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18 Serial Killer Movies That Will Send Chills Down Your Spine

The scariest movies often revolve around serial killers, perhaps because the idea of someone killing purely for the thrill is unsettling, and not just a creation for entertainment. Such films have a way of making viewers confront the darkest aspects of humanity rather than deny their existence. In an online discussion, these 18 movies came up as ones that will undoubtedly leave you shaken, as they delve into the chilling depths of the human psyche.

1. Perfume: Story of a Murderer (2006)

Image Credit: Jurgen Olczy-Paramount Pictures.

The stunning realization an orphan has of his superhuman sense of smell causes his quest for the perfect perfume to take a very dark turn. Ben Whishaw plays Jean-Baptiste Grenouille in Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, which is based on Patrick Susskind's novel Perfume and is set in 18th-century France. Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is an unhappy orphan sold to a tanner who becomes a perfumer's apprentice and more.

2. Frailty (2001)

Image Credit: Lions Gate Films.

A parent develops the paranoid belief that he has a secret mission in life, a commandment from above, which may or may not be related to the gradual onset of mental illness. Bill Paxton co-wrote and starred in this passion project, which gave him one of the best roles of his career as a crumbling father who has come to believe that there are “demons” all around him that God has commanded him to destroy.

3. I Saw The Devil (2010)

Image Credit: Showbox.

It is a South Korean masterpiece of violence that centers on a guy determined to exact retribution after learning that a madman killed his wife. We watch as the “protagonist” of the movie enjoys chasing the psychopath, implanting a tracker in the killer so that he can repeatedly emerge, beat the victim unconscious, and then set him free once more to subject her to more suffering.

4. The Vanishing (1988)

Image Credit: Argos Films.

After saving a little girl from drowning and being hailed as a hero by his kids, Raymond is curious to see if a similarly heroic act of evil may be performed in the wake of his act of goodness. He carefully plans how to kidnap a lady rather than save one, exploring the border between sociopathy and psychopathy.

5. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

Image Credit: Greycat Films.

After his mother is killed, Henry is let out of prison. He performs many brutal and indiscriminate killings in addition to his work as an exterminator. Otis, a heroin dealer and fellow inmate, voluntarily helps Henry commit his brutal murders. However, things spiral out of control as Henry bonds with Becky, Otis' sister, and the iniquity increases. This is based on the actual life events of Henry Lucas Lee.

6. Serial Mom (1994)

Image Credit: Savoy Pictures.

The murderer, played by Kathleen Turner, is a lady whose attractiveness, domesticity, and class position grant her the undeserved pity and forgiveness necessary for her heinous actions to continue. After hearing of the teacher's criticism of her son, Bev takes the teacher's life with her car in the school parking lot. She suddenly has an obsession with murder and will stop at nothing to end anyone who slights her or her family.

7. Monster (2003)

Image Credit: Newmarket Films.

In this biographical film that comes closest to the actual Aileen Wuornos case, Charlize Theron is almost unrecognizable as the terrible monster. Aileen Wuornos was a prostitute who began by killing a man in self-defense but then went on to kill six more men while robbing them of their money and cars. Theron claimed several awards for her role here.

8. Manhunter (1986)

Image Credit: De Laurentiis Entertainment Group.

The movie's main character is Graham, who comes out of retirement to contribute his skills to an inquiry into Dollarhyde, a murderer referred to as the Tooth Fairy. He must do this while facing his past demons and meeting Lecktor, who almost killed Graham. It's a time-traveling film from a long-gone decade. Still, it contains centuries of fear because it's so unbelievable, symbolically dense, and expertly crafted.

9. Zodiac (2007)

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

It's a detective story about the search for a serial killer that veers in and out of hundreds of different contexts while increasing the suspense the entire time. The plot is happy to reveal its hypotheses and hints to him gradually, keeping the viewer in suspense for extended periods of time, but it still feels like a fast-paced burner.

10. Peeping Tom (1960)

Image Credit: Anglo-Amalgamated Film Distributors.

The movie's main character is a serial murderer who kills women while filming their last moments of dread with a handheld camera. He then compiles the material into a snuff film for his amusement. The director's career suffered a major setback in the UK due to the film's contentious subject matter and bad reviews. Although it gained a cult following, it has been given a new appraisal and is now regarded as a masterpiece.

11. Memories of Murder (2003)

Image Credit: CJ Entertainment.

The film's plot, loosely based on South Korea's first verified serial killer case, centers on two detectives working to crack the case: one from the tiny hamlet where it happened and the other from Seoul. The investigations were conducted when appropriate forensic equipment and investigative techniques were still lacking, heightening the tension and frustration of the circumstances as depicted in the movie.

12. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile (2019)

Image Credit: Netflix.

Ted Bundy is incredibly well-known among serial killers for his endearing personality and terrifying capacity to seduce his female victims. It was produced as a semi-dramatic documentary with a slow, teasing burn that keeps spectators on the edge of their seats. However, viewers will be left in awe of Ted's methods and murderous plans when everything is revealed.

13. Psycho (1960)

Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

The sociopathic serial killer Ed Gein served as inspiration for the film. The fact that it is entirely black and white adds to the eerie mood and gives off an uncomfortable vibe. In the film, Norman Bates, a mentally repressed man who lives under his controlling mother's rule, goes on a killing rampage among the guests at their isolated motel.

14. The Frozen Ground (2013)

Image Credit: Lionsgate.

This film is based on the true story of Robert Hansen, a serial killer also known as the Butcher Baker, who killed 17 women during his rampage. He would set his victims free in the wilds of Alaska and then hunt them down with a gun and a knife. While he is doing this, an Alaskan State Trooper is pursuing him and trying to put an end to his murderous rampage with the aid of a woman who escaped his clutches.

15. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Image Credit: Orion Pictures.

It's not very often that you consider turning to a serial killer for assistance in resolving a new horrific murder case, but that is essentially how this movie is. Hannibal Lecter and Buffalo Bill, two murderers, are the antagonists of this film. But FBI agent Clarice Starling must rely on the former to catch the latter.

16. Ma (2019)

Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Ma is a very creepy movie about a woman who decides to befriend a group of teenagers after being a social outcast in her own social cliques. What starts off as a strange, but innocent friendship between the woman and the teens ends up becoming violent and deadly to get her revenge for her teen years and the bullying she faced in her past. 

17. The Lovely Bones (2009)

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

The Lovely Bones is a dark thriller that follows the death of Susie (Saoirse Ronan), who is killed by her seemingly normal neighbor. While she watches her family continue their life on Earth, not knowing what has happened to Susie, she tries to warn her family about the man who killed her, and apparently many other girls before her.

18. Prisoners (2013)

Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Towards the beginning of the movie, as the family and the detectives start looking for the two missing daughters, they meet a priest named Patrick Dunn who had admitted to killing 16 children. But the real terrifying killer is Holly, the woman who abducts and keeps the two girls and is part of Patrick Dunn's huge plan.

Source: (Reddit).



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18 Serial Killer Movies That Will Send Chills Down Your Spine

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