’s troubled mental state, including the effect his parents’ failing marriage had on his childhood. In an interview with Cleveland.com, Backderf spoke out about the adaptation and its appeal to audiences:

“It’s a story that resonates with people. Way back when this first began, I told Marc Meyers, ‘Don’t get cute, just let the story do the work.’ He did, and the result is an outstanding film.”


3. The film stars a former Disney Channel star.

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One of the most surprising things about the My Friend Dahmer movie is the casting of teen heartthrob Ross Lynch as the famed serial killer. Lynch, who rose to fame on the Disney Channel original series Austin & Ally, is best known for playing kid-friendly roles. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Backdorf said he enjoyed seeing the media’s reaction to this casting, adding:

“I think you’re not going to be able to see the teen heartthrob in this role. It [will be] a lot like the book, where you go into it expecting a certain thing and you get to the end and it’s something completely different. It’s not a slasher film — it’s a very melancholy tale full of regret and remorse that shows this young kid spiraling into madness.”


4. The supporting cast features several standouts.

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In addition to Ross, the My Friend Dahmer movie also features an all-star supporting cast. Vincent Kartheiser from Mad Men stars as Dahmer’s doctor, and Anne Heche appears as Dahmer’s mother, Joyce. Former Walking Dead star Dallas Roberts appears as Dahmer’s father, Lionel.


5. The latest trailer is incredibly creepy.

In this unnerving trailer for the film, Dahmer is depicted as an awkward outsider with a troubled home life who is embraced by Backderf and other high schoolers because of his outrageous antics. At the same time, he’s seen binge-drinking, collecting road kill, murdering animals, and having a fetishistic attachment to bones — all of which foreshadow Dahmer’s later crimes but go unnoticed by many of those around him.


Are you planning to watch My Friend Dahmer? Tell us in the comments!


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