We used to make up stories about monsters, but perhaps that was only because we didn’t truly understand the monsters within. The phenomena of serial killers, human beings driven by the urge to murder other human beings, was an alien concept throughout much of human history. Now, it’s one of our greatest nightmares, and the killers themselves are amongst our most potent boogeypersons, because unlike Dracula and the Wolfman, we know for a fact that they’re out there.
Of course, we still tell stories about old-fashioned monsters. And just because serial killers are de rigeuer, that doesn’t mean that all the movies about them are good. But many of the best films ever made have used serial killers to explore the grim nastiness of the human mind, in one way or another. Many of the best films ever made are serial killer movies, no doubt about it.
But when the time came for us to take a serious look at the genre, we realized that not every movie with a serial killer in it is a “serial killer movie”. There’s a big difference between a movie that just happens to be about people on the run from a murderer, and a movie about the murderer(s) themselves, and the impact they have on society. You won’t see many so-called “slashers” on our list of The Top 25 Best Serial Killer Movies Ever Made, even classic ones like Black Christmas or Halloween.
Instead, you’ll find a lot of deeply disturbing (and sometimes disturbingly funny) movies about the people who kill, the cultures that feed into their madness, and the people who become obsessed with their crimes. Not all of these movies are fun to watch, but they are all fascinating, disturbing works of art that are a must-watch for anyone looking to explore the dark side of humanity… and cinema.
The Top 25 Best Serial Killer Movies Ever Made:
Top Photos: Newmarket Films / De Laurentiis Entertainment Group / Paramount Pictures
William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on Canceled Too Soon and watch him on the weekly YouTube series What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.