By Jay A. Fernandez | Indiewire August 8, 2012 at 4:24PM
Here’s something to chew on.
IFC Midnight has acquired all North American and UK rights to Chris James Thompson's documentary “The Jeffrey Dahmer Files,” which had its world premiere in competition at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival (where it screened with the title "Jeff"). The specialty distributor plans an early 2013 release for the project, which investigates the life and madness of the infamous serial killer through interviews with the people of Milwaukee who knew or came into contact with Dahmer before and after his 1991 arrest.
Andrew Swant and Joe Riepenhoff wrote the screenplay with Thompson, who also produced along with Jack Turner. Chris Smith and Barry Poltermann are executive producers.
“Chris James Thompson has made one of the creepiest documentaries of the year that lingers in the mind long after the film has ended,” said Sundance Selects/IFC Films president Jonathan Sehring. “He's approached the well-known subject of Jeffrey Dahmer in a new and inventive way that managed to completely unnerve us. It also promises you will never eat a sandwich quite the same way.”
If you have a perverse fascination with serial killers (as I do), these kinds of raw documentaries can be tantalizing. Dahmer’s predilections and methods are horrifying, and I once lost an entire afternoon to reading the blow-by-blow (sorry) of his sordid crazyshow on what used to be Court TV’s website, which houses a detailed catalog of all of the world’s worst real-life bogeymen. (Whatever you think Dahmer did, trust me: it’s actually worse. You can head down the rabbit hole of horror here, but know going in that it’s not safe for work -- or your sanity.) If you’re looking for the fictionalized version, you can also check out one of Jeremy Renner’s earliest film roles as the notorious cannibal in David Jacobson’s 2002 treatment “Dahmer.”
Thompson himself seems to believe we should all give Dahmer a closer look: "I couldn't be more proud of this film and everyone from Milwaukee to Bombay that helped mold it from a four-year meandering experiment into the fresh cinematic oddity it is today,” he said of “The Jeffrey Dahmer Files.” “The world needs to see it!"
Sundance Selects/IFC Films acquisitions exec Arianna Bocco negotiated the deal with Josh Braun of Submarine Entertainment on behalf of the filmmakers.
A sister label of IFC Films and Sundance Selects, IFC Midnight has released “The Human Centipede (First Sequence),” “Vengeance” and “Super,” among many other films. Brandon Cronenberg’s Cannes premiere “Antiviral” is forthcoming.