The trailer of “Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” (2022)
Despite his angel face, Evan Peters has grown used to interpret serial killers. Acclaimed by director and producer Ryan Murphy, to whom we owe the series Glee (2009), Hollywood (2020) and Pose (2018), the 35-year-old American actor has established himself as a recurring protagonist in the director’s horrific masterpiece American Horror Story (2011). In the series, which includes ten seasons plus a spin-off, Evan Peters appears several times and surprises the audience with the extent of his talent, each time playing the roles of different disturbed characters.
Yet in 2018, the actor told the American magazine GQ that playing the role of monsters was not an easy task for him. “It’s been all a massive stretch for me and really difficult to do. It’s hurting my soul and Evan as a person.” Therefore, actress Emma Roberts’ ex-fiancé has to force himself every time to play Machiavellian male characters. As the series Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is a huge success, in which the actor stars as the creepy serial killer, here is an overview of three of his remarkable performances in psychopathic roles.
1.A troubled sociopath in “American Horror Story: Murder House” (2011) by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk
From the very first season of the series American Horror Story entitled Murder House (2011), director Ryan Murphy unveils a fascinating dark world with a baroque aesthetic. Inspired by American horror stories, the plot of Murder House focuses on a family moving to a Victorian- style mansion in Los Angeles. After the father’s adultery, the latter goes to live with his wife Vivian and their daughter Violet in a house that has been the witness of numerous killings. The dark and suicidal Violet then meets her male doppelgänger Tate Langdon, the character played by Evan Peters, and the two lost souls have a tortuous and passionate love affair.
“I kill people I like, it’s a really filthy world we live in”. These words pronounced by Tate Langdon (Evan Peters) during his first therapy session with Violet’s father immediately set the tension that resides in the teenager – between naive idealism and deep disgust for the human race. Intrinsically troubled and very sensitive, the young man suffers from a personality disorder. This type of characters with a complex psychology allows Evan Peters to reveal the full extent of his talent, oscillating between scenes showing his vulnerability or his extreme violence. In bits and pieces, Tate Langdon’s heavy past is uncovered as the episodes unfold. The scene preceding the slaughter he is responsible for, in which he wanders wearing a skeleton make-up through the corridors of the high school to the sound of Twisted Nerve – the theme song of Quentin Tarantino’s film Kill Bill (2003) – remains engraved in our memory.
2. A charismatic cult leader in “American Horror Story: Cult” (2018) by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk
After having a whole series of lead roles in several seasons of American Horror Story, starring alongside Jessica Lange, Lady Gaga, or Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters impresses us in Cult, the seventh season of the show. He plays Kai Anderson, an impulsive character driven by extreme right-wing ideas and a desire to take power in the town of Brookfield Heights, California. Gradually, the leader turns into a cult guru followed by many members, including his sister, Winter, with whom he has a toxic, intensely close relationship. Throughout the season, the seductive and neurotic character played by Evan Peters exerts a growing control over his relatives, until everything explodes.
In Cult, the actor delivers an impressive performance, bringing complexity to the character of Kai and showing the mechanisms of manipulation specific to a cult indoctrination. To achieve such accuracy, the actor has done a lot of research. He has read numerous testimonies and has even listened to the soundtrack of the 1978 Jonestown mass suicide to prepare one of the final scenes. After this grueling performance, Evan Peters has eventually taken a two-year break from American Horror Story. In addition to this extremely intense role, the actor has metamorphosed into many other cult leaders for the series. Taking mimicry to the extreme, he played the roles of the cult leader of the Manson Family, artist and Factory leader Andy Warhol, Davidian leader David Koresh and guru Jim Jones with uncanny resemblance.
3. A terrifying serial killer in “Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” (2022) by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan
Two weeks after its release, the long- awaited series Monster: A Jeffrey Dahmer Story with Evan Peters and Ryan Murphy reunited has reached over 300 million views. This phenomenal start propelled the series into the top 10 most viewed shows on the platform. Judging from Evan Peters’ stunning performance as Jeffrey Dahmer, also known as the “Milwaukee Cannibal”, a serial killer who existed and killed seventeen young men, this success is no accident. The actor was able to find the right tone to play this terrifying character, after he collected a huge amount of data from biographies, interviews, police reports, and psychological analyses. Thanks to his immersion into the archives of the creepy Dahmer case, Evan Peters has succeeded in embodying the character, going so far as to imitating his linear phrasing and mimicking with a disturbing resemblance.
The role of Jeffrey Dahmer, a shy man who led a double life as a murderer, was very demanding for the actor. Diving into the dark psyche of a murderer had some consequences. Although the series is a real success, it is also strongly criticized for its “humanization” of the serial killer. Despite a plot that deliberately does not allow access to Dahmer’s thoughts, Evan Peters’ powerful performance succeeds in offering an early understanding of his actions, to the point of overriding director Ryan Murphy’s initial wishes. While this bias is open to debate, there is no doubt regarding the actor’s raw talent.
Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (2022) by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, available on Netflix.