“Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” is the latest crime sensation from Netflix. True crime is all the rage, so it’s no surprise that creators are drawing on some of the world’s most notorious killers to create gruesome stories.
Developed by “Glee” and “American Horror Story” director Ryan Murphy and frequent collaborator Ian Brennan, the series follows infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.
While there are dozens of projects based on Dahmer’s life, “Monster” stands out because the killer’s story is told from the point of view of his victims, providing a rare glimpse into their lives.
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Evan Peters, who has worked with Murphy on several seasons of “American Horror Story,” stars as the titular Monster, making him the second Marvel veteran to play Dahmer. Peters is joined by a stellar cast, including Richard Jenkins, Michael Learned, and Molly Ringwald, all of whom appear as Dahmer’s family members.
This intimate look into Dahmer’s environment extends to people outside his family as well. In “Monster,” Glenda Cleveland (Niecy Nash) is a prominent character who plays a key role in Dahmer’s arrest.
While the broad strokes of Dahmer’s life and deeds are common knowledge, it’s hard to recall projects and stories that highlight Cleveland’s heroic efforts.
“I’ve watched many #JeffreyDahmer documentaries over the years and not once has his ‘neighbor’ been mentioned,” Twitter user @glennjo_ wrote. “#GlendaCleveland was such a central part of this story and her story is MESMERIZING.” Given the curiosity surrounding the real-life character, Nash has shed light on her role and the ridicule she faced when she took Dahmer to court.
Glenda Cleveland was the real-life neighbor of Jeffrey Dahmer who suspected he was up to no good. Despite her efforts, authorities dismissed her claims.
“Glenda was also one of his victims. And her story has been told the least,” Niecy Nash said candidly in an interview with Netflix. Cleveland reported the foul odors coming from Dahmer’s apartment to her landlord, but her concerns were brushed aside because of Dahmer’s reputation.
She later began calling the police. Perhaps one of the most important scenes in “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” is the scene where Cleveland encounters teenager Konerak Sinthasomphone (played by Kieran Tamondong) stumbling out of Dahmer’s apartment.
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Concerned police arrive and question Dahmer, who charms his way out of the situation, leaving Cleveland helpless (via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Sinthasomphone would become his 13th victim.
Had police given Cleveland a fair hearing, five of Dahmer’s 17 victims could have been saved. Nash strongly believes Cleveland deserves more respect for her efforts to bring Dahmer to justice since her suspicions laid the groundwork for the case against him. “She deserves a lot more than a cheesy little plaque on the floor of a society building somewhere.
She deserved a lot more than the police stepping in front of her and saying, ‘Look what we did. Look what we tried to do,'” Nash said. Cleveland continued to live in the same neighborhood until 2009 and eventually died in 2010, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.