Experts lift lid on the reasons our nation is obsessed with true crime stories

Article by Adela Whittingham /
Daily Star /
January 5, 2020 /
Click here to view original /

Heart-throb Zac Efron stands in a small room, removing a white shirt and trousers to reveal a rippling six pack.

This isn’t a scene from a new rom-com, but from the High School Musical hunk’s Netflix biopic Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.

It follows the story of US serial killer Ted Bundy, who confessed to murdering 30 women and girls in the 70s, through the eyes of his girlfriend Liz Kendall, played by Lily Collins.

Since the beginning of civilisation we have been hooked on the gruesome, even going as far as attending public executions.

Dr Lauren Rosewarne, of the University of Melbourne, said: “These are disproportionately young people who weren’t even born at the time of Ted Bundy’s death.

“To them, Ted Bundy is associated with Zac Efron. Earlier generations have similarly turned criminals like Ned Kelly or Jack the Ripper into fiction. In doing so, these criminals become less real.”

Dr Rosewarne says humans are born with an inherent fascination with “evil”.

She added: “We feel like we’ve dodged a bullet, we’re relieved we’re not the victim.”

Another reason for our obsession is primal, according to experts, as it plays into our body’s reaction to fear.

Behavioural science expert Steve Crimando said: “The main neurochemistry of fear is adrenalin, it elevates your heart rate and primary functions.

“You are not going to die listening to the crime story.”

Although it keeps viewing figures a secret, Netflix is arguably one of the largest creators of true-crime content, producing dozens of big hitters such as Making A Murderer.

With a winning combination of tapping into our brain chemistry, it looks like the nation’s addiction to true crime will only continue to be fed.