Crime Scene Photo Determined the ‘Urinal Cake Yellow’ Color Palette in ‘DAHMER — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story’

Crime scene photos heavily inspired the look and feel of Ryan Murphy’s Netflix series DAHMER — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. But one photo of the hallway in Dahmer’s apartment building stuck out to the showrunner. Find out how that one photo laid the groundwork for the color palette used in the true crime Netflix series.

Jeffrey Dahmer (Evan Peters) is escorted through the 'urinal cake yellow' halls of his apartment in 'DAHMER — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,' which was inspired by a crime scene photo
Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer in ‘DAHMER’ | Netflix

Ryan Murphy’s series details Jeffrey Dahmer’s crimes in a fictional light 

Murphy’s true crime Netflix series DAHMER — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story details the murders the serial killer committed from 1978 until his arrest in 1991. However, unlike many other fictionalized movies and TV shows about Dahmer, Murphy emphasized the victims and their families.

That included 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone, who nearly escaped the killer but was escorted back into Dahmer’s apartment by police. The show also details the accounts of Dahmer’s former neighbor Glenda Cleveland, who made multiple reports about Dahmer’s suspicious behavior. 

DAHMER — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story relied heavily on the evidence at hand to tell these people’s stories. That included interview footage of Dahmer and crime scene photos of course.

Jeffrey Dahmer crime scene photos allowed Ryan Murphy to make a set you ‘could smell’

Murphy relied on crime scene photos from Dahmer’s apartment, like those seen in this YouTube video, to inform the color palette for the Netflix series. “I felt like I could smell that room,” Molly Ringwald said in a roundtable Netflix hosted about the series. Murphy explained how much thought and planning went into creating the scenes within Dahmer’s apartment. 

“We talked about that a lot and the lighting of those scenes,” Murphy explained. “What is the particulate in the air? What is the humidity and the color feel?” 

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In researching for DAHMER, Murphy was inspired by a police photograph of the empty hallway in Dahmer’s apartment building. “[The photo] was very yellow because the lightbulb had burned out and I never saw another photograph of that,” Murphy elaborated. “I’m like, ‘That’s the palette.’ It was urinal cake yellow.” 

That photo informed everyone’s decisions making the show, from set designers to the director of photography and beyond. “We just had a unified vision,” Murphy said. 

Jeffrey Dahmer’s apartment present day 

After living with his grandmother for some time, Dahmer moved into the Oxford Apartments at 924 North 25th Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 14, 1990. Dahmer lived in apartment 213, where he murdered twelve victims until his capture on July 22, 1991.

The apartment building that served as the inspiration for the set of DAHMER — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story was demolished on Nov. 16, 1992. “It has been a symbol of anger, pain, violence and death,” Project President Patrick LeSage told The Bulletin. “It needs to be replaced with a sign of our commitment to support the healing process and to work together as a community of people who care.”

At the time of the demolition, the Campus Circle Project pledged to plant flowers and grass on the site. However, present-day photos of the property reveal the location is now grass and a few trees. Attempts to convert the site to a memorial garden, a playground, or new housing have been unsuccessful.

Watch DAHMER — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story on Netflix.