10 Disturbing Biopics About Serial Killers (2023)


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Coming up:

10. The Hillside Strangler
9. The Tenderness of the Wolves
8. Karla
7. Dahmer
6. The Boston Strangler
5. Killer: A Journal of Murder
4. The Deliberate Stranger
3. The Snowtown Murders
2. Monster
1. Henry: Portrait of Serial Killer

Source/Further reading:



In, many serial killer movies, the focus of the plot is on the police, trying to catch the psychotic perpetrator.


Killers are usually depicted as shadowy creatures who generally turn out to be the last person you expect., The films on this list are different, because the main character is the serial killer.

Even more terrifying.

They are based on real people.

By making the killer, the main character, the filmmakers can explore their backgrounds, motives, and crimes.

These films are also a reminder that the individuals who committed these monstrous crimes are just real, everyday people.


They are all very disturbed human beings., That said, keep an eye on your neighbor, two houses.


He looks pretty shifty, come to think of it…, 10., The, Hillside, Strangler, On, October, 17, 1977, cousins, Angelo, Buono and Kenneth Bianchi killed their first victim, who was a prostitute that they strangled to death.

The pair would go on to kill nine more young women in Los Angeles.

And then the murders came to a sudden end in February of 1978.

It was at this point that the pair of serial killers had drifted apart and Bianchi had moved to Washington to pursue a job on the Bellingham.

Police force., He didn’t get the job.

And instead worked as a security guard in the area.


His cousin, Bianchi killed two more young women and was arrested after witnesses, placed him with the victims.

It wasn’t long before Bianchi.

And his cousin were charged in the Hillside Strangler murders., Both were convicted.

And given life sentences.

Buono had a heart attack and died in 2002.

While Bianchi is still serving his sentence.

A retelling of the crimes that focuses on the two men who performed the murders is the ugly and rather unpleasant 2004, film, The, Hillside, Strangler., The, film, which stars C.

Thomas, Howell as Bianchi and Nicholas Turturro as Buono, starts when Bianchi moved from New York to California to live with his cousin.

The film shows how quickly things spun out of control for the two men and how terrifying their crimes were.


The Tenderness of the Wolves One of the most vicious serial killers of all time was active between 1918 and 1924 in Hanover, Germany.

And his name was Fritz Haarmann.

Out of all the killers on this list.

His crimes are probably the most graphic.

They are so graphic we can’t even write about them.


One thing we can say for sure is that Haarmann definitely earned his nickname.

The Werewolf of Hanover.

He was convicted of murdering 24, young boys.

But the true number of his victims is believed to be 27.

He was executed in April of 1925.

Haarmann’s story is the inspiration for the classic 1931.

German film directed by Fritz Lang, M., One of the reasons the film is so memorable is because of Peter Lorre’s terrifying depiction of Hans Beckert, who is based on Haarmann.

A film that focuses more on Haarmann and is based on his actual crimes is The Tenderness of the Wolves, which was released in 1973.

The film takes a few liberties with the story, such as changing the time period to post-World War II.

And it is a bit artsy.

But nevertheless, it is an unsettling film about a very disturbed man., 8., Karla, On, October, 17, 1987, 17-year-old Karla Homolka, met 23-year-old Paul Bernardo at a hotel restaurant in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada.

At, the time of their meeting.

And while they dated, Bernardo committed a series of sexual assaults in the area.

Then things escalated when the couple got engaged, and they killed two young girls.


They accidentally killed Homolka’s.

Younger sister, two days before Christmas in 1990.

And then they kidnapped and murdered a teenaged girl.

Two weeks before they were set to be married;.

Her body was found on the day of their wedding.

Almost, a year later, in April of 1992.

They kidnap and killed their third victim.


They were arrested.

The Crown Attorney made an extremely controversial plea deal with Homolka., She testified against Bernardo and only got a 12 year sentence for her roles in the vicious crimes.

Bernardo was convicted and will most likely die in prison.


The deal was made, videotapes of the murders were handed over to the police; Bernardo’s lawyer, retrieved them from the couple’s house and held on to them for 16 months., “The, Ken and Barbie Killers” made headlines around the world.

Because the story is as enthralling as it is disturbing.

There has been one attempt to turn the story into a movie, and that’s 2006’s Karla, which stars Laura Prepon as Homolka and Misha Collins as Bernardo.

A lot of critics, especially those in the Canadian media, condemned, the film for being exploitative.

And there is definitely a lot of truth to that.

Because the film is fairly shallow.

What makes the film so disturbing is that it reminds us that two people came together to kidnap and brutally murder.

Two innocent girls after Homolka caused the death of her own younger sister and saw how that tragedy affected her own family.

Homolka was released on July 4, 2005, after serving her 12-year sentence.

It was revealed in 2014 that Homolka was living in Quebec, Canada, with her new husband.

This was made public at the trial of another notorious Canadian, killer, Luka, Magnotta.

Magnotta, who was arrested for the May of 2012, murder of his roommate, had mailed another of Homolka’s siblings, a “special” package – containing parts from one of his victims, leading to the sister being called to testify in Magnotta’s trial., 7., Dahmer, One of America’s, most notorious and vicious serial killers is Jeffrey.


Dahmer got his start at 18-years-old when he killed a hitchhiker at his parents’ home.

After that initial murder, Dahmer didn’t kill again until September of 1987, and sadly.

This time, he wouldn’t stop on his own.

Before Dahmer was captured in July of 1991.

He murdered 16 men.


There are serial killers who were more prolific than Dahmer.

He became notorious because of what he did to his victims, and how he treated their remains.

This included dissection and cannibalism, among other terrible, acts.

When, the police searched, his apartment, they found body parts littered throughout it that Dahmer kept as souvenirs.

Dahmer was sentenced to 15 life sentences and then killed by a fellow inmate two years into his sentence.

In 1994.

There are a few films featuring Dahmer.

But the best one is the aptly titled Dahmer and was one of the first starring roles for Jeremy Renner.

One thing you will probably notice is that Renner looks nothing like Jeffrey.



Good news is that you’ll soon forget that because of how good Renner’s acting is., Renner, portrays Dahmer as a normal, everyday person on the surface.

But you can tell there is something off about him.


An excellent example of showing the humanity of a very disturbed human being who committed some truly monstrous acts.

In, fact, Renner was so good as Dahmer that it caught the eye of director, Kathryn Bigelow., Because of his work in Dahmer, Bigelow, cast Renner as the lead in her 2006, film, The, Hurt Locker, which propelled him to stardom.

6., The, Boston, Strangler, Between, June of 1962 and January of 1964.

13 women, mostly elderly, were strangled to death in their homes in Boston.

It is believed that all the murders were committed by one person, who was dubbed the Boston Strangler.

The person suspected to be the Boston Strangler, but who was never convicted, was Albert DeSalvo.

A strange man with an odd criminal history.

There are a lot of questions regarding whether DeSalvo was the murderer of all 13 women.

He never stood trial for the crimes;.

He was murdered by an unknown assailant in prison.

While awaiting trial.


He died, he confessed to all 13 murders.

And then later, recanted.

He was only linked with DNA to the last victim in 2013, 50 years after the crime took place, meaning.

He is most likely responsible for at least one murder., Whether, DeSalvo killed all the women or not is still debatable.

What is known is that DeSalvo was an interesting character.


Many other serial killers.

He had a tough upbringing.

And as an adult had strong, bizarre, urges.

In, the film The Boston Strangler, which was released four years after DeSalvo’s death.

He was played by Tony Curtis.

Curtis, garnered a Golden Globe nomination for the role.

The film is also notable, because it uses an interesting film technique called split-screen, which rose to popularity in the 1960s.

A lot of the story is told on as many as six different screens at a time.

5., Killer:, A Journal of Murder Born in June of 1891 in Minnesota, Carl Panzam never had a good life and grew up hating everyone, including himself.

Panzam’s father left at a young age.

And when he was older, he was beaten and tortured at a boys’ home and ran away when he was 14.

As, an adult, while serving a sentence for burglary, Panzam was tortured by prison officials, multiple times and left in solitary confinement for 61 days.

He tried to escape twice and succeeded on his second attempt.

He moved to New York.

And in 1920, he began his killing spree.

In total.

He murdered at least 20 men and supposedly, sexually assaulted.

1,000 other men and teenagers before he was arrested.

He was convicted and given 25 years in prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.

In June of 1929.

He killed the foreman of the prison laundry and was sentenced to death.

One thing that people could say for sure about Panzam was that he was an angry man.

And he would maintain that anger to his very last minutes on Earth., On, September, 5, 1930, as he stood on the platform waiting to be hanged.

He said, “I wish all mankind had one neck.

So I could choke it!”.

His final words were directed to the executioner.

The hangman asked Panzam.

If he had any words and Panzam replied, “Yes, hurry.

It up, you Hoosier bastard!, I could kill ten men while you’re fooling around!” While on death row.

One of the guards, Henry, Lesser, befriended, Panzam and Lesser realized that no one had ever been kind or nice to Panzam in his entire life.


They got to know each other more, Lesser got Panzam, some writing materials, and Panzam spent his time on death row, writing his autobiography.

Due to the violent nature of Panzam’s life.

The memoir was too lurid to be published at the time.

It wouldn’t be published until 1970, and then a movie that was based on his writings, Killer:.

A Journal of Murder was released with James Woods staring as Panzam in 1995.

4., The, Deliberate, Stranger, Arguably.

The most famous American serial killer is Ted, Bundy., Between, 1974 and 1978, Bundy brutally murdered at least 30 women in seven different states.


The brutality of the crimes, another shocking part about Bundy was that he was the exact opposite of what people thought a monster would look like.

He was smart, handsome, and charming to most people who knew him.

But just below the surface.

He was a vicious killer who committed heinous crimes against a lot of innocent women.

What makes Bundy’s story.

Even worse is that he escaped custody twice and killed more women while he was on the lam.

This included, the brutal attack on a sorority house in Florida that left two young women dead.

And a third seriously, injured.

Bundy was convicted of 33 murders, and was executed on January 24, 1989., In.

The excellent 1984, made-for-TV movie about Bundy, The, Deliberate, Stranger, Mark, Harmon, of N.C.I.S, fame, plays Bundy.


The two part movie, Harmon is charming and very convincing as Bundy.

He showed how easy it was for Bundy to use his looks and charisma as a weapon to lure many of his victims to their deaths.


The, Snowtown, Murders, John, Bunting of Snowtown.

Australia, was a self-appointed neighborhood watchman who took things too far.

With, the help of his young neighbors.

He used as a gang, Bunting and his accomplices brutally tortured, murdered, and even cannibalized 11 people.

After, the murders, the remains of eight of the victims were sealed in barrels with acid and left in a vacant building.

The case, which became known as the “Bodies in Barrels Murders” shocked Australia when they were exposed in 1999.


Shock of the crimes is translated well into one of the most critically acclaimed horror movies to come out of Australia in the past decade, The, Snowtown, Murders., The, bleak and ugly film follows 16-year-old Jamie Vlassakis.

A troubled young man who finds a father figure in Bunting.

The film is so haunting because it shows how devastationg it can be when a psychopath has a chance to influence a mind that is young, vulnerable, and malleable.

Bunting was sentenced to 11 consecutive life.

Sentences without the chance of parole.

Vlassakis was given a life sentence without the chance of parole for 26 years.

2., Monster, To say that Aileen Wuornos had a miserable childhood would be a vast understatement.

At, a young age, her father killed himself in prison.

And her mother abandoned her.

She was sexually abused by her grandfather, who had taken her in, and then worked most of her life as a sex worker.

Between 1989 and 1991.

She lured at least seven men to remote areas off the highways in Florida, where she shot them to death and robbed them.

At her trial.

She said that all the murders were in self-defense, but she was found guilty and sentenced to death.

While in prison, Wuornos seemed to become more mentally ill.

As time went on.


The many questions surrounding her state of mind, Wuornos was executed on October, 9, 2002.

Monster, which was released in 2003, stars, Charlize Theron as Wuornos, who won an Academy Award for her transformative.


When, Roger Ebert saw the movie.

He didn’t know who it starred and was surprised to see in the credits that it was Theron.

The film was hailed for not glamorizing or sensationalizing.

The crimes, like some media outlets did at the time of her trial.

The film shows that the murders were violent and ugly acts committed by a very damaged and lost soul.


Henry:, Portrait of Serial, Killer Henry:, Portrait of a Serial Killer is one of the most controversial movies of all time.

It was originally shot in 1985.

But since it was so graphic and disturbing, the filmmakers couldn’t find a distributor.


It was finally released in 1986.

It was rated X, and by 1990, it was being shown unrated at midnight showings, where it gathered a cult following.

Film critics like Gene, Siskel, Roger, Ebert, and Peter Travers argued that the rating system of movies should be changed to accommodate films like Henry.


It is a very graphic and disturbing film.

But the film is based on real people who committed real crimes.

They pointed out that young people who find an adult to accompany them to the theater are able to see slasher films with much higher body counts than Henry.

And the murders seem inconsequential.

But adults don’t have a venue to see a movie where murders are treated seriously and examine a real societal problem like serial killers in a stark and truthful.


The film is based on the life and fantasies of serial killer, Henry, Lee, Lucas, who befriended a drifter named Ottis Toole.

Henry, isn’t exactly non-fiction, as it’s more about Lucas’, unconfirmed murders.

But the characters share a number of similar biographical, information., For, example, Lucas and Toole did team up for awhile in 1975.


Also dated Toole’s sister for a short time.


The body count in the film is much higher than Lucas and Toole’s confirmed, victims.

After being arrested, Lucas and Toole.

Claimed they killed hundreds.

If not thousands of people.

Police were only able to confirm that Lucas claimed 11 victims and Toole was convicted of six murders.

Police believe that one of Toole’s murders, which he was never convicted of, was of Adam Walsh.

The son of America’s, Most, Wanted host, John, Walsh., Both, men died of natural causes in prison: Toole in September of 1996, and Lucas in March of 2001..


Who is the sickest serial killer ever? ›

  • Ted Bundy (1946-1989) ...
  • Harold Shipman (1946-2004) ...
  • Andrei Chikatilo (1936- 1994) ...
  • Jeffrey Dahmer (1960- 1994) ...
  • Albert Fish (1870-1936) ...
  • John Wayne Gacy (1942-1994) ...
  • Jack the Ripper (Unidentified Serial Killer ∼1888) ...
  • Joachim Kroll (1933-1991)

Who are the top 10 worst serial killers? ›

The following list explores some of the most notorious serial killers the world has ever known.
  • Jack the Ripper. ...
  • Jeffrey Dahmer. ...
  • Harold Shipman. ...
  • John Wayne Gacy. ...
  • H.H. Holmes. ...
  • Pedro Lopez. ...
  • Ted Bundy.

Who was the creepiest serial killer? ›

The List: Scariest Serial Killers of All Time, Per Crime Experts
  • Ted Bundy. Ted Bundy was an American serial killer and rapist who was active in the 1970s. ...
  • Jeffery Dahmer. ...
  • John Wayne Gacy. ...
  • Ed Gein. ...
  • Andrei Chikatilo.
Apr 23, 2023

Who is the number 1 serial killer in the US? ›

Samuel Little
Known forBeing the most prolific serial killer in United States history by number of confirmed victims
Conviction(s)Murder (x4)
Criminal penaltyLife sentences without the possibility of parole (x4)
11 more rows

Who was the most cold hearted killer? ›

Carl Panzram was considered the most cold-blooded killer in history, not only because of the crimes he committed or the nature of them, but majorly because he never felt bad for them!

Who is the hottest male serial killer? ›

Ted Bundy was one of the most prolific and notorious serial killers in American history. He confessed to murdering at least 36 women, in at least six states, most during the 1970s. Some estimates put the number of his victims as high as 100. But to many people, he was also one of the sexiest serial murderers.

Who is the most brutal horror movie killer? ›

10 Horror Movie Villains With the Most Kills, Ranked by Their Kill Count
  1. 1 Pinhead — 'Hellraiser' Franchise — 321+ Kills.
  2. 2 Jason Voorhees — 'Friday the 13th' Franchise — 163+ Victims. ...
  3. 3 Michael Myers — 'Halloween' Franchise — 160+ Victims. ...
  4. 4 The Invisible Man — 'The Invisible Man' (1933) — 122 Victims. ...
Mar 22, 2023

Which serial killers ate their victims? ›

Some murderers, such as Albert Fish, Boone Helm, Andrei Chikatilo, and Jeffrey Dahmer, are known to have devoured their victims after killing them.

Who is the most mysterious killer? ›

  • Bible John.
  • The Alphabet Killer.
  • The West Mesa Bone Collector.
  • Servant Girl Annihilator.
  • The Long Island Killer.
  • The Black Doodler.
  • The Zodiac Killer.
  • Jack the Ripper.
Nov 8, 2022

Has there ever been a female serial killer? ›

The FBI did not recognize female serial killers until the 1990s. They called these crimes sexual killing, and sexual killing is almost always indicative of a male murderer. But there are well-known women who murdered far more victims than men did. Jolly Jane Toppan was a nurse in Boston in the late 1800s.

Who was the youngest serial killer? ›

Eight-year-old Amarjeet Sada was all smiles when he was brought to the police station in 2007 in connection with the murder of an infant. Sada, known as the world's youngest serial killer, was held after three murders, two of which went unreported.

What city has the most serial killers? ›

New York. Coming in at number one, we have New York. As of 2023, New York has been home to 18 serial killers, and has a total number of 677 serial killer victims.

How many black serial killers are there? ›

In addition, 82 percent of American serial killers were white, 15 percent were black, and 2.5 percent were Hispanic.

How many female serial killers are there? ›

It is estimated that there have been over 400 female serial killers throughout history with an average age at arrest being 33 years old and African Americans accounting for 20%.

Who was the fastest serial killer? ›

Benjamin Atkins was the fastest serial killer in American history, murdering eleven women in nine months and leaving their bodies scattered among the ruins of Detroit.

Who was the best female serial killer? ›

10 Most Deadly Female Serial Killers of All Time
  • Aileen Wuornos.
  • Jane Toppan.
  • Juana Barraza.
  • Amelia Dyer.
  • Dorothea Puente.
  • Nannie Doss.
  • Judias Buenoano (also known as Judy Buenoano)
  • Gesche Gottfried.
Dec 23, 2022

Who is the highest female serial killer? ›

Elizabeth Bathory. Elizabeth Bathory has been called the most prolific female killer of all time. Between 1590 and 1610, she allegedly tortured and murdered up to 650 girls and young women.

Who do serial killers target most? ›

As mentioned, most serial killers target vulnerable people. These are often young people who have high-risk lifestyles, especially sex workers.

Who is the strongest serial killer in movies? ›

Freddy Krueger famously wields the ability to murder people in their dreams. Once he's inside a person's dream, he is essentially all-powerful. Krueger can transform into anything he sets his mind to in the dream world, and he doesn't have to worry about dying while his target's asleep.

Who is the scariest slasher? ›

#1: Jason Voorhees from “Friday the 13th”

These strengths have contributed to Jason having some of the highest kill counts in horror movie history. Having his own crossover movie with another iconic villain, Freddy Krueger, further proves his legacy.

Who has the most kills Michael Myers or Jason? ›

Given how many movies he has, many believe Voorhees has the highest horror movie kill count. However, the spot of the slasher with the most kills now belongs to Michael Myers, thanks to Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends.

Which serial killer ate hearts? ›

According to reports, Dahmer stashed Miller's skeleton in a filing cabinet while placing his heart, biceps and pieces of his legs in the freezer to eat later. In interviews with FBI agents, Dahmer admitted that he had eaten some of his victims' hearts, along with livers and thigh meat.

Who is the first serial killer? ›

H.H. Holmes, byname of Herman Mudgett, (born May 16, 1861?, Gilmanton, New Hampshire, U.S.—died May 7, 1896, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), American swindler and confidence trickster who is widely considered the country's first known serial killer.

What famous serial killers were abused? ›

Serial killer duo Ottis Toole and Henry Lee Lucas, who were believed to have murdered hundreds of people, were both victims of physical and psychological abuse. Specifically, they were made to dress up as young girls and then beaten.

Who is the most beautiful serial killer? ›

Paul John Knowles a.k.a. The Casanova Killer

This breathtakingly gorgeous man is classified as a ' spree killer. ' He was first sent to jail at the age of 19 for theft. However, after that he spent six months in jail every year on some account or another. He is accused of having killed 19 people.

Who was the worst female serial killer of all time? ›

Aileen Carol Wuornos (/ˈwɔːrnoʊs/; born Pittman; February 29, 1956 – October 9, 2002) was an American serial killer.

Who was the first female serial killer put to death? ›

Aileen Wuornos, 46, was executed by lethal injection on Oct. 9, 2002, for the deaths of six men along Central Florida highways in 1989 and 1990. She was known as America's first female serial killer.

Who was the oldest lady serial killer? ›

Juana Barraza
Children4 (1 deceased)
Criminal penalty759 years
10 more rows

What famous serial killer had a normal childhood? ›

There are however some very famous serial killers such as Ted Bundy, Jeffery Dahmer, Richard Storlett and Paul Bernardo. These killers seem to be the nature side of the equation. Each one of these killers recall having a very loving and normal childhood. According to Ted Bundy, he had an “uneventful childhood”.

Who was the biggest child serial killer? ›

Luis Garavito
Victims193+ (142 convicted)
Span of crimes1992–1999
CountryColombia Ecuador Venezuela
State(s)Valle del Cauca, Boyacá, Meta, Quindío, Risaralda, Cundinamarca, Nariño, Huila, Caquetá, Antioquia and Caldas, Chone (Ecuador)
10 more rows

What state has the least serial killers? ›

The remaining states have one or two serial killers born in the state, except for Nebraska, Nevada, and Wyoming, which have none.

What state has the most murders? ›

Louisiana is currently the state with the highest murder rate in the US, with a rate that stands at 22.9 homicides per 100,000 people. This puts Louisiana at more than double the overall national average and far above other states in terms of homicide rates.

What state has the most crime? ›

The most dangerous state in the US is Alaska, having the highest combined violent and property crime rate out of any state. Out of a population of 736,081, Alaska's crime rate was 32.14 per 1,000 people in 2022, making it the state with the highest crime rate.

Who was the first female serial killer? ›

Aileen Wuornos, 46, was executed by lethal injection on Oct. 9, 2002, for the deaths of six men along Central Florida highways in 1989 and 1990. She was known as America's first female serial killer.

Which serial killer put bodies in acid? ›

On 6 September 1944, McSwan disappeared. Haigh later admitted he had lured McSwan into a basement on Gloucester Road, hit him over the head with a lead pipe, and then put his body in a 40-imperial-gallon (180 L; 48 US gal) drum with concentrated sulphuric acid.

Who has the most serial killer in the world? ›

The database tracks serial killings all the way back to 1900 and includes serial killers from over 115 countries. The U.S. leads the rest of the world in documented serial killers, with a whopping 3,613 serial killers as of 2020 (England is not-so-close second, with known 176 serial killers as of 2020).

Who is the youngest serial killer girl? ›

Amarjeet Sada: The Eight-Year-Old 'Sadist' Who Became The World's Youngest Serial Killer.

Who was the most horrible female serial killer? ›

Aileen Carol Wuornos (/ˈwɔːrnoʊs/; born Pittman; February 29, 1956 – October 9, 2002) was an American serial killer. In 1989–1990, while engaging in street prostitution along highways in Florida, she shot dead and robbed seven of her male clients.

Who is the most successful serial killer? ›

The most prolific modern serial killer is arguably doctor Harold Shipman, with 218 probable murders and possibly as many as 250 (see "Medical professionals", below). However, he was actually convicted of a sample of 15 murders.

What American serial killer used human skin? ›

Edward Theodore Gein (/ɡiːn/; August 27, 1906 – July 26, 1984), also known as the Butcher of Plainfield or the Plainfield Ghoul, was an American murderer and body snatcher.

What serial killer kept skin? ›

What did police find in Ed Gein's house during the investigation? During the police investigation of the disappearance case of Bernice Worden in 1957, they found that Ed Gein had systematically robbed graves and collected body parts, which he used to make household items, clothing, and masks.

What serial killer was caught by DNA? ›

DNA evidence linked DeAngelo to eight murders in Goleta, Ventura, Dana Point, and Irvine; two other murders in Goleta, lacking DNA evidence, were linked by modus operandi.

What month are the most serial killers born? ›

Welcome to November, the month when, according to some studies, serial killers and mass murderers are most likely to be born.

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