The 50 best serial killer movies

by norok99 | created - 19 Feb 2011 | updated - 05 Jan 2015 | Public
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1. Se7en (1995)

R | 127 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

65 Metascore

Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his motives.

Director: David Fincher | Stars: Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, Andrew Kevin Walker

Votes: 1,186,077 | Gross: $100.13M

2. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

R | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

85 Metascore

A young F.B.I. cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.

Director: Jonathan Demme | Stars: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney, Kasi Lemmons

Votes: 1,038,998 | Gross: $130.74M

3. Taxi Driver (1976)

R | 114 min | Crime, Drama

93 Metascore

A mentally unstable veteran works as a nighttime taxi driver in New York City, where the perceived decadence and sleaze fuels his urge for violent action, while attempting to liberate a twelve-year-old prostitute.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd, Albert Brooks

Votes: 590,133 | Gross: $28.26M

4. Psycho (1960)

R | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

97 Metascore

A Phoenix secretary embezzles $40,000 from her employer's client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin

Votes: 493,493 | Gross: $32.00M

5. Zodiac (2007)

R | 157 min | Crime, Drama, History

78 Metascore

In the late 1960s/early 1970s, a San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac Killer, an unidentified individual who terrorizes Northern California with a killing spree.

Director: David Fincher | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards

Votes: 360,360 | Gross: $33.08M

6. American Psycho (2000)

R | 102 min | Crime, Drama

64 Metascore

A wealthy New York investment banking executive, Patrick Bateman, hides his alternate psychopathic ego from his co-workers and friends as he delves deeper into his violent, hedonistic fantasies.

Director: Mary Harron | Stars: Christian Bale, Justin Theroux, Josh Lucas, Bill Sage

Votes: 404,288 | Gross: $15.07M

7. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

R | 83 min | Horror

75 Metascore

Two siblings and three of their friends en route to visit their grandfather's grave in Texas end up falling victim to a family of cannibalistic psychopaths.

Director: Tobe Hooper | Stars: Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal, Allen Danziger, Paul A. Partain

Votes: 111,883 | Gross: $30.86M

8. The Brave One (2007)

R | 122 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

56 Metascore

Struggling to recover emotionally from a brutal assault that killed her fiancé and left her in a coma, a radio personality begins a quest for vengeance against the perpetrators that leaves a bloody trail across New York City.

Director: Neil Jordan | Stars: Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard, Naveen Andrews, Nicky Katt

Votes: 53,797 | Gross: $36.79M

9. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

Unrated | 83 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

80 Metascore

Henry, a drifter, commits a series of brutal murders, supposedly operating with impunity.

Director: John McNaughton | Stars: Michael Rooker, Tracy Arnold, Tom Towles, Mary Demas

Votes: 26,322 | Gross: $0.61M

10. Badlands (1973)

PG | 94 min | Crime, Drama

90 Metascore

An impressionable teenage girl from a dead-end town and her older greaser boyfriend embark on a killing spree in the South Dakota badlands.

Director: Terrence Malick | Stars: Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek, Warren Oates, Ramon Bieri

Votes: 54,278

11. Mr. Brooks (2007)

R | 120 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

45 Metascore

A psychological thriller about a man who is sometimes controlled by his murder-and-mayhem-loving alter ego.

Director: Bruce A. Evans | Stars: Kevin Costner, Demi Moore, William Hurt, Dane Cook

Votes: 132,111 | Gross: $28.48M

12. Memories of Murder (2003)

Not Rated | 132 min | Action, Crime, Drama

82 Metascore

In a small Korean province in 1986, three detectives struggle with the case of multiple young women being found raped and murdered by an unknown culprit.

Director: Joon-ho Bong | Stars: Kang-ho Song, Sang-kyung Kim, Roe-ha Kim, Jae-ho Song

Votes: 89,157 | Gross: $0.01M

13. Natural Born Killers (1994)

R | 118 min | Crime, Drama

74 Metascore

Two victims of traumatized childhoods become lovers and psychopathic serial murderers irresponsibly glorified by the mass media.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Tom Sizemore, Rodney Dangerfield

Votes: 190,822 | Gross: $50.28M

14. La madre muerta (1993)

105 min | Drama, Thriller

A criminal, shoots and kills a painting restorer during a bungled burglary, and shoots her daughter as well. Twenty years later, the daughter has been left mute and with a mental age of a child, spending most of her time in a mental home.

Director: Juanma Bajo Ulloa | Stars: Karra Elejalde, Ana Álvarez, Lio, Silvia Marsó

Votes: 870

15. The Pledge (I) (2001)

R | 124 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

71 Metascore

A retiring police chief pledges to catch the killer of a young child.

Director: Sean Penn | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Benicio Del Toro, Patricia Clarkson, Beau Daniels

Votes: 47,037 | Gross: $19.72M

16. Red Dragon (2002)

R | 124 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

60 Metascore

A retired F.B.I. Agent with psychological gifts, is assigned to help track down "The Tooth Fairy", a mysterious serial killer. Aiding him, is imprisoned forensic psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter.

Director: Brett Ratner | Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Harvey Keitel

Votes: 221,017 | Gross: $93.15M

17. Frenzy (1972)

R | 116 min | Thriller

A serial murderer is strangling women with a necktie. The London police have a suspect, but he is the wrong man.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Jon Finch, Barry Foster, Barbara Leigh-Hunt, Anna Massey

Votes: 34,880

18. Monster (2003)

R | 109 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

74 Metascore

Based on the life of Aileen Wuornos, a Daytona Beach prostitute who became a serial killer.

Director: Patty Jenkins | Stars: Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci, Bruce Dern, Lee Tergesen

Votes: 117,862 | Gross: $34.47M

19. I Saw the Devil (2010)

Not Rated | 142 min | Action, Drama, Horror

67 Metascore

A secret agent exacts revenge on a serial killer through a series of captures and releases.

Director: Jee-woon Kim | Stars: Byung-Hun Lee, Min-sik Choi, Joon-hyeok Lee, In-seo Kim

Votes: 85,898 | Gross: $0.13M

20. Citizen X (1995 TV Movie)

R | 105 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

During the 1980s, Soviet authorities hunt for a serial killer who picks his victims in railway stations and commuter trains and lures them into the woods.

Director: Chris Gerolmo | Stars: Stephen Rea, Donald Sutherland, Max von Sydow, Jeffrey DeMunn

Votes: 14,208

21. M (1931)

Not Rated | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Peter Lorre, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut, Otto Wernicke

Votes: 117,799 | Gross: $0.03M

22. Manhunter (1986)

R | 120 min | Crime, Horror, Mystery

78 Metascore

Former FBI profiler Will Graham returns to service to pursue a deranged serial murderer named "the Tooth Fairy" by the media.

Director: Michael Mann | Stars: William Petersen, Kim Greist, Joan Allen, Brian Cox

Votes: 55,971 | Gross: $8.62M

23. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

Not Rated | 118 min | Comedy, Crime, Thriller

A drama critic learns on his wedding day that his beloved maiden aunts are homicidal maniacs, and that insanity runs in his family.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane, Raymond Massey, Jack Carson

Votes: 59,009

24. Death Proof (2007)

Not Rated | 113 min | Action, Thriller

Two separate sets of voluptuous women are stalked at different times by a scarred stuntman who uses his "death proof" cars to execute his murderous plans.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Kurt Russell, Zoë Bell, Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Ferlito

Votes: 231,337

25. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

R | 116 min | Drama, Horror, Musical

83 Metascore

The infamous story of Benjamin Barker, aka Sweeney Todd, who sets up a barber shop in London which is the basis for a sinister partnership with his fellow tenant, Mrs. Lovett.

Director: Tim Burton | Stars: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall

Votes: 308,900 | Gross: $52.90M

26. The Chaser (2008)

Not Rated | 125 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

64 Metascore

A disgraced ex-policeman who runs a small ring of prostitutes finds himself in a race against time when one of his women goes missing.

Director: Hong-jin Na | Stars: Yoon-Seok Kim, Jung-woo Ha, Yeong-hie Seo, Yoo-Jeong Kim

Votes: 44,988

27. Cruising (1980)

R | 102 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A police detective goes undercover in the underground S&M gay subculture of New York City to catch a serial killer who is preying on gay men.

Director: William Friedkin | Stars: Al Pacino, Paul Sorvino, Karen Allen, Richard Cox

Votes: 15,239 | Gross: $19.80M

28. Hannibal (2001)

R | 131 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

57 Metascore

Living in exile, Hannibal Lecter tries to reconnect with now disgraced F.B.I. Agent Clarice Starling, and finds himself a target for revenge from a powerful victim.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman, Ray Liotta

Votes: 226,781 | Gross: $165.09M

29. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006)

R | 147 min | Crime, Drama, Fantasy

56 Metascore

Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, born with a superior olfactory sense, creates the world's finest perfume. His work, however, takes a dark turn as he searches for the ultimate scent.

Director: Tom Tykwer | Stars: Ben Whishaw, Dustin Hoffman, Alan Rickman, Francesc Albiol

Votes: 208,815 | Gross: $2.22M

30. God Bless America (2011)

R | 105 min | Comedy, Crime

56 Metascore

On a mission to rid society of its most repellent citizens, terminally ill Frank makes an unlikely accomplice in 16-year-old Roxy.

Director: Bobcat Goldthwait | Stars: Joel Murray, Tara Lynne Barr, Mackenzie Brooke Smith, Melinda Page Hamilton

Votes: 64,238 | Gross: $0.12M

31. Peeping Tom (1960)

Not Rated | 101 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

A young man murders women, using a movie camera to film their dying expressions of terror.

Director: Michael Powell | Stars: Karlheinz Böhm, Anna Massey, Moira Shearer, Maxine Audley

Votes: 24,896 | Gross: $0.08M

32. Tesis (1996)

R | 125 min | Mystery, Thriller

While doing a thesis about violence, Ángela finds a snuff video where a girl is tortured until death. Soon she discovers that the girl was a former student in her faculty...

Director: Alejandro Amenábar | Stars: Ana Torrent, Fele Martínez, Eduardo Noriega, Xabier Elorriaga

Votes: 31,103

33. Kalifornia (1993)

R | 117 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

49 Metascore

A journalist duo go on a tour of serial killer murder sites with two companions, unaware that one of them is a serial killer himself.

Director: Dominic Sena | Stars: Brad Pitt, Juliette Lewis, Kathy Larson, David Milford

Votes: 45,582 | Gross: $2.40M

34. Man Bites Dog (1992)

NC-17 | 95 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

A film crew follows a ruthless thief and heartless killer as he goes about his daily routine. But complications set in when the film crew lose their objectivity and begin lending a hand.

Directors: Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, Benoît Poelvoorde | Stars: Benoît Poelvoorde, Jacqueline Poelvoorde-Pappaert, Nelly Pappaert, Hector Pappaert

Votes: 31,601 | Gross: $0.21M

35. The Element of Crime (1984)

Not Rated | 104 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A cop in a dystopian Europe investigates a serial killings suspect using controversial methods written by his now disgraced former mentor.

Director: Lars von Trier | Stars: Michael Elphick, Esmond Knight, Me Me Lai, Jerold Wells

Votes: 7,915

36. Summer of Sam (1999)

R | 142 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

67 Metascore

Spike Lee's take on the "Son of Sam" murders in New York City during the summer of 1977 centering on the residents of an Italian-American Northeast Bronx neighborhood who live in fear and distrust of one another.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: John Leguizamo, Adrien Brody, Mira Sorvino, Jennifer Esposito

Votes: 32,945 | Gross: $19.28M

37. Deep Crimson (1996)

114 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

The life of a man who preys on unsuspecting women for a living is changed when he finds an accomplice in the woman who loves and controls him.

Director: Arturo Ripstein | Stars: Regina Orozco, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Sherlyn, Giovanni Florido

Votes: 1,346

38. Das letzte Schweigen (2010)

Not Rated | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

72 Metascore

13-year-old Sinikka vanishes on a hot summer night. Her bicycle is found in the exact place where a girl was killed 23 years ago. The dramatic present forces those involved in the original case to face their past.

Director: Baran bo Odar | Stars: Ulrich Thomsen, Claudia Michelsen, Wotan Wilke Möhring, Katrin Saß

Votes: 5,274 | Gross: $0.10M

39. Copycat (1995)

R | 123 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

54 Metascore

An agoraphobic psychologist and a female detective must work together to take down a serial killer who copies serial killers from the past.

Director: Jon Amiel | Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Holly Hunter, Dermot Mulroney, William McNamara

Votes: 46,737 | Gross: $32.05M

40. Frailty (2001)

R | 100 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

64 Metascore

A man confesses to an FBI agent his family's story of how his religious fanatic father's visions led to a series of murders to destroy supposed "demons."

Director: Bill Paxton | Stars: Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey, Powers Boothe, Matt O'Leary

Votes: 67,418 | Gross: $13.10M

41. Saw (2004)

R | 103 min | Crime, Horror, Mystery

46 Metascore

Two strangers, who awaken in a room with no recollection of how they got there, soon discover they're pawns in a deadly game perpetrated by a notorious serial killer.

Director: James Wan | Stars: Cary Elwes, Leigh Whannell, Danny Glover, Ken Leung

Votes: 334,609 | Gross: $56.00M

42. From Hell (2001)

R | 122 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

54 Metascore

In Victorian Era London, a troubled clairvoyant police detective investigates the murders by Jack The Ripper.

Directors: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes | Stars: Johnny Depp, Heather Graham, Ian Holm, Robbie Coltrane

Votes: 134,501 | Gross: $31.60M

43. Tony (I) (2009)

Unrated | 76 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

A thriller centered on a serial killer in a rundown London suburb.

Director: Gerard Johnson | Stars: Peter Ferdinando, Greg Kam, Ricky Grover, Kerryann White

Votes: 2,834

44. Maniac (2012)

Not Rated | 89 min | Horror, Thriller

47 Metascore

As he helps a young artist with her upcoming exhibition, the owner of a mannequin shop's deadly, suppressed desires come to the surface.

Director: Franck Khalfoun | Stars: Elijah Wood, Nora Arnezeder, America Olivo, Megan Duffy

Votes: 30,695 | Gross: $0.02M

45. The Bone Collector (1999)

R | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

45 Metascore

A quadriplegic ex-homicide detective and his female partner try to track down a serial killer who is terrorizing New York City.

Director: Phillip Noyce | Stars: Denzel Washington, Angelina Jolie, Queen Latifah, Michael Rooker

Votes: 133,612 | Gross: $66.52M

46. Antikörper (2005)

Not Rated | 127 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

57 Metascore

Wanted for a long time, serial killer Gabriel Engel gets arrested in a spectacular police strike. Small town cop Michael Martens travels to the big city to interrogate him and finds out more then he is looking for.

Director: Christian Alvart | Stars: Norman Reedus, Christian von Aster, André Hennicke, Waltraud Witte

Votes: 6,625

47. The Cell (2000)

R | 107 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

40 Metascore

An FBI agent persuades a social worker, who is adept with a new experimental technology, to enter the mind of a comatose serial killer in order to learn where he has hidden his latest kidnap victim.

Director: Tarsem Singh | Stars: Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, Vincent D'Onofrio, Colton James

Votes: 86,044 | Gross: $61.33M

48. Kiss the Girls (1997)

R | 115 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

46 Metascore

Police hunting for a serial kidnapper are helped when a victim manages to escape for the first time.

Director: Gary Fleder | Stars: Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Cary Elwes, Alex McArthur

Votes: 56,140 | Gross: $60.53M

49. Texas Killing Fields (2011)

R | 105 min | Crime, Drama, History

49 Metascore

In the Texas bayous, a local homicide detective teams up with a cop from New York City to investigate a series of unsolved murders.

Director: Ami Canaan Mann | Stars: Sam Worthington, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chloë Grace Moretz, Jessica Chastain

Votes: 16,564 | Gross: $0.05M

50. The Killer Inside Me (2010)

R | 109 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

53 Metascore

A West Texas Deputy Sheriff