Yes, Jeffrey Dahmer really did buy yellow contact lenses to look like Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. When Dahmer, played by Evan Peters, tells one of his victims in Episode 2 of Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story that he wears contacts to look like The Emperor, it’s easy to forget the weird detail because it’s only the 15th or 16th most horrifying thing about the episode. But Dahmer really did wear yellow contacts to emulate Palpatine, just as he really did watch Exorcist III pretty much every day.
The episode is focused on the shocking but true fact that in May 1991, Dahmer lured 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone to his home, then drugged him with plans to murder him. When Konerak managed to escape, Milwaukee police really did hand the boy back over to Dahmer, who claimed Konerak was an adult and his boyfriend and that they’d just had a lover’s quarrel. And yes, horrifically, this really did happen over the objection of Dahmer’s neighbor, Glenda Cleveland, who noted that Konerak was a child. Dahmer subsequently killed the boy.
In a scenario so incredibly grim, the terrifying detail about The Emperor almost amounts to comic relief — idolizing a Star Wars villain is, on balance, one of the least terrible things Dahmer did in his 34 years.
On the show, Peters’ version of Jeffrey Dahmer tells Konerak, played by Kieran Tamondong: “You see my contacts? They’re just like the Emperor’s. I got ’em at a costume shop in Kenosha.”