20 Serial Killer Movies You Must See Before You Die

Is this the darkest corner of cinema?

Serial killer movies have always been a source of fascination amongst film-goers; there's something about the idea of the serial killer - a twisted human being forced to commit murder to gratify a deep-seated desire - that keeps us coming back for more. What drives a human being to kill another for pleasure or gratification or for no reason at all? There's also something inherently captivating about the way in which films about serial killers paint those tasked with investigating and tracking down the demented individuals; obsessive detectives who will stop at nothing to discover who is leaving a trail of victims behind them. Then there's the dark, dank and ugly mis-en-scene that goes hand in hand with the genre, which - like the murders in question - disgusts and intrigues us all at once. Because the serial killer movie can take many forms; it can be a first-class police procedural; it can be an up-close and personal portrait of an individual; it can be an slasher or horror movie; it can be based on true events; it can even be a deconstruction or a parody. Here, this list suggests 20 essential serial killer movies that epitomise the genre - all of which happen to be movies that you really should seek out before you die...


Sam Hill is an ardent cinephile and has been writing about film professionally since 2008. He harbours a particular fondness for western and sci-fi movies.