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9 Most Terrifying Serial Killer Movies and TV Shows

by Emily Keen

We often dim serial killers as sociopaths whose minds nothing but evil. But did you know that Ted Bundy the infamous American serial killer and rapist worked for a suicide hotline and saved a child from drowning? Jefferey Dahmer was famous in his school years for being a prankster and his antics had gained him immense following then. The question arises that if they had these positive qualities which impacted the lives of people in good ways, what propelled them to go on a rampage with a knife their hands. That is indeed a very logical question given the fact that they did participate in activities that normally would be tagged “good”.

One way is to read books on criminal psychology which you will dread after reading a few pages if you are not a bookworm. The other way is to watch films based on the lives of these pathological killers. These films dive deep into the lives of these criminals which possibly hold the explanation as to what led these individuals formerly normal ad humane, succumb to darkness.

Here is a list of 9 films and TV shows that derive their arcs from the lives of real-life serial criminals and literary fiction revolving around the same concept.

Ted Bundy (2002)

Ted Bundy (2002) - MoriaEven true love is not enough to keep a man from committing heinous crimes when his cognitive functioning is abnormal. Serial killer biography “Ted Bundy” is exemplary of the fact. The sinister story of Theodore Robert Bundy under Matthew Bright’s direction generously covers his ability to commit murder and a monstrous sexual appetite.

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My Friend Dahmer (2017)

My Friend Dahmer Review: A Disturbingly Effective Portrait of a ...Jefferey Dahmer is an American serial killer who rose to fame by killing 17 men and boys. This film tells the story of his progression towards the stage of a murderer and liberally explores the incidents that led to it. The film brings to life his teenage life when he struggled to make it through school with the pressures of dysfunctional family life. His goofball antics gain a cult fan club at school but little can keep his vices from spiraling out of control.

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Wolf Creek (2005)

Wolf Creek – IFC CenterA road trip goes awry in the wilderness of Australia as a group of three friends is led into a trap by a stranger disguised as a Samaritan when their car knocks out in the middle of the journey. The film is directed by Greg McLean and is by and large a celebration of pure violence. The story begins with three friends taking a road trip in Australia and experience a car breakdown in the middle of nowhere. Mick appears as a ray of hope in that helpless situation and offers them a ride down the road. The group camps at night but wakes up in a completely shabby condition and separated from one another. Turns out the stranger was not a life savior after all.

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Monster (2003)

Monster Review | Movie - EmpireFrom patty Jenkins comes a thought-provoking and patho drama seeding from the underbellies of Florida. Aileen is a prostitute who falls in love with Selby after moving to Florida. In an unfortunate turn of events, Aileen commits a murder in an attempt to save herself from the brutal attacks of John. With one predicament resolved, life still does not seem to get any better. This forces Aileen to relapse and takes the same old road of violence and cruelty.

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Man Bites dog (1992)

Man Bites DogThis film is a satirical approach to exemplify the complicity of media in the stories they report. The plot follows a serial killer Ben, whose crimes are documented by two filmmakers Remy and Andre. But the footage is more of a presentation of Ben’s mindset and methods as a killer where he talks about the philosophy behind murder and why he does what he does. The crew recording the activities of rampage eventually become a part of the crimes Ben commits thus giving the audience a whole new perspective on the pitfalls of reporting.

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Mindhunter (2017)

Charlize Theron Says the Second Season of "Mindhunter" Will Hit ...As the title suggests, the show follows the activities of FBI agents Holden Ford and Bill Tench. Deconstructing the disillusioned mindset of a serial killer is a part of their routine which goes on to inspire the idea for a full-blown profiling system used to hunt down psycho murderers. The show boasts a strong off the camera crew including Oscar-nominated director David Fincher Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron who is one of the show’s executive producers.

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Bates Motel (2013)

Bates Motel - Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Kerry Ehrin Season 3 ...Jaw-dropping callbacks, character development, and the overall message are what make this show a true masterpiece. This is not one of those predictable storylines even though the idea of the show is a borrowed one. The smaller stories making way through the main plot prove a driving force for the whole scenario negating the element of “fillers’’. There are no fillers. All of it is relevant. The story begins with an incomprehensibly brutal act of a killer murdering his mother and putting her remains on display in their house. The answers to this disturbing puzzle are revealed as the story progresses.

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Hannibal(2013)

Hannibal's cancellation gives rise to an online fan petition to ...This is a highly acclaimed crime drama series that borrows its characters from Thomas Harris’ novel. The central theme of cannibalism finds its garnish with a top tier team of CGI experts thus giving the audience a visually salubrious experience. The audio effect is also spotting thus amplifying the whole feel tenfold. The central character of the show is a psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter who has the bane to influence his patients to do exactly as he wants.

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Se7en (1995)

Movie Review: Se7en - Casual Rambling - MediumAnother David Fincher edge of the seat thriller that stays relevant even today holds an iconic end twist that makes the audience go crazy. The film sees a serial killer ending the lives of his victims based on the seven deadly sins. The case is assigned to two detectives- one on the verge of his retirement and the other is a newbie. The case affects both their lives in the most unexpected ways and that is what elevates the whole experience. It is dark, gripping and the end is one of the most shocking scenes you may have ever experienced.

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10 Best Thriller and Suspense Films of All Time

by Emily Keen

We all know that empty feeling when everything in life is normal? It is because, difficult times and tense moments however unwanted, arguably bring a thrill to life. It is in these moments we feel our hearts pounding like it’s racing against time. We feel alive! This is the exact thrill induced by suspense films. But how often do we come across movies that drive you at the edge of the seat or have you jumping with rug pulling twists?  The combination of utterly creepy characters, mind-bending twists and a compelling plot with pace is what makes the best thrillers.

But it is definitely another huge task to choose the best thrillers from troves of available cinematic gems.

We have narrowed down the list to the 10 movies which remain the best thrillers of all time.

  1. Rear Window (1954)

Ever been so bored you had nothing to do but just randomly build creepy stories in mind? Imagine if that creepy story becomes reality. Scary no? That’s exactly the kind of feeling this film invokes. Rear Window is a masterpiece weaved by the legendary Alfred Hitchcock featuring James Stewart, a photojournalist who is left bound to his apartment due to a broken leg. Since, besides his nurse (Thelma Ritter) and girlfriend (Grace Kelly), the man has no interactions with the world, he resorts to peeping through the windows of the neighbors which leads to unraveling scandalous truths. But what makes this classic even more special is Hitchcock’s art of storytelling and the screenplay that does not involve any action. Just pure humor, suspense souled up by its magnetic cast.

 

  1. North by Northwest (1959)

north-by-northwest

The master of suspense, Hitchcock strikes yet again! The dashing honcho of sophisticated comedy, Cary Grant is paired up with other usual Hitchcock collaborators James Mason and Eva Marie Saint. Grant’s charm is as usual worth betting all the money on. Grant plays Roger Thornhill who is mistaken for a government agent and hunted by police and assassins. Eva Kendall protects the man and the two develop a tantalizing relationship while hunting for the real government agent. This film is a legacy that inspired numerous thrillers, only a few among which have successfully made an impact. Although not the same as this film.

 

  1. Manchurian Candidate (1962)

The-Manchurian-Candidate

Based on a volatile plot unraveling secrets of underworld politics, the studio thought it was too risky to produce the film. But with support from John F. Kennedy, John Frankenheimer finally breathed life into a politically charged USSR brainwash thriller. If one wishes to witness the gruesome politics through black and white frames, this iconic film is your go-to. Frank Sinatra plays a U.S. army hero who returns to his homeland from Korea. But the fact that he has been hired by the communists to assassinate a presidential nominee is finally discovered by his buddy who sets on a quest to stop his pal from committing a felony.

 

  1. Blood Simple (1984)

blood-simple

Written, directed, edited and produced by Ethan and Joel Coen, this is the duo’s breakout movie. The film is a brooding crime classic from the siblings who knew nothing about film sets when they were ready to shoot this dark-humored thriller. Marty(Dan Hedaya) is a bar owner and a ruthless torturer of his wife. Frances McDormand who plays the wife ultimately resorts to cheating with one of the bartenders at Marty’s bar. Marty somehow sniffs the betrayal and hires a detective (Visser) to kill the wife and the lover. Steering moments of pure horror but keeping audiences in the know of everything, in contrast to most thriller this film binds a tale of bleak fatalism which is a recurring theme in most cinemas.

 

  1. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

silence-of-the-lambs

This Oscar-winning work of art became the third film in American history to sweep five major awards after It Happened One Night and One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. To date the horror film remains the only scary film to win The Best Picture Oscar. The film concocts a shrewd serial killer psychology thriller brilliantly brought to life by Jodie Foster, Jack Crawford, and Anthony Hopkins. This is one of those rare movies which has the power to keep you coming back for a re-watch even though you know what it entails. Jonathan Demme indeed crafted a gripping plot to pull the audience right inside the story.

 

  1. The Usual Suspects (1995)

the-usual-suspects

“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” The iconic line from this movie by the legendary Kevin Spacey says everything about this blazing cult classic. In his Oscar-winning performance, Spacey plays a mysterious con man and plans a million dollar heist with his partners, the usual suspects in the list of police records. The planned heist fails on cosmic proportions and then comes an offer from the Devil himself. Keyser Soze is a criminal mastermind known to people only through stories of his heinous crimes but not by face. The suspects agree for they have little choice left when it comes to dealing with the mysterious face of violence.

 

  1. Se7en (1995)

se7en

The ending is blowing the minds of audiences even today. If that is not enough to get you excited about the film, David Fincher’s unparalleled obsession with weaving, edgy dark stories will. Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman play detectives looking into brutal murders symbolizing seven sins- pride, lust, gluttony, wrath, sloth, greed and envy. A vicious yet epic tale that approaches a twist of stellar proportions at the end. Se7en inspired countless storylines and revolutionized the genre of detective/thriller.

 

  1. Memento (2000)

memento

Apart from the riveting performances by Guy Pearce and Joe Pantoliano what makes this film so great is Christopher Nolan’s flair of weaving an emotionally charged storyline with equally magnificent twists. The film is a different kind of cinematic experience altogether with reverse storylines and chronological events merge and help you connect with the soul of the character. It gets you curious and more importantly satisfies that curiosity. It reveals the end at the very start defying the fundamental norms of cinematic storytelling. What makes you stick around is just the characters and theme.

 

  1. No Country For Old Men (2007)

no-country-for-old-man

It’s the ‘once amateur’ siblings again! Imagine if Ethan and Joel Coen can create a masterpiece without knowing things about filmmaking, what could they do with experience? Cormac McCarthy’s novel forms the plot for this thrilling film. No exaggeration intended! It is literally thrilling. It begins with a Vietnamese veteran (Josh Brolin) discovering a huge amount of cash in the wake of a failed drug deal. He flees with the cash and invites being chased by an enigmatic killer. The crisp frames, captivating landscapes, and biblical themes elevate the effect of this ‘almost an action’ feature by the Coen Brothers.

 

  1. Prisoners (2013)

prisoners

A peculiar touch of David Fincher’s dark and seedy world is the treatment that prevails the backdrop of Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners. Hugh Jackman plays a father whose 6-year-old daughter is missing and the identity of the kidnapper is the obvious mystery they have to solve. The feature is a slow burn of tension intensified with jaw-dropping twists and turns. Jake Gyllenhaal plays detective Loki who is obsessed with his job and Paul Dano is a suspect who is released due to lack of evidence. The stellar cast along with an emotionally powerful storyline makes this movie an absolute work of art.

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