Serial killer movies based on true story – Serial killer movies are a subgenre of the crime and thriller film categories. They often focus on the life of a notorious serial killer and the investigations carried out by law enforcement to catch them. The genre has been popular since the late 1960s, starting with films such as “Psycho” and “Peeping Tom.”
These movies often provide a glimpse into the mind of the killer and their motivations, creating a psychological and suspenseful atmosphere for the audience. They can also explore societal and cultural issues, such as the psychology of violence and the media’s role in sensationalizing crimes.
Some popular examples of serial killer movies include “The Silence of the Lambs,” “Seven,” and “Zodiac.” These films have been praised for their intense storytelling, intricate plots, and captivating performances. However, it’s important to note that the genre can be controversial, as it can romanticize or glorify the actions of real-life serial killers.
Despite this, the genre continues to be popular, and new entries continue to be produced. Serial killer movies offer a unique blend of horror, mystery, and crime that appeals to audiences, who are both horrified and intrigued by the concept of serial murder. Whether it’s for the suspense, the drama, or the insight into the criminal mind, serial killer movies remain a staple of the film industry.
Here are our top 10 picks of Best serial killer movies based on true story:
Serial Killer Movies Based on True Story
1) Zodiac (2007)
Zodiac” is a 2007 American crime thriller film directed by David Fincher and based on the real-life Zodiac serial killer case of the late 1960s and 1970s in San Francisco. The film follows the investigations of a cartoonist and a reporter who try to uncover the identity of the notorious killer while working with police detectives. With a suspenseful and atmospheric tone, “Zodiac” explores the complexities of the case and the intense manhunt that followed.
The film features excellent performances, particularly from Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr., and has been praised for its meticulous attention to detail and accurate depiction of the events. “Zodiac” is considered one of the best serial killer films and is a must-watch for fans of the genre.
2) Monster (2003)
“Monster” is a 2003 American biographical crime drama film about the life of serial killer Aileen Wuornos, a former prostitute who murdered seven men in Florida between 1989 and 1990. The film stars Charlize Theron in a transformative performance as Wuornos, who was eventually executed in 2002. “Monster” offers a raw and unflinching look into the life of a woman who was driven to desperation and violence by a lifetime of abuse and neglect.
The film portrays Wuornos as a complex and multi-dimensional character, drawing attention to the social and personal factors that contributed to her crimes. “Monster” received widespread critical acclaim and won several awards, including the Academy Award for Best Actress for Theron. It is a powerful and haunting examination of a troubled life and the legacy of violence.
3) The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
“The Silence of the Lambs” is a 1991 American psychological horror-thriller film directed by Jonathan Demme. The film stars Jodie Foster as FBI trainee Clarice Starling and Anthony Hopkins as the infamous cannibalistic serial killer, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Clarice seeks Lecter’s help to catch another serial killer, known as Buffalo Bill.
The film is considered one of the greatest thrillers of all time and has won numerous awards, including five Academy Awards, Best Picture, and Best Actor for Hopkins. With its engaging script, spot-on direction, and memorable performances, “The Silence of the Lambs” is definitely one of the, if not the, best among the movies from the serial killer genre, blending horror, suspense, and crime into an intense film that still captivates audiences today.
4) Capote (2005)
“Capote” is a 2005 American biographical drama film directed by Bennett Miller. The film stars Philip Seymour Hoffman in an Academy Award-winning performance as Truman Capote, the renowned author of “In Cold Blood.” The film follows Capote as he travels to Kansas to research the brutal murder of a wealthy farmer and his family for his seminal work of non-fiction novel.
“Capote” offers a glimpse into the mind of the author as he becomes both fascinated and disturbed by the killers he interviews, and the film raises questions about the ethics of journalism and the boundaries of art. With a powerful lead performance and insightful exploration of the creative process, “Capote” is a brilliant watch that remains one of the best biographical dramas of the 21st century.
5) Memories of Murder (2003)
Memories of Murder” a 2003 South Korean crime drama film directed by Bong Joon-ho is based on a real-life serial murder case that occurred in the rural town of Hwaseong, South Korea in the late 1980s. The film follows the investigations of two detectives, who try to track down the serial killer while dealing with corruption, political pressure, and limited forensic technology.
With a blend of humor, suspense, and social commentary, “Memories of Murder” is a film that offers a unique perspective on the genre. The film has been widely praised for its direction, cinematography, and performances, and is considered a classic of South Korean cinema. “Memories of Murder” is a must-watch for fans of serial killer films and for anyone interested in the intersection of crime and culture.
6) Ted Bundy (2002)
“Ted Bundy” stars Michael Reilly Burke as Ted Bundy, the infamous American serial killer who murdered at least 30 women in the 1970s. The movie was directed by Matthew Bright. It offers a fictionalized account of Bundy’s life and crimes, exploring his early years, his relationships with women, and his eventual capture and trial.
While the film is not necessarily considered a masterpiece of the genre, it is a well-made and suspenseful film that offers a glimpse into the mind of one of America’s most notorious serial killers. “Ted Bundy” is a movie for fans of true crime movies and those interested in the history of serial murder. However, the film also takes creative liberties with the facts, and viewers should approach it with a critical eye.
7) The Boston Strangler (1968)
Directed by Richard Fleischer, “The Boston Strangler” is an American psychological crime thriller film that came out in the year 1968. The film is based on the true crime story of a serial killer who terrorized the city of Boston in the early 1960s by strangling several women in their homes. The film stars Tony Curtis as John Bottomly, a police detective tasked with investigating the murders, and Henry Fonda as Albert DeSalvo, the man who eventually confessed to being the Boston Strangler.
With its tense and suspenseful tone, “The Boston Strangler” is a well-made and engaging film that offers a glimpse into one of America’s most infamous serial killers. The film was well received upon its release by audiences and critics alike and is a benchmark of the crime thriller genre.
8) Snowtown (2011)
“Snowtown” is based on the true story of the Snowtown murders, a series of 11 gruesome killings that took place in South Australia in the 1990s. The movie is directed by Justin Kurzel and came out in the year 2011.
The film follows the relationship between 16-year-old Jamie and John Bunting, the charismatic and manipulative leader of a group of murderers. “Snowtown” offers a disturbing and uncompromising look into the lives of the killers, and the social and psychological factors that led to their crimes. The film was widely praised for its powerful direction and raw performances, but also criticized for its graphic violence. “Snowtown” is a difficult and challenging film that is not for the faint of heart, but it is an important and thought-provoking example of the roots of violence and evil.
9) My Friend Dahmer (2017)
Based on the graphic novel by John Backderf, who was a classmate of the infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, the movie “My Friend Dahmer” featured in 2017. Directed by the acclaimed director Marc Meyers, the film explores Dahmer’s high school years, his relationships with friends and family, and the early signs of his eventual descent into madness.
With its somber tone, “My Friend Dahmer” takes the viewers into the mind of the psychopathic serial killer and the events that led to him committing those crimes. The film was widely praised for its powerful direction and standout performances, particularly by Ross Lynch as Dahmer. The movie is definitely one of the favorites among the masses which was evident by the popularity of the show “Dahmer” which came out in 2022.
10) Ed Gein (2000)
Not for the faint of heart, Ed Gein, directed by Chuck Parello is based on true crimes committed by the notorious Ed Gein. He is amongst the most read cases when it comes to serial killers. He was known, infamously, for killing and body snatching in Wisconsin back in the 1950s.
The movie showcases Ed’s life before the turn of events, his relationships with his family and society. The tone of the movie can be too dark and disturbing for many as it is a very graphic movie, so viewer discretion is advised. It definitely fits well in the category of one of the best movies based on true crime stories.
The list can go on and on but this is our top 10 favorites for the best among a lot of movies based on true crimes and serial killers. These movies offer the viewers a look into the twisted brains of these killers and what psychological and sociological events led to them becoming such dreadful criminals.
Some of these movies do take creative freedom and mend a few facts but nevertheless display to a lot of extents the amount of pain and suffering these serial killers have caused. These movies are often very violent and graphic in nature, hence viewer discretion is always advised but all movie watchers will definitely enjoy these movies a lot.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are some of the best serial killer movies based on true stories?
Some of the best serial killer movies based on true stories include “The Silence of the Lambs,” “Zodiac,” “Capote,” “Monster,” and “Memories of Murder.”
How accurate are these movies based on true events?
While these movies are based on true events, they often take creative freedom and may not be completely accurate. It’s important to approach these films with a critical eye and keep in mind that they are often dramatized for entertainment purposes.
What are some common themes in serial killer movies based on true stories?
Common themes in serial killer movies based on true stories include the psychological motivations of the killers, the investigations and capture of the killers, and the impact of the crimes on the victims and their families.
Are these movies suitable for all ages?
No, these movies often contain graphic violence, explicit content, and adult themes. They are not suitable for all ages and may not be appropriate for younger viewers.
What are the best ways to watch these movies?
The best way to watch these movies is in a movie theater, on a large television screen, or on a streaming platform such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. It’s also a good idea to watch them in a well-lit room and with a trusted friend or family member.
Which is the best serial killer movie?
It is subjective to determine the best serial killer movie as personal preferences vary. However, “The Silence of the Lambs” is widely considered a classic and is highly praised for its gripping storyline, powerful performances, and tense atmosphere.
Is 15 Killing based on a true story?
Yes, apparently it is based on real-life events of a German serial killer.