This is a tough list to compile. The fact that there are also films known as slashers which contain, in effect, serial murderers, further confuses matters. However, slashers are usually men or women with supernatural abilities, being able to live after being killed over and over again, growing knives out of their hands, appearing seemingly from nowhere, etc. Likewise, they usually have something drastically wrong with their face. I’ll make a list of those later. These are different films, more in the true crime department, than the scare the teenagers make fat bank at the box office department. Not to say that serial killer films are down in popularity. Fuck, we have Dexter, and Silence of the Lambs is known in every house hold. It’s the simplest and most dramatic act to be found, the taking of another’s life, and the psychological, societal, and legal reprocussions of such actions are extremely intriguing.
So, anyway, here is a list in no particular order for rank or chronology, of some films I’ve arbitrarily decided to throw onto a list format, to amuse myself. Oh, and I’ve decided to leave out documentaries, because I can make a seperate list of my favorites of those. Lists, lists, lists.
Now, there is the argument about whether Patrick Bateman actually killed anybody, due to the psycho part of the title. I’m a glass is half full kind of guy, so I say, he fucking did that shit! All of it! Obviously it is up to interpretation, but I say he got down and dirty, hence the 80’s businessman can dance on up to my list of violence.
The film was directed by Mary Harron, based off of the book by Brett Easton Ellis of the same name, and the screenplay was co-written by Mary Harron and Guinevere Turner. This flick has it all, laughs, gruesome deaths, business card face offs, and a delightful 80’s pop music score. Do you like Huey Lewis and the News?
Zodiac was directed by David Fincher, and adapted by James Vanderbilt from the book of the same name by Robert Graysmith. This film is not an over the top thrill ride, but rather delves into the facts of the case, and has us following Robert Graysmith, played by Jake Gyllenhal, as he tries to figure out who the elusive Zodiac killer really is.
It’s a fascinating true life case, that remains unsolved to this day. It’s damn scary, to think that this guy could still be out there; that he was that smart he could get away with killing many, many people, without leaving one clue. Also, much like American Psycho, the film leaves things up to interpretation, namely what the identity of Zodiac really happens to be. It does run a bit long, but I didn’t have a problem with it, as I was that invested in whether they would catch the fucker or not. I watched it before I’d read about the case, so I honestly wasn’t positive if they would catch someone. What the film lacks in action, it makes up for in sheer, and total, creepiness.
Also directed by David Fincher with a screenplay by Andrew Kevin Walker, Seven is not based on a true case, but is one over the top, disgusting, wonderful baby. Plus, Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt in the same movie as detectives, how awesome is that.
4.Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
I’m not even really sure why I like this film so much. I suspect, that it is Sigorney Weaver’s influence, coupled with the interesting thematic qualities in the story. Its got agoraphobia, a serial killer, an expert on serial killers, and a copycat killer.
Copycat was directed by Jon Amiel, and the screenplay was written by Ann Biderman and David Madsen. It’s a fun, if not entirely flawless, movie. A watch if you have the time kind of a film, but I’d probably only watch it after some of the other films on my list. It’s certainly not a horrible film, otherwise it wouldn’t be on my list. The list knows all.
Even though I understand why Alan Moore doesn’t want his name attached to this flick, as it’s very different from the graphic novel of the same name, I think that the film is quality, if not ripe with cliche. Fuck, if I was to pull the cliche card, all sorts of movies I like would be repeat offenders.
That being said, damnit, I like this movie. Directed by the Hughes brothers, with a screenplay written by Terry Hayes and Rafael Yglesias, it stars Johnny Depp as a detective who is on the hunt for Jack the Ripper.
It’s highly stylized, and you only get to see The Ripper in deep shadows, and his voice is very deep and otherworldly, when we do hear it. Also, Heather Graham shows a lot of cleavage. I’m sold!
7.Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Directed by Tom Tykwer, with a screenplay by Andrew Berkin, Bernd Eichinger, and Tom Tykwer, based on the novel Perfume by Patrick Suskind, Perfume is the story of a perfumer who discovers that he can use a process known as enfleurage to get the scent of a human, to put into his perfumes. Only problem is that he has to kill them first.
Certainly not your standard serial killer story, it is nonetheless about a man who kills people, a whole bunch in fact.
Written and directed by John Waters, and it stars Kathleen Turner as a killer mom. What’s not to love?!?
9.I Saw The Devil
This film, from South Korea, is one of my new favorite serial killer films. It’s as if an action movie and a serial killer flick mated, and gave birth to vicious, ass-kicking offspring. I believe its just been released on dvd, on amazon.
10.Natural Born Killers
Directed by Oliver Stone, with a screenplay by Oliver Stone, Dave Veloz, and Richard Rutowski, Natural Born Killers is a force to be reckoned with. It is batshit crazy, and that’s why I love it. Much the same reason I love Pig, they are just willing to go the distance to disturb. It’s definitely one of the best, if not the best, tag team of killers movie out there.