Why do People Enjoy Watching Murder and Violence?

Why do Jeffery Dahmar and Squid Game fascinate us?



Documentaries and remakes about the life of Jeffery Dahmer take the top two spots of the most popular shows on Netflix.

Jocelyn Klinghard, Staff Writer

Why are we fascinated by serial killers like Jeffery Dahmer? Or by watching intensely violent scenes in shows like Squid Games and Breaking Bad?

Death, blood, and violence have always had the ability to pull a crowd. Psychologists believe this is due to the mix of curiosity, imagination, and excitement that these things provide.

People enjoy the feeling of danger without actually being in danger. Watching entertainment like this gives us the adrenaline rush that being in danger would give, however, the viewers know that they aren’t truly threatened so it is instead exciting and enjoyable.

While watching Squid Games viewers follow the characters as they are presented with challenges that end in life or death.

While watching Squid Games, viewers get to feel the excitement and terror that the characters are feeling while playing the mandatory games, without actually fearing being killed.

People search for this adrenaline rush in life, as well as just in what they decide to watch. Why do you think people go skydiving or bungee jumping? It is all to get that feeling of excitement and danger when you are in life-threatening situations.

Roller coasters, public speaking, taking tests, and even talking to someone who you have been crushing on are all examples of activities that will give you this adrenaline rush.

But why do we search for adrenaline rushes?

Adrenaline is a hormone that is produced when someone is nervous or stressed. This hormone causes an increased heart rate, dilates airways, more blood to flow to our muscles, and widens our pupils in order to improve vision.

The purpose of the hormone is to prepare the body for a situation where you would have to fight and, or, cause us to be more aware.

Some effects of an adrenaline rush are very noticeable.

In addition, the rush releases dopamine in the nervous system, which erases the feeling of well-being. Once the danger has passed that feeling will slowly come back.

Some more noticeable symptoms of adrenaline are shallow breathing, dizziness, increased sweating, trembling or shaking, and a pounding sensation in your heart.

While under this feeling your abilities will be enhanced as if you’re holding your own superpowers. It is common for the body to be able to be more tolerant and less sensitive to pain, as well as to gain the ability to run faster and pick up heavier objects than normal.

This feeling has become an addiction for some. Putting your body in these situations can be enjoyable for people that need this feeling.

However, surprisingly, being exposed to heavy amounts of adrenaline can actually cause serious health problems such as: digestive problems, gaining weight, sleeping disorders, headaches, depression, anxiety, memory/concentration impairments, and many other serious problems.

Psychologically we are meant to be intrigued by dangerous situations, so we search for things that will fulfill this fascination.

When you mix the feeling of danger with the rush that solving crime provides, like in the new Jeffery Dahmer series, it provides people with the perfect entertainment.

However, there is another specific reason that the Jeffery Dahmer series is becoming so popular and praised. It is due to the nostalgia and curiosity felt toward the true story of Dahmer’s gruesome crimes.

This crime story was popular back in the 90s. It seemed that it was all anyone could talk about and bubbled up fears in people that they didn’t know they had. To realize that things like what Dahmer did truly happen frightened people out of their minds.

An old newspaper from the ’90s, explaining Jeffery Dahmer’s crimes.

When people heard that this true story was being adapted into documentaries and shows it brought back memories from their childhood. Any questions they still had about Dahmer’s story from when they were younger were going to be answered and they simply could not look away.

As well as being nostalgic and confused about what happened, people will watch shows like this in order to relieve the anxiety and fear that they have from hearing the stories on the news.

After inevitably hearing about Jeffery Dahmer, people will grow anxious that they don’t know the full story of what happened. They think that knowing the backstory and all the facts will eliminate some of that fear and provide a sense of safety.

Imagine you hear about a murderer in your town, you’ve heard the number of people they’ve killed, but you don’t know how or where these dangers started. Wouldn’t you want to know all the facts?

Now, this tactic might not always work out the way everyone thinks it will. Looking into the full story can make the fears you have multiply and create an obsession with learning the whole story.

However, by knowing the facts we might be able to keep ourselves out of dangerous situations and discover that the people doing these disturbing things are no longer alive or are securely locked up.

Along with trying to learn the facts, people also watch these documentaries attempting to find differences between themselves and the victims of the crimes.

Unfortunately, we try to point out things that the victims “did wrong” that we think we would never do, so we convince ourselves not to be afraid and that the victim is partly to blame. “Well they shouldn’t have been out that late walking in the dark, I would never do that.” This makes us believe that if we just stay away from doing things that the victims did we’ll be safe.

It is a messed up tactic because the victims of these crimes are in no way to blame; however, we all do it simply for the reason to comfort ourselves in times of fear.

As you can see people don’t just watch violent films and shows because they are cold-hearted, but because of the excitement, curiosity, and security they provide.