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10 movies and documentaries about serial killers

10 movies and documentaries about serial killers

July 12, 2024

Homicide and murder are crimes that have shaken society since ancient times . Whether with a specific premeditated objective, product of an impulse or mere whim, there are many cases of subjects who have decided or have killed another person.

Generally, murderers and murderers kill one or several people in the course of the crime, the crime being a situation that only takes place on one occasion.

However, in some cases there are murderers who commit multiple crimes, the so-called serial killers or serials. Jack the Ripper or Charles Manson are two widely known cases. In order to learn about the how and why of their crimes highlights a series of movies and documentaries of serial killers.


  • Related article: "Criminal psychology: how is the mind of a serial killer?"

What is considered a serial killer?

A serial killer is a person who intentionally carries out, with premeditation and treachery, at least three homicides in a specific period of time that can vary enormously, being able to separate the murders by hours, months or even years.

This type of individuals usually lack a personal connection with the victim , being generally the murder product of the chance, the appearance of aggressive impulses in the assassin or the presence of certain characteristics in the victim that reminds him of phenomena or people of his life. Sometimes the crime is carried out for ideological reasons. It is not infrequent that they are psychopaths or suffer from antisocial personality disorder, being common elements the total or partial absence of empathy, the high level of seduction and manipulation capacity, a strong need for power and the presence of feelings of superiority.


The way in which these individuals act and the manner in which they commit the crimes tend to have a pattern that is repeated throughout the murders, including rituals and methods of execution and torture of the victims.

10 movies and documentaries about cases of serial killers

Here we present a series of films and documentaries that deal with concrete cases of serial killers . Most of them deal with real cases and events, although some of the films contain material that is only based on them or on novels that have dealt with the subject.

1. Manson, portrait of a murderer (Tom Gries)

Charles Manson is undoubtedly one of the best-known serial killers, although he did not physically participate in the crimes.

In this film based on its history, it can be seen how a sect of murderers would be known as "the Family" through which would commit a large number of murders, one of the best known being the murder of the actress Sharon Tate and four other people in the house of the actress.


2. The Iceman Tapes: Conversations with a Killer (Tom Spain, Arthur Ginsberg)

Richard Kuklinski, also known as Iceman because he froze the bodies of his victims in order to hinder the police tasks, it was a dangerous serial killer that killed more than a hundred people . Born in an aversive family atmosphere with a father and a mother who mistreated him and his brothers, he began his criminal career with thirteen years of age. Later he would be known to attack and kill numerous pedestrians or anyone who bothered him.

In time he would become a murderer in the service of different families belonging to the mafia. It was characterized by its extreme lack of empathy with its victims, which eliminated with great cruelty to later get rid of the bodies. In this documentary we can see interviews with this murderer during his stay in prison, where he would die in 2006.

3. Monster (Patty Jenkins)

This film released in 2003 is based on the story of Aileen Wuornos, guilty of the death of at least seven men . He did not know his parents, having committed suicide his father in prison and having been abandoned by his mother. She was left in the care of her grandparents, of whom she even claimed that she had been mistreated and sexually abused as a child. Later I would start to practice prostitution, and eventually to have various problems with justice.

His first victim was an ex-convict, about whom he declared that he had killed in self-defense after he had raped her. Later he would kill a total of six more men, according to his statements also in self-defense although the evidence collected and the state of the bodies did not seem to support that idea. It was executed in 2002.

4. Arropiero, the vagabond of death (Carles Balagué)

A documentary focused on the figure of Manuel Delgado Villegas, known as the Arropiero . This man is considered the greatest serial killer in Spain, having confessed to a total of 48 murders throughout the country and even in France. Of these seven were tested and twenty-two were considered credible.

Declared unimpeachable due to mental illness, he spent 25 years in psychiatric institutions until he was released against the opinion of various professionals. He died in begging, due to lung problems derived from his smoking.

5. Citizen X (Chris Gerolmo)

Film focused on the investigation of the murders carried out by the figure of Andrei Chikatilo , also known as the Rostov butcher. He is considered the worst serial killer in the Soviet Union, having been accused of killing after torturing and raping at least fifty-two women and children.

6. I Survived BTK (Marc Levitz)

Documentary centered on Dennis Rader, the self-styled killer BTK (Bound, Torture, Kill) because he first tied and then tortured and later killed his victims. Attacked a total of twelve people after finding satisfactory the feeling that caused him to end a human life, of which two managed to get out alive. In the documentary you can see his statements before the court and the relatives of the victims.

7. Zodiac (David Fincher)

Based on the case of the zodiac killer, which has been confirmed was responsible for the death or attack with intent to kill four men and three women in the United States. He left cryptic encrypted messages with which he mocked the police . The individual in question was never found, his identity still unknown.

8. Ted Bundy: The Killer of Women (Tom Seligson)

This documentary tells us about another of the best-known serial killers, Ted Bundy . This man murdered numerous women of different ages, having been blamed for fourteen deaths but the actual figure could reach a hundred. Ted Bundy had a tendency to attack women with long dark hair, apparently representing both his ex-girlfriend and his mother, who had left him.

It highlights the high level of charisma that he was able to deploy and his high capacity for manipulation, legally defending himself in the process against him. He was sentenced to death and executed in the electric chair.

9. The boy from Barro (Jorge Algora)

This recent film is based on the crimes of Cayetano Santos Gordino or Petiso Orejudo , the youngest serial killer in Argentina. This young man killed four children (the first of them when the author of the events was barely nine years old), in addition to trying to kill seven more people and burning as many buildings.

In the film a young man named Matthew has visions regarding the deaths of these children, the police coming to believe that it is the murderer.

10. The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme)

Although in this case we are not facing a film that is not based on any real case, it has been added to the list because the author of the original novel that would give it life was based on many profiles of serial killers to create the characters of Hannibal Lecter (inspired among others in Ted Bundy) and Buffalo Bill (the latter inspired by the murderer Ed Gein).

In the movie, the investigator Clarice Starling pursues the serial killer Buffalo Bill , for which it requests the help of another criminal imprisoned in prison, Hannibal Lecter, with the help of which it is intended to help understand and find the murderer.


Top 10 Films About Serial Killers (July 2024).


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