Serial killers, why can’t we get enough of them?

Society has always been captivated by deviations from the norm, even if these differences are murderous villains who prey on the innocent. In a sense…

Society has always been captivated by deviations from the norm, even if these differences are murderous villains who prey on the innocent. In a sense they provide a break from the cycle of monotony that everyday life tends to hold people in. Whilst routinely flicking through Netflix, I stumbled upon an exclusive series dubbed The Ted Bundy tapes.

I already had some background knowledge through previous documentaries, though it was still interesting to understand how and why the killer carried out such actions. It was also interesting to me as to why I thoroughly enjoyed the special when I should have been utterly repulsed. The morbid fascination goes beyond me, in fact it is embedded in the fabric of Western society. There are tours through Whitechapel London dedicated to Jack the Ripper’s 11 victims in the late 1800s. TV interviews such as Richard Kuklinski’s HBO special Iceman confessions of a mafia hitman. Even movies with the 40-year-old Movie Franchise Halloween, with its latest instalment in October 2018.

Famous serial killer Ted Bundy   Source : The Denver post

In one view humans are naturally inquisitive. People yearn to understand things which differ from the social norms or conventions we abide by. Single murders are complex and uncommon in the everyday life of an average citizen, they draw much attention and elicit emotional responses. Juxtaposed to multiple murders, it is clear to see why they are serial killers are almost revered (I repeat almost). Serial killers such as Ted Bundy provoke deep thought as they appear just like one of us but hide deep dark secrets and desires. These people reflect what the worst of what society produces, but also reminds us that these people exist around us which remains a chilling thought.

Another view develops the idea of emotional responses. Death appeals to our basic instinct of survival, The number one goal of a human on a psychological level. Perhaps people have a natural obsession with the macabre and carnage. Like the way large crowds tend to gather when a fatal accident occurs. Unlike car accidents though serial killings are intentional, which is just that bit more unnerving. Serial killers are thrilling like the way roller coasters are. Both give you an adrenaline rush, difference is one is legal and the other isn’t.

There is an argument that such individuals should not have any spotlight placed upon them. Broadcasting these heinous acts reduces the victims to mere statistics, with less significance placed on the lives that were cut short by no fault of their own. Instead killers such as Ted Bundy are turned into public figures of fascination. A clear example would be Issei Sagawa, though not a serial killer he became famous after murdering a fellow university student and then eating parts of her corpse in Paris 1981. Since then he has benefited from movies, TV shows and documentaries off the back of a crime so sadistic.  Perhaps shows like those mentioned reflect our own desire for a spectacle, regardless of morality.


By: Temi Adedeji


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