True Crime and Fiction

do not cross police barricade tape close-up photography

In April, I read Behind the Horror, True Stories that Inspired Horror Movies by Dr. Lee Mellor and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. Especially since one of my favorite scary movies (The Nightmare on Elm Street) was included among the stories.

When thinking about taking inspiration from true crime, I wonder about the dramatisation of criminal behaviour. For example, the Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer TV series on Netflix. At what point is it too far? There was a lot of backlash for the show from the families of the victims. But does fictionalising the actions make it okay?

Take The Silence of the Lambs as an example. The crimes on Hannibal Lector and Buffalo Bill were based of true events. If the scenario is changed and morphed and put under the scope of fiction, does it no longer harm the victim’s of the true events?

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this train of thought. But I am halfway inspired to look into criminal activity to include in my books. And then I’m halfway thrown off by the idea.

What are your thoughts? At what point do you think it is harmful to bring true crime into entertainment? Even though I know there is a market for true crime specifically, I’m not sure if I’d feel comfortable shining another light on a situation by putting it into a story. But you never know.