Best Serial Killer Movies Based On True Stories

May 13, 2023

Whether you’re a true crime buff or just looking for a scary movie to watch alone or with friends, these best serial killer movies based on real stories will leave your skin crawling. There are many true-crime movies based on the lives and crimes of serial killers, but the best ones are those that are based on true stories. These films often focus on the dark and twisted world of crime, and they allow us to see the canaries in the coal mine that help to signal when a new serial killer is on the loose. Some of the most famous serial killers include The Killer from Canada, John Wayne Gacy, and Ted Bundy. Although these films may take some creative freedom and may not be completely accurate, they are still worth watching.

To Catch a Killer (1992)

The late Brian Dennehy, who was a formidable presence on screen in films like First Blood, delivers one of his finest performances as serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Gacy was a good neighbor, a respectable businessman, and a great child entertainer – but he also raped and murdered 33 young boys and men. In this two-part TV movie, Dennehy’s chilling manner serves as the perfect conduit into Gacy’s diseased world.

Unlike many of the direct-to-video serial killer movies that clogged the market in the early ’00s, To Catch A Killer resists the temptation to fabricate a backstory for the murderer. Even so, the film does feature some sensational and stomach-turning moments. One of the most disturbing involves Gacy lending his services as a party clown to a hospital children’s ward. He then volunteers to perform a handcuff trick while the kids cheer, despite knowing Kozenczak and his partner are waiting just outside the residence.

The scene conveys the chilling way in which Gacy shrewdly inflates his sense of self-importance.

The Clovehitch Killer (1999)

KBZ’s Take: This is one of the lesser-known but still an excellent serial killer movie. Its story is based on the crimes committed by the BTK Killer also known as Dennis Rader who murdered 10 people in Wichita, Kansas over 17 years. He used to be famous for taunting the police by sending them letters describing his murders in detail.

This film is a coming-of-age thriller that centers around 16-year-old Tyler Burnside and his devout Christian family who live in a remote town. The locals are haunted by the Clovehitch Killer who bound and strangled 10 female victims and disappeared ten years prior to when this film begins. When Tyler starts to suspect his father could be the murderer, it sparks a series of disturbing events. Featuring a brilliant performance from Brian Dennehy, this is a must-see for fans of true crime and serial killer movies. It is one of the most important films examining how a person can go from being normal to becoming a horrific criminal.

Monster (2001)

As horror movies and thrillers, serial killer movies can provide a chilling glimpse into the lives of real-life criminals. While some take creative freedom and may not be entirely accurate, these films can be a powerful tool for exploring the psychology of murderers and how they manipulate the media to sensationalize their crimes.

This cult classic is about the life of Aileen Wuornos, a disreputable prostitute who was prosecuted for slaughtering seven men. It also explores the media’s role in promoting her and helping the police catch her.

Despite being only convicted of two murders, Ed Gein is one of the most notorious serial killers ever to live. His psychopathic crimes included digging up female bodies in graveyards and wearing their skin to feel closer to his mother. His movie depicts his life before becoming a serial killer and the events that led to his downward spiral. It’s a powerful and gruesome film and an essential watch for anyone who wants to learn more about serial killers.

The Zodiac (1988)

As a society, we are fascinated by the dark and depraved side of humanity. The rise of true crime shows and movies is an obvious reflection of this interest.

The Zodiac Killer sparked fear across a California city in the ’60s and ’70s with his deadly attacks on young women, leaving behind coded letters that were interpreted as messages for the police to solve. This movie is based on real events, and while it does take some creative liberties, it is an enthralling film that still holds up decades later.

Chastain and Redmayne give powerhouse performances as journalist Loretta McLaughlin and her husband, police detective John Dextradeur, who work to identify the Boston Strangler as he brutally murders woman after woman in New Bedford, Massachusetts. This movie is a must-see for any fan of true crime dramas. It also provides a glimpse into the sexism that existed in this time period. The film also explores the possibility that the killer was a gang member.

Bollywood Hungama Review is a great place to learn about different movies and get a full picture of the film experience. In their piece, they talk about the best movies about serial killers that are based on true stories. This gives readers a well-rounded view. Their expert analysis gives this collection a sense of sincerity and helps the reader understand these gripping stories better.

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