Extremely Insensitive, Shockingly Misleading and Dangerous: Exploring the Implications of Romanticizing Serial Killers in Film




Strutz, Kenady

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This dissertation explores the consequences and implications of romanticizing and sexualizing serial killers as depicted in film. It discusses various film representations of many infamous killers, media responsibility, social media repercussions and predictions, and the paraphilia characterized by sexual interests in criminals, known as hybristophilia. By exploring this phenomenon, I present hypotheticals to the reader such as, are film portrayals of serial killers accurate or oversexualized due to the film industry? Will such depictions encourage hybristophilia over time, or have they in the past? Research for this project has been gathered from primary and secondary sources. These sources include inspirations primarily from director Joe Berlinger’s Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. With influence from the 2019 award-winning film, this paper contends that the romanticization of serial killers as depicted in media is insensitive towards victims, misleading to viewers, and dangerous. Furthermore, it imposes detrimental effects on audience members' perceptions of love, tolerance of abuse and violence, and hybristophilia.



romanticizing, serial killers, Bundy, Hybristophilia, Honors College


Strutz, K. (2022). Extremely insensitive, shockingly misleading anddangerous: Exploring the implications of romanticizing serial killers in film (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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