entertainment

Ross Lynch on Jeffrey Dahmer's perverse cult following: 'The fascination is with the extreme'

The 'My Friend Dahmer' star opens up about his dark new role in our Summer issue.

2018-05-25

More than 20 years after his death in prison at the age of 34, Jeffrey Dahmer remains one of the world's most notorious serial killers.

After committing his first murder at the age of just 18, the so-called ‘Milwaukee Cannibal’ went on to carry out the rape, murder, and dismemberment of 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991, often targeting vulnerable young gay men.

After a court found him to be legally sane following his arrest, Dahmer was handed 15 life sentences in 1992 - but despite his heinous acts, which often included cannibalism and necropholia, the Wisconsin-born killer attracted a perverse following from some men in the years before his own death at the hands of fellow inmates in 1994.

As well as writing to him in prison, dark, secretive 'fan clubs' dedicated to Dahmer were established, and continue to exist to this day.

Now, former Disney star Ross Lynch is portraying the imfamous murderer in a new biopic based on his teenage years, My Friend Dahmer, and the 22-year-old actor gives his take on the continued fascination with one of the most depraved killers of the 20th century.

Asked about the cult following that developed around Dahmer as his violent crimes came to light, Ross tells Attitude's Summer issue: "I think the fascination is with the extreme in general.

"If someone was to go and pick up people at a bar, take them home, and drill a fricking hole in their brain and put chemicals in it, that’s unbelievable.

Ross Lynch, shot exclusively for Attitude's Summer issue by Leigh Keily

"Still to this day I ask: 'That actually happened?'"

While Dahmer's crimes are among the most monstrous in living memory, Lynch says he was able to find humanity while filming My Friend Dahmer, which is set in the 1970s immediately before his spate of killings began.

"When I read the script, I thought that they painted him in a very empathetic way," Ross explains.

"Obviously, all the things that he did were terrible, and I want to make a point of saying that we’re not trying to glorify a serial killer at all. But there was something about the script whereby I kind of felt bad for him at the end."

He adds: "The whole question is: was he born or was he bred this way? And I kinda lean on the 'bred' a bit.

"I think that if someone could have interjected and said: 'Hey, I’m here for you,' maybe there could have been a different outcome."

Read Ross's full interview in Attitude's new Summer issue. Buy now and take advantage of our best-ever subscription offers: 3 issues for £3 in print, 13 issues for £19.99 to download to any device.