The Weird New Craze: Serial Killer Fiction


If you haven’t jumped on the “Dexter” or “The Following” bandwagons then you probably know somebody who has. The same goes for countless numbers of novels, such as the series of James Patterson.

These shows and books might not be your cup of tea – or maybe they are – and you’re confused as to why people (or yourself) are so obsessed with them. We aren’t murderous, so why are so we so fascinated by them?

“People think it’s interesting,” says Greg Prescop, a sophomore psychology major. “They’re afraid of what they can’t control. The stigma is sort of mystical – people want to get into what seems like a fantasy world, although it mimics real life.”

Prescop says a very important factor to America’s obsession is that most of the time, serial killers aren’t depicted correctly. The writers will essentially misdiagnose a character or give them a disease, but add symptoms that don’t exist.

“They misrepresent psychology really badly in the media,” Prescop says.

Although psychology can be horribly misrepresented, sometimes the shows can get them right. For example, in “Dexter”, the titular character has a traumatic childhood experience that turns him into a killer, which Prescop says is likely.

For a show that is not only psychology correct but takes place from the point of view from a chilling serial killer, why is America obsessed with it?

“People love drama,” Prescop says. “They love things that can help them escape their mundane lives, like “Dexter” or even “Jersey Shore”. It’s an escape from reality to watch this stuff.”

That explanation puts us at ease. Of course, too much of anything can be bad, but when you sit down in front of the tube to watch a serial killer, just remember a key element – you aren’t crazy.

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