28 October 2011

Movie Review: Dahmer

I did not watch this movie when it first came out. And I watched it on an impulse. I don't recall having such a nauseating experience of a movie in such a long time. One particularly gruesome scene, in which I averted my eyes and muted the sound was when Dahmer drills a hole into the head of the actor playing Konerak Sinthasomphone, the 14 year old Laotian victim of Dahmer (played by Dion Basco, one of the very handsome and talented Fil-Am Basco brothers of California).

It doesn't matter how many times the story of Konerak Sinthasomphone has been told or even nervously joked about by American comedians when Dahmer was caught. A psychopath drugging a 14 year old boy unconscious, raping him and drilling a small hole into the side of his head while he's still alive, but unconscious, is just too much to stomach. And this scene occurs in the first ten or so minutes of the movie so it was like a cinematic punch.

The only thing that was more disturbing was when the Konerak character made his escape. Knowing the outline of the story of Dahmer from when he was caught, it was the longest sequence of the film, for me.

You see, Jeffrey Dahmer, was an American serial killer, who would drug his victims, rape them, drill holes in their heads, kill them, decapitate them, eat parts of the them, refrigerate other parts of them and chemically dissolve other parts. His victims were all men (and most gay).

Konerak Sinthasomphone's death was so tragic that twenty years later I remembered it and was haunted by it. You see, a few years before he ensnared Konerak, he was convicted of molesting Konerak's younger brother. Konerak was Laotian.

In the early morning hours of May 27, 1991, three police officers responded to a 911 call from a rundown Milwaukee, Wisconsin suburb. Two 18 year old Black women witnessed an incoherent Asian boy running around naked and bleeding from the head and rectum. He could not speak English but in his incoherence demonstrated obvious fright at Dahmer who was 31. Dahmer told the police that Konerak was his 19 year old gay lover -- Konerak was 14. And that they had a lover's quarrel. The police returned the two to Dahmer's apartment. The police officer subsequently reported back to the 911 dispatcher "Intoxicated Asian, naked male was returned to his sober boyfriend" then added that his partner was "going to get deloused."

Konerak Sinthasomphone (1976-1991)

The police made no effort to identify Konerak to learn that he was a child. The two women followed up with the police later and were told that everything had been taken care of. Although Dahmer had already drilled a hole into Konerak's head. He would subsequently strangle him to death, rape and abuse his body then dismember it and keep his head as a trophy. He would then rape and kill four more young gay men.

Had the police identified Konerak and Dahmer, they would have either discovered that Konerak was 14 or Dahmer was still on court probation for molesting Konerak's younger brother. But they didn't.

This movie is not for the faint of heart and is a true horror film -- even if its true and I knew how it would end. This movie and reflection on it will leave you with questions about evil in this world -- this ought to be even more challenging if you believe in a personal, benevolent and omnipotent god. I previously wrote about Ladlad's push for hate crimes inquiry and legislation. I think the story of Konerak shows us what is lacking in hate crimes legislation. It is police training and proper investigation and enforcement of the law as it is written that is needed most. Until the rule of law is present, there is no justice.


  1. I did not know about this . I tried to search about this on google, I cant stomach all the photos.

  2. I remember reading about Dahmer (please don't judge me) after hearing his name referenced in a Ke$ha song. I think it's terrible. Why would they even make a movie out of it?

  3. the victims families did protest this version of the film. i think three or four films were made. and this was, by far, the most overtly sexual and graphic (from what i've read).