Haven’t you come across a serial killer today without realizing it? Maybe it was in a crowded commuter train car, or maybe it was in a supermarket aisle. It probably hasn’t happened to you… but who knows? It could be anywhere, or nowhere, and you wouldn’t even know it. That is, until he starts murdering you. How exciting! Underground assassins have long been a grisly obsession for movie directors and moviegoers alike. Sometimes the obsession turns to the crimes of a real murderer like those of ‘The Serpent’ or those of Richard Ramirez the ‘Night Stalker’ or the famous Manson murders; others let their blood and imagination flow to create a chilling fictional being. The thing is that there are many (yes, literally many) small-time assassins out there. So we’ve decided to do the heavy lifting for you, with a list of the best serial killer movies ever made. Of course, if your thing is real, be sure to see our list of the best movies based on true events and, above all, the best movies based on true crimes, chilling!

And if you want to watch really good movies that won’t give you goosebumps, you can always check out the most recommended movies of 2022 or the best Netflix movies of 2022.

No Country for Old Men (2007)

“Let me ask you, what’s the most you’ve ever lost by flipping heads or tails?” we hear frequently in this movie. And it is that the best serial killer movies are reduced to that, to have life at stake for a trivial reason. In It is not a country for old people to live or not it depends on the coin that Javier Bardem throws into the air and it is better to get it right, because his character is the closest thing to Terminator in contemporary cinema, a hired assassin who stops at nothing and no one. to recover the briefcase of money that has been entrusted to him.

The Coen brothers swept the Oscars with this film, which is one of the best of their filmography. An adaptation of a Cormac McCarthy novel where the Texas border in 1980 is still the Wild West. And in the true West there are no brightly colored suits, but a life that is worthless.

“It’s quite a mess, isn’t it, sheriff?”

The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari (1920)

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It is the first great movie about a serial killer and in its own way the first slasher of all time. Dr. Caligari’s cabinet made German Expressionism one of the most important aesthetics in silent film and continues to amaze with its shadows and chilling production design.

At a traveling fair, Dr. Caligari manipulates Cesare, his sleepwalking assistant, to commit his crimes. One by one all who stand in their way turn up dead the next morning.

Hitchcock and John Carpenter drank a lot from this movie, if you don’t believe us, trust them and watch the classic.

Funny Games (1997)

No serial killer has created as bad a vibe as Peter and his friend, who are dedicated to destroying families for fun? Don’t try to understand why they do what they do because the most sinister thing about these two white-clad murderers is that there is no motive behind their crimes.

The lives of Ann, Georg and their son Georgie are shattered the day these two sociopaths show up at their house to politely ask to borrow some eggs. It doesn’t take more for the tension to get on your nerves, and the movie has just begun.

The same director, Michael Haneke, made an identical remake a few years later with Naomi Watts and Tim Roth, but already having a hard time, better watch the original.

The Enemy of Blondes (1927)

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We’re going to talk about Alfred Hitchcock for a while on this list, starting with the first time he put a story about a series of murders on the big screen. The enemy of the blondes ( The Lodger, in its original title) was his third feature film, but even in these first moments of his cinema you already discover many of his touchstones and motives: a juicy murder, mistaken identities, and the first of his cameos, in the form of a man on the phone in a newsroom.

As fog spreads across the city, a serial killer called The Avenger has terrorized Londoners after a series of murders. They are all young blondes – a demographic Hitchcock would go on to gleefully kill and terrorize for the rest of his directing career – and when a handsome but creepy young man turns up at a boarding house, suspicions are aroused. The evidence is piling up, but all is not as it seems.

The terror is masterful, with a clear influence of German expressionism, and is undoubtedly a creepy and gothic introduction to the two themes that would intertwine in the rest of Hitchcock’s work: sex and death.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Between Halloween and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre , the figure of the serial killer had reached its peak in 1984. However, A Nightmare on Elm Street sharpened the blade with its explosive blend of suburban adolescence, fantasy, gore, and supernatural terror.

The adolescents, from then on, could not be calm. Michael Myers stalked them in the suburbs of the cities, Leatherface did it in any town lost by the hand of God, and Freddy Krueger, for his part, finished off the survivors in their dreams. There was no way to escape.

Desperate for sleep but terrified of Freddy, dreams and reality begin to overwhelm each other. An inventive, funny, strange and repetitive film of some of the most disturbing images in the history of the horror genre.

Prevenge (2016)

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There aren’t many serial killer movies written and directed by women, so Alice Lowe’s debut provided a welcome burst of dark humor and fresh energy. The film tells the story of Ruth, who has recently been widowed and is soon to be a mother for the first time. She’s very apprehensive about it, and we’re not just talking about common things like diapers, lack of sleep, or those unexplained eczema that kids get from time to time.

“I’m not in control, I don’t want to know what’s there,” Ruth explains to her midwife. “I’m scared of it”.

“The baby knows what to do,” says the midwife. “The baby will tell you what to do.”

What the baby wants to do is kill. And kill again. And again. Revenge for the death of her mate turns into random killing, sparked by a small voice from inside her growing womb. Alienated from her own body, Ruth’s pregnancy becomes an invasion of the little body snatcher who also meditates on pain, loss and learning how to move on.

Halloween (1978)

Forget all the sequels, prequels, and reboots that followed the first Halloween . The original is perhaps the most essential horror film of the last 50 years, casting the voyeurism of Hitchcock’s creepiest films into America’s anonymous suburban backyard. Michael Myers could be lurking in your neighborhood.

Myers, sent to a mental hospital after murdering his sister when he was 6 years old, escapes 15 years later and stalks more victims. His empty, hollow eyes light up Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis, in her first big role), who enlists the help of Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) to escape him. As if that were not enough, the film has one of the best soundtracks in the history of cinema.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1982)

This extraordinary, visceral and darkly hilarious Tobe Hooper slasher had one of the best movie poster taglines ever written: “Who will survive and what will be left of them?” In what is one of the greatest horror movies ever, the chainsaw-wielding giant Leatherface and his ghoulish, partly undead family tear literal and psychological pieces from a group of teenagers who have lost themselves in the darkest. uninhabited nothing.

Made on a minimal budget, its power lies in its verite style and slow paces that suddenly make you go from a typical road movie to a cult horror film plagued by post-Watergate paranoia and distrust. He was also the source of a lot of horror genre conventions that led to a lot of lesser movies, like the faceless masked killer and the power tool as a weapon. However, no one did it as well as here.

The Rillington Place Strangler (1971)

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This underappreciated little gem wasn’t much appreciated when it was released, but its telling of the desperately sad story of Christie’s murders during the 1950s is well worth watching.

Richard Attenborough plays the quiet serial killer John Christie, who introduced himself as a doctor to the women who lived near his house whom he would later murder, and a very young John Hurt, who is the scapegoat he tries to frame for the murder. of his wife and son. Everything here is more chilling than the straight horror of other movies. As a curiosity, as if the story wasn’t already terrifying enough, it was shot just two doors down from the royal house in Notting Hill where the murders occurred.

Frenzy (1972)

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Hitchcock’s last stint might not have been as successful, but his penultimate film was quite the feat, recapturing the tone of his 1940s conspiracy thrillers, with the sly humor of Anthony Shaffer’s screenplay and classic Wrong Man montage. Being hunted for a crime he didn’t commit.

Bob Rusk, a Covent Garden market trader, sets up his friend Richard Blaney to take the blame for a series of strangulations. It’s all done with energy and flair, and there are a couple of classic pieces of Hitchcock cinema. Notably notable is the tracking shot that leaves a room in the middle of the murder and blends in among the shoppers blissfully unaware of the horror that is occurring just a few feet away.

Zodiac (2007)

Based on the true story of a murderer (who may or may not be United States Senator Ted Cruz, if you ask certain (WRONG) sections of Twitter), who terrorized San Francisco and Northern California in the late 1960s. , Zodiac is David Fincher’s version of one of the most famous chases in American history.

Featuring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., and plenty of Fincher-esque close-ups in dimly lit interrogation rooms, Zodiac may be long (162 minutes), but who said catching a killer (NOT Ted Cruz) would be easy? No one.

Monster (2004)

Charlize Theron won a well-deserved Best Actress Oscar for her stark and desperate descent into the true story of Aileen Wuornos, a woman whose desperate attempts at roadside prostitution lead to far more sinister and irreversible acts.

Far from the elegant fragrance icon of an actress like Theron, Wuornos is pockmarked, scruffy and emotionally crippled, while Christina Ricci as her naive companion is just as stunning…and tragic.

Complex, moving and dark, it’s a serial killer movie that makes you sit in your seat for a while after the credits roll.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Come on Clarice, you knew this was going to happen. The fact that Anthony Hopkins won an Oscar for just 16 minutes of screen time as Dr. Hannibal Lecter, the Chianti- and fresh-meat-loving monster, is proof enough that if you haven’t seen The Silence of the Lambs yet , then you should get to it immediately.

“Whenever possible, one should try to eat the rude.” Just one of Lecter’s many sage tips.

Psycho (1960)

Inspired by the story of Ed Gein, a murderer with a penchant for interior design using human body parts, this Hitchcock film is a classic of the genre and one of the most influential films of all time, capable of push the limits of violence, sexuality and shower scenes.

Frightening in its buildup and suffocating tension, Hitchcock bought all copies of Robert Bloch’s novel before the release of his film, to maintain the mystery and horror of Norman Bates, his mother, and his murderous motel.

Seven (1995)

Another Fincher film, this time starring pre-sad Brad Pitt as the dynamic apprentice to the tired old detective played by Morgan Freeman. The two desperately pursue a serial killer who employs ostentatious and gruesome techniques on his victims, each representing one of the seven deadly sins (gluttony is our favorite).

They’re definitely very 90s (Brad Pitt in a leather jacket looking up in the New York rain as a hateful orchestra plays in the background), but that matters little with a story as impressive and fast-paced as this.

Henry: Portrait of a Killer (1986)

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A film deemed so depraved by the American censorship board that it was given an ‘X’ rating (meaning theaters wouldn’t want to run it), Henry: A Murderer was released in 1990 and has been running ever since. earned cult film status for its visceral portrayal of Henry Lee Lucas, a murderer with mother issues who confessed to killing up to 300 people.

This movie is not so much a psychological thriller or an intelligent one. In the end, it’s the nihilism and futility of Henry’s murders that make it so disturbing. The idea that someone can murder you just because they feel like it.

American Psycho (2000)

With elements of biting satire, farce and black comedy – along with the whole serial killer thing – Christian Bale starred as American Psycho anti-hero Patrick Bateman, a ruthless Wall Street financier prone to maniacal fits and taking it out on murder. Plus, he’s obsessed with clothes, restaurant reservations, business cards, and Huey Lewis and the News. He is one of the most hateful characters in literature, created by Bret Easton Ellis, and the movie knew how to live up to it.

A brilliant film in its own right, American Psycho also serves as a wry pre-clash portrait of the vanities and excesses of a self-serving city lifestyle.

Snowtown (2011)

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While many of the movies on this list focus on full-blown serial killer murder sprees, this Australian indie film shows us the dark and insidious ancestry it takes to get there.

Sometimes unwatchable and often unbearably grim, we see a teenager in search of his identity, but his mentor manages to mess everything up to lead that desire to the darkest of results.

Bad Lands (1973)

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Based on the true story of Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate, teenage lovers whose 1958 murder on the Nebraska plains made headlines across the United States, Badlands is Terence Malick’s best work (sorry, Tree of Life ).

One of many great movies about a young couple escaping to the backroads of free America, Badlands is Bonnie and Clyde with more flair, a better script, and much more hard-hitting psychopathy.

M, the Vampire of Dusseldorf (1931)

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M, the Vampire of Dusseldorf is considered the first serial killer film and a classic of the genre, narrating the frantic pursuit of a child killer on the streets of Berlin.

Considering the year it was made, M still holds remarkably fresh when seen with modern eyes. In fact, many modern directors could learn a thing or two (or ten) from his simple but effective construction of suspense and deployment of atmosphere.

Oh, and the wardrobe is wonderful too.

Memories of Murder (2003)

Of undeniable influence on Zodiac and True Detective , until Parasite is this was Bong Joon-ho’s most iconic film. It tells the story of the first serial killer in Korea, who murdered a dozen women between 1986 and 1991. The story focuses on an atypical couple of policemen and their desperate search between towns and roadsides, between corpses, broken families and false clues, to find a murderer who every time seemed to be further away.

It is its landscapes, the relationship of its protagonists and the arid bitterness of its ending that have marked the thriller of the 21st century. As a curiosity, it was not possible to capture the murderer until 2019, 16 years after the premiere of the tape.

The Panic Photographer (1960)

1960 is, without a doubt, the best year in the history of cinema, if we put something from 1959 and 1961 into it, a long year that is said, we can already say that better films were released in those months than in the last 50 years. It was an amazing moment, an international point of no return between classic cinema and the so-called new waves of modern cinema, a worldwide explosion that, unfortunately, has some unjustly forgotten ones, among which is undoubtedly Peeping Tom , the original title of The Panic photographer .

The great Michael Powell, director of The Red Shoes, Black Narcissus or The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, among other marvelous ones, dared to make this scandalous film, the most daring in British cinema until A Clockwork Orange . The story centers on a serial killer obsessed with photographing his victims at the moment he kills them. In his normal life, he earns a living as a photographer, both for cinema, erotica and pornography, so his victims are usually actresses and prostitutes. An overwhelming story that mixes mystery, crime and eroticism in what is an ode to the voyeuristic principle of criminal cinema, just as Rear Window was .

Monsieur Verdoux (1947)

Many may not know how gloomy and dark Charlie Chaplin’s cinema could be. Darkness was always present in all of his comedies, from his character as a poor bum to labor exploitation in Modern Times or Nazism in The Great Dictator . He would say goodbye to the United States with Candilejas , a bitter story about the old age of a finished artist. However, none comes close to the darkness of this film based on true events in which Chaplin puts himself in the shoes of a bluebeard, a murderer of rich women who first conquers them and then kills them to keep their fortune.

Of course, he does it to feed his real wife and daughter, but in this case Chaplin’s social reading is so bitter that even when his character blames his actions on the corrupt social system, our stomachs turn.