When it comes to movies and their genre, serial killer movies are truly the darkest side of the crime genre. Many film enthusiasts also suggest that once you get the essence of the serial killer genre, you will never consider moving back to horror movies ever again, the reason being that serial killer movies are way more realistic and practical than most horror movies out there. However, if you are also considering getting an essence of serial killer movies then these 10 best serial killer movies are a good place to start.
So without any further ado, let’s get into it.
10. Texas Chain Saw Massacre
Release Date: 11th October 1974
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, based on infamous Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein, is one of the most violent mainstream horror films ever filmed. Ed Gien’s heinous deeds also inspired both Psycho and, more than a decade later, an entirely another film about a deranged mama’s boy.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre follows five teenagers who are on their way to their grandfather’s grave, on their way they end up in an old family home, little did they know that It’s the entire family that’s so terrifying. Their commitment to torture and horror is revolting, and their hapless victims have no choice but to flee the nightmares of that house in the midst of nowhere.
9. Man Bites Dog
Release Date: 15th January 1993
Man Bites Dog, an undeniable forerunner to Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, received the International Critics’ Prize at Cannes Film Festival in 1992, only to be given an NC-17 rating in the United States and eventually banned in Sweden.
From children to the elderly all have been a victim in the movie, as well as a gang-raped woman whose body is later photographed with her entrails spilling all over the table on which she was violated, and the perpetrators lying drunkenly on the floor. This description is enough to know about the brutal graphics of the film and why it is banned in Sweden.
8. I Saw the Devil
Release Date: 12th August 2010
I Saw the Devil was directed by Jee-Woon Kim, who also directed South Korea’s biggest horror movie “A Tale of Two Sisters“. I Saw the Devil is a disturbing picture that follows a man on a mission for vengeance after his wife is murdered by a psychopath. Jang Kyung-Chul (Choi Min-Sik), the assassin, is pure evil. His antics and demeanor place him among the most despicable people on the planet.
Release Date: 13th August 1931
The very first talkie film from the director Fritz Lang. M follows a young child who is slaughtered against the backdrop of an Expressionist nightmare image of Berlin, a crime depicted only by shadows and an untethered balloon. It sends shivers across the region and its criminal underworld, which would prefer not to be associated with a child murderer on the loose. Even the criminals of the town and the police are on the same page for once, with the ultimate goal to catch the murderer.
6. American Psycho
Release Date: 14th April 2000
Based on the book by Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho follows Patrick Bateman as he digs deeper into his violent, hedonistic dreams, Patrick Bateman hides his parallel psychopathic persona from his coworkers and friends. Patrick Bateman is an egotistical, soulless yuppie who vents his frustrations from his drab Wall Street career by murdering and mutilating strangers and coworkers alike.
Release Date: 8th September 1960
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho is definitely one of the biggest serial killer films of all time, even after 60+ years of its release. The film totally broke the taboo of all previous serial killer films from violence to plotting something that was never done before. The movie is centered around the interaction between on-the-run embezzler Marion Crane and introverted motel proprietor Norman Bates.
Release Date: 2nd March 2007
Inspired by real events, Zodiac is a detective story about a manhunt for a serial killer who terrorizes Northern California with his brutal killing. The serial killer takes a step further into the hunt by taunting police with letters and cryptic messages. Now a cop (Mark Ruffalo), a writer (Robert Downey Jr.), and a cartoonist (Jake Gyllenhaal) are all driven to find out who the Zodiac Killer is.
3. Memories of Murder
Release Date: 2nd May 2003
Based on the case of South Korea’s first serial killer, Memories of Murder follows Detective Park Doo-Man and Detective Cho Yong-Koo, two brutal and dumb local detectives with no technique, they conduct a brutal and ineffective investigation into the murder by torturing the suspects. The suspects were (or maybe not) involved in a murder of a young and beautiful woman who was raped and gagged with her underpants in the South Korean province of Gyunggi in 1986.
2. The Silence of the Lambs
Release Date: 14th February 1991
The Oscar-winning movie, The Silence of the Lambs has truly hit the pinnacle when it comes to serial killer movies. It’s one of the three films that has won Academy Awards’ “Big Five”—Best Picture, Screenplay, Director, Leading Actor, and Leading Actress, putting it in a prominent category much beyond its genre.
Based on Thomas Harris’s novel, The Silence of the Lambs follows the story of an F.B.I cadet who takes the help of a serial killer to catch another serial killer who is a psychiatrist turned psychopath. The killer not only murders his victims but also skins them and wears them as a mask.
Release Date: 22nd September 1995
Se7en is a film in which the audience will observe yet another murder when they have not even recovered from the previous one. With each murder having its own brutal and psychotic way, the killer shows mercy to none of his victims.
Se7en follows the story of two homicide detectives David Mills and William Somerset, who are desperate to catch the serial killer John Doe who intends to plan his murders based on the seven deadly sins gluttony, greed, sloth, lust, pride, envy, and wrath. Detective Somerset works his way to understanding the pattern of the killer’s seven sins while Detective Mills mocks his attempts.
That is all about the 10 best serial killer movies of all time. To know about the top May 2022 movies or for more Best-of, keep following Retrology.