25 Best Serial Killer Movies Of All Time

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This list may not be a complete catalog of all the films about serial killers, but they are the greatest serial killer movies voted on by fans. Some of the best thrillers, horror and scary movies usually have a tormentor who scares the living wits out of the main characters and sometimes even kills them. These antagonists are the characters who make these serial killer movies so memorable.

30. Blood Work (2002)

Retired FBI profiler Terry McCaleb (Eastwood), who has recently had a heart transplant, is hired by Graciela Rivers (De Jesus), to investigate the death of her sister, Gloria, who happens to have given McCaleb his heart. On the case, he soon deduces that the killer, who staged the murder to look like a random robbery, may actually be a serial killer Terry was trailing for years in the FBI. Can the elderly and feeble McCaleb, who had intended to spend his retirement living on his boat in the Los Angeles harbor, and who can't drive, and has to nap regularly, muster up the endurance to find the killer?

IMDb:6.4

29. From Hell (2001)

The infamous Jack the Ripper case set in London of 1888. The Ripper has been running amok in the Whitechapel district murdering and dissecting prostitutes. Scotland Yard Inspector Fred Abberline, aided by his partner, Peter Godley, are on the case to figure out who this serial killer is and why he is killing these women in such a brutal manner. Abberline is an opium addict and when "chasing the dragon" he is able to have visions of the future, a certain psychic ability that allows him to solve cases. As Abberline and Godley investigate the crimes, they become acquainted with the prostitutes who were friends and colleagues of the victims. Abberline begins to fall in love with Mary Kelly, one of the prostitutes, or as the nobles called them "unfortunates", being hunted down by Jack the Ripper. Abberline digs deeper and deeper into the conspiracy and attempts to solve the case before Mary Kelly is the next victim.

IMDB: 6.8

28. Scream (1996)

1 year after her mother's death, Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell), and her friends started experiencing some strange phone calls. They later learned the calls were coming from a crazed serial killer, in a white faced mask and a large black robe, looking for revenge. His phone calls usually consist of many questions, the main one being: Whats your favorite scary movie? Along with many scary movie trivia, ending with bloody pieces of innocent lives scattered around the small town of Woodsboro.

IMDb: 7.2

27. Red Dragon (2002)

FBI Agent Will Graham has been called out of early retirement to catch a serial killer, known by authorities as "The Tooth Fairy". He asks for the help of his arch-nemesis, Dr. Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter, so that he can be able to catch "The Tooth Fairy" and bring him to justice. The only problem is that "The Tooth Fairy" is getting inside information about Graham and his family from none other than Dr. Lecter.

IMDb: 7.2

26. Natural Born Killers (1994)

Mickey Knox and Mallory Wilson aren't your typical lovers - after killing her abusive father, they go on a road trip where, every time they stop somewhere, they kill pretty well everyone around them. They do however leave one person alive at every shootout to tell the story and they soon become a media sensation thanks to sensationalized reporting. Told in a highly visual style.

IMDb: 7.3

25. Identity (2003)

Strangers from all different walks of life: a limo driver escorting a fading television star, parents with a young son whose marriage is in crisis, a cop transporting a dangerous convict, a beautiful call girl, a couple of young newlyweds, and a nervous motel manager are caught up in a severe rainstorm, stuck at a motel in desolate Nevada. Soon they realize they may be at the motel for another reason when one by one, people start getting killed off. As tensions flare and fingers are pointed, they have to get to the bottom of why they're there. Meanwhile in an undisclosed location, a psychiatrist is trying to prove the innocence of a man accused of murder in an eleventh hour trial. How these two through-lines are related can only be found in Identity.

IMDb: 7.3

24. Frequency (2003)

A rare atmospheric phenomenon allows a New York City firefighter to communicate with his son 30 years in the future via HAM radio. The son uses this opportunity to warn the father of his impending death in a warehouse fire, and manages to save his life. However, what he does not realize is that changing history has triggered a new set of tragic events, including the murder of his mother. The two men must now work together, 30 years apart, to find the murderer before he strikes so that they can change history--again.

IMDb: 7.3

23. Frailty (2001)

FBI agent Wesley Doyle is startled by the spontaneous declaration of youngster Fenton Meiks about how his father's delusions to have a divine mission as avenging angel required him and his brother Adam to become his 'demon-slaying' murder accomplices. But when Doyle accepts to be shown concealed victim graves, the plot twists in the present just as gruesomely.

IMDb: 7.3

22. Monster (2003)

The true story of serial killer Aileen Wuernos who was convicted of luring men to their death and eventually executed in 2002. In 1989, she was working as a prostitute and finally makes a friend when she meets and begins a relationship with a young woman, Selby. Determined to straighten out her life, she tries to find legitimate work but with little education and limited social skills, she fails at every turn. She starts working as a hooker hitching rides along the local interstate highway and after robbing a few clients has an encounter with a vicious client whom she kills in self-defense. After that however she just takes to killing clients taking their money and car. Once arrested she claims self-defense but is eventually convicted.

IMDb: 7.3

21. Mr. Brooks (2007)

Earl Brooks is a highly respected businessman and was recently named Portland's Man of the Year. He hides a terrible secret however: he is a serial killer known as the Thumbprint Killer. He has been attending AA meetings and has kept his addiction to killing under control for two years now but his alter ego, Marshall, has re-appeared and is pushing him to kill again. When he does kill a couple while they are making love, he is seen and photographed by someone who also has his own death and murder fetish. In a parallel story, the police detective investigating the murder is having problems of her own. She is going through a messy divorce and a violent criminal who had vowed revenge some years before has escaped from prison and is after her.

IMDb: 7.4

20. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

In the Victorian London, the barber Benjamin Barker is married to the gorgeous Lucy and they have a lovely child, Johanna. The beauty of Lucy attracts the attention of the corrupt Judge Turpin, who falsely accuses the barber of a crime that he did not commit and abuses Lucy later after gaining custody of her. After fifteen years in exile, Benjamin returns to London under the new identity of Sweeney Todd, seeking revenge against Turpin. He meets the widow Mrs. Lovett who is the owner of a meat pie shop who tells him that Lucy swallowed arsenic many years ago, and Turpin assigned himself tutor of Johanna. He opens a barber shop above her store, initiating a crime rampage against those who made him suffer and lose his beloved family.

IMDb: 7.4

19. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

On Elm Street, Nancy Thompson and a group of her friends including Tina Gray, Rod Lane and Glen Lantz are being tormented by a clawed killer in their dreams named Freddy Krueger. Nancy must think quickly, as Freddy tries to pick off his victims one by one. When he has you in your sleep, who is there to save you?

IMDb: 7.5

18. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006)

Jean-Baptiste Grenouille came into the world unwanted, expected to die, yet born with an unnerving sense of smell that created alienation as well as talent. Of all the smells around him, Grenouille is beckoned to the scent of a woman's soul, and spends the rest of his life attempting to smell her essence again by becoming a perfumer, and creating the essence of an innocence lost.

IMDb: 7.5

17. Frenzy (1972)

Covent Garden wholesale fruit merchant Bob Rusk is an impotent serial killer who strangles women with a necktie. One of his victims is Brenda Blaney, the ex-wife of his best friend, Richard Blaney, who becomes a prime suspect. Fearing discovery, Rusk kills Blaney's girlfriend, a barmaid, and Blaney is arrested. Escaping from jail, Blaney is followed by the police to Rusk's flat, where he's headed to seek revenge for his wrongful conviction of the crimes.

IMDb: 7.5

16. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

En route to visit their grandfather's grave (which has apparently been ritualistically desecrated), five teenagers drive past a slaughterhouse, pick up (and quickly drop) a sinister hitch-hiker, eat some delicious home-cured meat at a roadside gas station, before ending up at the old family home... where they're plunged into a never-ending nightmare as they meet a family of cannibals who more than make up in power tools what they lack in social skills...

IMDb: 7.5

15. American Psycho (2000)

Patrick Bateman is handsome, well educated and intelligent. He is twenty-seven and living his own American dream. He works by day on Wall Street, earning a fortune to complement the one he was born with. At night he descends into madness, as he experiments with fear and violence.

IMDb: 7.6

14. Man Bites Dog (1992)

A camera crew follows a serial killer/thief around as he exercises his craft. He expounds on art, music, nature, society, and life as he offs mailmen, pensioners, and random people. Slowly he begins involving the camera crew in his activities, and they begin wondering if what they're doing is such a good idea, particularly when the killer kills a rival and the rival's brother sends a threatening letter. 

IMDb: 7.6

13. Tell No One (2006)

Eight years after his wife was brutally murdered, Alexandre Beck receives an e-mail with images of a woman who, although older, is obviously his wife. At the time of her murder, Beck was with her but he too was severely beaten and remained unconscious for several days after the incident. He approaches his father-in-law, a former senior police officer now retired, for more details about his wife's murder but can get little additional information. It soon becomes apparent to him that he is being followed and when he is framed for murdering a friend, he goes on the run now fighting to save his own life.

IMDb: 7.6

12. Grindhouse (2007)

A double-bill of thrillers that recall both filmmakers' favorite exploitation films. "Grindhouse" (a downtown movie theater in disrepair since its glory days as a movie palace known for "grinding out" non-stop double-bill programs of B-movies) is presented as one full-length feature comprised of two individual films helmed separately by each director. "Death Proof," is a rip-roaring slasher flick where the killer pursues his victims with a car rather than a knife, while "Planet Terror" shows us a view of the world in the midst of a zombie outbreak. The films are joined together by clever faux trailers that recall the '50s exploitation drive-in classics.

IMDb: 7.6

11. Saw (2004)

Two men wake up at opposite sides of a dirty, disused bathroom, chained by their ankles to pipes. Between them lies a dead man loosely clutching a hand-held tape player and a handgun. Each finds a tape for the player in their back pocket. They play the tapes. One is threatened, the other isn't. But they have a task: One must kill the other by 6:00, or his wife and daughter will die...

IMDb: 7.7

10. Zodiac (2007)

A serial killer in the San Francisco Bay Area taunts police with his letters and cryptic messages. We follow the investigators and reporters in this lightly fictionalized account of the true 1970's case as they search for the murderer, becoming obsessed with the case. Based on Robert Graysmith's book, the movie's focus is the lives and careers of the detectives and newspaper people.

IMDb: 7.7

9. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

This English-language adaptation of the Swedish novel by Stieg Larsson follows a disgraced journalist, Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), as he investigates the disappearance of a wealthy patriarch's niece from 40 years ago. He is aided by the pierced, tattooed, punk computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara). As they work together in the investigation, Blomkvist and Salander uncover immense corruption beyond anything they have ever imagined.

IMDb: 7.8

8. The Chaser (2008)

Joong-ho is a dirty detective turned pimp in financial trouble as several of his girls have recently disappeared without clearing their debts. While trying to track them down, he finds a clue that the vanished girls were all called up by a same client whom one of his girls is meeting with right now.

IMDb: 7.9

7. Halloween (1978)

The year is 1963, the night: Halloween. Police are called to 43 Lampkin Ln. only to discover that 15 year old Judith Myers has been stabbed to death, by her 6 year-old brother, Michael. After being institutionalized for 15 years, Myers breaks out on the night before Halloween. No one knows, nor wants to find out, what will happen on October 31st 1978 besides Myers' psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis. He knows Michael is coming back to Haddonfield, but by the time the town realizes it, it'll be too late for many people.

IMDb: 7.9

6. Hot Fuzz (2007)

Top London cop, PC Nicholas Angel is good. Too good. And to stop the rest of his team looking bad, he is reassigned to the quiet town of Sandford. He is paired with Danny Butterman, who endlessly questions him on the action lifestyle. Everything seems quiet for Angel, until two actors are found decapitated. It is called an accident, but Angel isn't going to accept that, especially when more and more people turn up dead. Angel and Danny clash with everyone, whilst trying to uncover the truth behind the mystery of the apparent "accidents".

IMDb: 7.9

5. Memories Of Murder

In 1986, in the province of Gyunggi, in South Korea, a second young and beautiful woman is found dead, raped and tied and gagged with her underwear. Detective Park Doo-Man and Detective Cho Yong-koo, two brutal and stupid local detectives without any technique, investigate the murder using brutality and torturing the suspects, without any practical result. The Detective Seo Tae-Yoon from Seoul comes to the country to help the investigations and is convinced that a serial-killer is killing the women. When a third woman is found dead in the same "modus-operandi", the detectives find leads of the assassin.

IMDb: 8.1

4. No Country for Old Men (2007)

In rural Texas, welder and hunter Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) discovers the remains of several drug runners who have all killed each other in an exchange gone violently wrong. Rather than report the discovery to the police, Moss decides to simply take the two million dollars present for himself. This puts the psychopathic killer, Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), on his trail as he dispassionately murders nearly every rival, bystander and even employer in his pursuit of his quarry and the money. As Moss desperately attempts to keep one step ahead, the blood from this hunt begins to flow behind him with relentlessly growing intensity as Chigurh closes in. Meanwhile, the laconic Sherrif Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) blithely oversees the investigation even as he struggles to face the sheer enormity of the crimes he is attempting to thwart.

IMDb: 8.1

3. Psycho (1960)

Phoenix officeworker Marion Crane is fed up with the way life has treated her. She has to meet her lover Sam in lunch breaks and they cannot get married because Sam has to give most of his money away in alimony. One Friday Marion is trusted to bank $40,000 by her employer. Seeing the opportunity to take the money and start a new life, Marion leaves town and heads towards Sam's California store. Tired after the long drive and caught in a storm, she gets off the main highway and pulls into The Bates Motel. The motel is managed by a quiet young man called Norman who seems to be dominated by his mother.

IMDb: 8.5

2. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Young FBI agent Clarice Starling is assigned to help find a missing woman to save her from a psychopathic serial killer who skins his victims. Clarice attempts to gain a better insight into the twisted mind of the killer by talking to another psychopath: Hannibal Lecter, who used to be a respected psychiatrist. FBI agent Jack Crawford believes that Lecter, who is also a very powerful and clever mind manipulator, has the answers to their questions and can help locate the killer. However, Clarice must first gain Lecter's confidence before the inmate will give away any information.

IMDb: 8.6

1. Se7en (1995)

A film about two homicide detectives' (Morgan Freeman and (Brad Pitt desperate hunt for a serial killer who justifies his crimes as absolution for the world's ignorance of the Seven Deadly Sins. The movie takes us from the tortured remains of one victim to the next as the sociopathic "John Doe" (Kevin Spacey) sermonizes to Detectives Somerset and Mills -- one sin at a time. The sin of Gluttony comes first and the murderer's terrible capacity is graphically demonstrated in the dark and subdued tones characteristic of film noir. The seasoned and cultured but jaded Somerset researches the Seven Deadly Sins in an effort to understand the killer's modus operandi while the bright but green and impulsive Detective Mills (Pitt) scoffs at his efforts to get inside the mind of a killer..

IMDb: 8.6

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