The 23 Finest Serial Killer Movies of All Time

serial killer movies american psycho memories of murder zodiac

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‘ Serial Killer Motion Pictures’ is an interesting term, because it’s not a cut and dry genre to specify, like, state, ‘funny’ or ‘horror.’ When you become aware of a serial killer motion picture, your mind could go in a couple of different directions. It could go, first, to a skillful telling of a real-life serial killer, like David Fincher’s Zodiac. It might likewise go a different instructions, to something diverting closer to fiction, like John Carpenter’s initial Halloween or the campy Friday the 13 th. It’s not a real genre, however there are a great deal of various analyses of what a ‘serial killer motion picture’ can be.

Often you’re searching for that intense mood, maybe based upon a true, unsolved story. And often you wish to enjoy a scary villain do his thing. It doesn’t make one less chilling and interrupting, and it does not make others any less fun. These can co-exist, and the nuance between them belongs to why we enjoy motion pictures– various tasks, and different moods, can take a look at comparable subjects and handle them so extremely differently.

Which’s why we did the heavy lifting for you, and rounded up the very best serial killer movies of all time, with some amusing, some frightening, and some based right here in our own reality.

Zodiac (2007)

Zodiac is thought about by lots of to be director David Fincher‘s work of art, and thinking about others on his resume– The Social Network, Battle Club, and the next film on this list– that’s stating quite a lot. If you’re a fan of Mindhunter, which Fincher also plays a huge part in making, this is a motion picture for you.

Se7en (1995)

About a years prior to he made Zodiac, David Fincher made Se7en, among the most disturbing crime movies you’ll ever see. Here, investigators played by Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman examine a dreadful serial killer who murders utilizing the 7 deadly sins as a motive. It’s an outright vital of the category, and thinking about Fincher’s background in directing music videos, the opening sequence– scored by 9 Inch Nails– is fitting.

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The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

The three-season drama Hannibal has actually been rather popular considering that its June addition to Netflix, but it was 1991’s skillful The Silence of the Lambs that really canonized Dr. Hannibal Lecter as one of the most engaging– and disturbing– characters in the history of crime fiction. Rather of the NBC series’ Will Graham, the film follows a young FBI trainee named Clarice Starling ( Jodie Foster) who solicits Lecter’s (Anthony Hopkins) aid to track down another serial killer, Buffalo Expense (Ted Levine).

And while they aren’t as good as The Silence of the Lambs— which basically swept the Oscars– it’s worth checking out the other movies in which Hopkins appears as Hannibal Lecter, Hannibal and Red Dragon.

Manhunter (1986)

You understand that Mads Mikkelsen wasn’t the very first one to play Hannibal Lecter, but did you know that Anthony Hopkins wasn’t either? 1986’s Manhunter, directed by Michael Mann, was in fact the first motion picture to take on the flesh-eating doctor, and he’s played terrifyingly hear by existing Succession star Brian Cox, and he’s simply as proficient at playing a killer/cannibal as he is at playing a tyrannic media mogul.

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The Visitor (2014)

The Visitor is definitively not based on a real story. It informs an engaging one nevertheless: here, in a star-making efficiency, Dan Stevens is a mysterious soldier who emerges to tell a family that he knew their late boy, who died in fight.

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Creep (2015)

Nearly by mishap, filmmaker Patrick Brice and inevitable star Mark Duplass (Emmy-nominated this year for The Early Morning Show) have made one of the best horror franchises in current memory, and with a very little budget at that. It’s best going into Creep called little as possible, but know this: Duplass is the star, and the movie is basically made in the found-footage/mockumentary design. Spinal Tap this is not– things get scary, and filled with tension, and none of these characters are anything of what you believe.

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Creep 2 (2017)

Mark Duplass’ character from the very first Creep is back, with a new haircut, brand-new beard, and exact same outright fucking insanity. Both Creep movies are tight, concise thrill rides, so just trust us and see this one when you get a little bit of spare time. You might have some nightmares, however you will not regret enjoying the movie.

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Death Proof (2007)

It’s Quentin Tarantino’s take on a serial killer, so if you’re expecting anything near traditional … you are expecting incorrect. Death Evidence, which was released in theaters as the second motion picture of a double-feature called Grindhouse ( with Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Fear) focuses on a serial killer called Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) who takes advantage of women, intending to kill them with his indestructible Dodge Challenger. Excellent music, fantastic visuals, and a great ending make this for one of the very best movies on this list overall.

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From Hell (2001)

This movie is frequently ignored due to its release in the early 2000 s, when it looked like Johnny Depp and Tim Burton were coming out with a project together every number of weeks. From Hell, based on a graphic book of the exact same name from Watchmen writer Alan Moore, is not by Burton, but does star Depp in among his most fascinating functions. This one features him as a master investigator, addicted to opium, drawing up the path of among the earliest recognized serial killers: Jack the Ripper.

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Summertime of Sam (1999)

Summer Season of Sam is another motion picture focused on a real-life serial killer you have actually definitely heard of: David Berkowitz, better understood as the Son of Sam Just Summer Season of Sam isn’t a biopic of Berkowitz– instead it focuses on a New York City summer season, with residents of an Italian neighborhood in the Bronx living in worry as Berkowitz continues killing.

Psycho (1960)

Alfred Hitchcock’s influential thriller is the conclusive model for what would ultimately become a serial killer motion picture or a slasher film. Even at 60 years old, Psycho will have you on the very edge of your seat.

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Badlands (1973)

Badlands isn’t simply one of the great serial killer motion pictures, but one of the biggest movies of all time.

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American Psycho (2000)

It’s not overemphasizing to say that Christian Bale is, relatively objectively, one of the greatest actors of his (our) generation. And while we’re permanently impressed by what he did in The Machinist and The Dark Knight and Vice, it’s his role as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho that’s truly unforgettable.

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Saw (2004)

The beginning of a looong roadway kicked off with 2004’s low-budget Saw, which actually existed in a bubble. There were lots of Saw films— and there was going to be a Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson-starring reboot called Spiral this year, but then COVID took place– but this one has the best twist, and hits the extremely hardest.

My Friend Dahmer (2018)

My Pal Dahmer is one of the most distinct movies on this list.

My Good Friend Dahmer, hence, looks at the road that brought him to eventually dedicate his infamous crimes; Dahmer eliminated 17 guys and kids in between 1978 and 1991, and many of those crimes included cannibalism and necrophelia.

Funny Games (2007, 1997)

Director Michael Haneke liked his motion picture Funny Games so much that he made it two times– actually. The 2007 variation, starring Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, and Michael Pitt, is a shot-for-shot remake of the 1997 Austrian movie; Haneke directed them both. In such a way, Funny Games is a bit of a precursor to The Purge movies, minus the trick: the hook is that 2 psychopaths reach a family’s home and intimidate them with vicious “video games.” Among the more deranged entries on this list.

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Monster (2003)

These days, in between The Old Guard, Atomic Blonde, and Mad Max: Fury Road, everybody enjoys Charlize Theron in action hero mode. It can’t be ignored how damn great she is in drama mode, and while her most recent Oscar election came for Bombshell, she’s never ever been better than when playing serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Beast.

Theron looks similar here to the genuine Wuornos, who was charged with eliminating 7 guys (and convicted of killing six of them). Director Patty Jenkins ( Wonder Woman) and Theron make the choice to make Wuornos a full-fleshed out character, rather than what she might be in less gifted hands.

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Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is a cult preferred and exceptionally extreme film loosely based on the reality serial killer Henry Ray Lucas, who apparently killed hundreds of individuals. With Michael Rooker ( Guardians of the Galaxy, The Strolling Dead) ahead role, this film is widely known for its ‘X’ rating upon release, due to its extreme and graphic content surrounding the main character’s murders.

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The Snowtown Murders (2011)

This movie is also based on a true story, that of 3 Australian killers who were captured for infamous criminal activities that were revealed when missing bodies were found departed and stuffed in barrels. Another disturbing movie, this also touches on styles of class, addiction, and domestic violence and cruelty.

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Memories of Murder (2003)

You understand director Bong Joon-Ho for what he did in 2019, making a little film called Parasite and basically cleaning up at the Oscars, winning Best Director, Best Original Movie Script, Best Foreign Feature, and Best Photo. Prior to Parasite, and before his other movies like Snowpiercer, Okja, Mother! and The Host, Bong made Memories of Murder, which is about the very first serial killer in Korea. Quentin Tarantino as soon as stated Memories of Murder ( and The Host) were ” masterpieces.” This likewise co-stars Kang-Ho Tune, who played Kim Ki-taek, or the daddy, in Parasite.

Halloween (1978)

This lumbering psychopath wreaks havoc throughout every Halloween motion picture in his William Shatner mask, however there’s something about the very first film that leaves a pit in your stomach, whether it’s your very first time seeing or your 18 th.

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Scream (1996)

Scream has one of the best scream queens of perpetuity in Neve Campbell, and is itself a uproarious scary motion picture, but we can’t elude, either: Ghostface is quite a serial killer, albeit one rather self-aware of horror film tropes. As amusing as Scream is (and all of its sequels and spinoffs), what holds it together is the reality that regardless of the existence of all the humor and self-referential metatext, these motion pictures are still damn scary. And pulling all of that off simultaneously, with a cooling bad guy, is extremely remarkable.

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has actually seen sequels, spinoffs, restarts– the works.

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Evan is an associate editor for Men’s Health, with bylines in The New York Times, MTV News, Brooklyn Magazine, and VICE.

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