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MY FRIEND DAHMER Goes To Hollywood
Good news for Derf Backderf from San Diego Comic-Con: his autobiographical comic My Friend Dahmer has been optioned for a film adaptation. So even if there never is a movie made of this fine graphic novel, Backderf stands to see a pretty nice paycheck coming his way, and it always warms our hearts to see artists getting paid and paid well.
According to the article by The Hollywood Reporter, the producers are not looking to make a crass horror movie based upon the life and times of serial-killer/cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer, with whom Backderf attended high school. Rather, they seek to attain the same level of unflinching and disturbing coming-of-age story that Backderf brought to us in the book (which you should buy right now, if you haven’t already). Given their pedigree of more indie projects, these producers strike me as knowing what they’re doing.
At least, I certainly hope so. Serial-killer culture has always made me a little uneasy, even if I devoured the spate of books and made-for-TV movies that has defined America’s fairly gross obsession with serial killers. I think that last book I read was I: The Creation of a Serial Killer by Jack Olsen, all about the Happy Face Killer. I actually read that for a college class, and about halfway through, I said this was gonna be it for me, thanks. When you’re a teenager, being fascinated by John Wayne Gacy is almost cute; if you’re still fascinated by that sorta thing in your 30s, it’s no wonder your neighbors don’t talk to you much.
My Friend Dahmer, however, never dips into any sorta exploitative story-telling at all. Derf straddles the line between sympathy for his former friend and complete condemnation for what he did. He shows us exactly how Dahmer became the monster he was, while still holding Jeff responsible for his actions. I can’t imagine anyone who wasn’t as close to this story as Derf being able to handle the story as sensitively. So here’s hoping the film adaptation holds to this same level of quality.