Top Ten Movie Serial Killers
After years of slasher/horror flicks gracing the big screen (most of which were sequels), these 10 serial killers stand out above the rest.
10. Chucky. Okay, the Child’s Play franchise has gone from all-out horror to comedy-horror over the course of five films, but any way you look at it, the Lakeshore Strangler is one mean SOB. Let’s also not forget Tiffany, Chucky’s wife, in Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky. Be prepared for Charles Lee Ray to return in a remake of the 1988 original.
9. Ghostface. With a mask inspired by Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream, Ghostface is actually five people over the course of three films. Scream, brought to us by Wes Craven, revitalized slasher flicks in the mid-90s. After two successful sequels, and the Scary Movie spoofs, Ghostface deserves to be on this list.
8. Michael Myers. John Carpenter brings us Mr. Myers, who killed his sister when he was a kid, went to a mental institution, escaped 15 years later and now kills people on Halloween. Originally in theaters in 1978, Halloween spawned seven sequels, not including a remake of the original by Rob Zombie. Another one is slated to be released by Zombie.
7. Jigsaw Killer. Unlike others, Jigsaw does not intend to murder. He wants to see if the victim has the will to survive, thus inflicting enough psychological trauma for them to appreciate their life and save themselves from their own demons. If anything, he’s doing them a favor. Saw VI will be out on the fall, but only the first one is must-see.
6. Freddy Kruger. Robert Englund plays the dream killer in the Nightmare on Elm Street series, also brought to us by Wes Craven. Kruger’s motives are to kill teenagers as revenge on their parents, who had burned him alive years before. Expect more Nightmares to come, but this time reportedly without Englund.
5. Jason Voorhees. Slashing up teens at Camp Crystal Lake through 12 Friday the 13th flicks (most recently a remake of the original), Jason did wonders for the old school hockey goalie mask. Met another legend, Freddy Kruger, in 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason (That was the most fun I ever had at the movies, as audience members were loudly cheering for their favorite of the two.) Unlike Kruger, Jason has a sad backstory, having been deformed and humiliated as a child. Eight of the Friday films came out in the 80s, 1 in the 90s, and 3 in the 00s.
4. Leatherface. Loosely based on real life killer Ed Gein, Leatherface is severely mentally retarded and disturbed, often using a chainsaw and sledgehammer to slaughter his victims. His family of fellow cannibals abuse him and tell him what to do. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre came out in 1974, the first in line of more slasher flicks to come. Six films have been made over the years, including a remake of the original in 2003.
3. John Doe. After killing five people who are, in fact, sinners, John Doe, played by Kevin Spacey, delivers a this-all-makes-sense monologue to Brad Pitt, justifying the murders and making the Seven audience nod along in agreement. But then he turns out to be a sinner himself, “envy,” to be exact, and completes his masterpiece with his own death by the hand of “wrath.” This is the only killer on this list in a stand-alone film.
2. Norman Bates. Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho, most notably the shower scene, set the tone for just about every serial killer made after that. The cross-dressing, momma-loving motel peeper was based on real life killer Ed Gein (Gein was only convicted of killing two, but his grave robbery and hobby of making trophies out of bones and skin made him arguably the top killer that influenced other very famous fictional serial killers.) Five movies have been released in this series, including an unnecessary remake of the original in 1998.
1. Hannibal Lecter. Lecter, played by Anthony Hopkins in three films (Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal and Red Dragon), was voted by The American Film Institute as the most memorable villain in film history. Why? Because the audience rooted for him, unlike his former patient, transvestite wanna-be woman killer Jame Gumb (also inspired by Gein). Lecter was popular even before his tragic backstory was told in 2007’s Hannibal Rising.
Yes, there are some I purposely left off, such as the guy in American Psycho, the Driftwoods in House of 1,000 Corpses, the Leprechaun, and many, many others. Argue amongst yourselves.