With the upcoming releases of The Boston Strangler and Luther: The Fallen Sun, the Bitesize crew has put their brains together to compile Bitesize Breakdown's consensus Top Five Serial Killer Films/Series.
Each writer ranks his or her top 15 films in the category. Those lists are then weighted on a reverse point system. After all the points are tallied up, the entries with the most total points make up the Bitesize Top Five.
Of course, the Scream franchise made this list. It’s a bloody fantastic slasher who’s central serial killer, Ghostface, is inspired by Danny Rolling, aka the Gainesville Ripper, a notorious Florida serial killer who murdered five students in 1990. While it’s loosely based on a real serial killer, it also has become such a cult classic due to its meta commentary and iconic hooded ghost mask that gives you goosebumps if you see it in person. - Paige
4. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
As good of a job as director David Fincher and star Rooney Mara did with the 2011 remake, it was not their iteration of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo that got me reading the Millennium book series. It was the original Swedish film of 2009. If you have not seen Noomi Rapace’s guttural portrayal of Lisbeth Salander, do yourself a favor and strap into a wild, dark, and intense mystery; then finish off the whole trilogy because, damn, did they do a great job capturing how dirty you should feel after watching serial killer films. - Amarú
3. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
Even beyond the Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) of it all, The Silence of the Lambs is a brilliantly crafted horror thriller built on a riveting manhunt as Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) chases down a thoroughly bone-chilling serial killer in Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). The “night vision” finale remains one of the all-time great final set pieces in movie history, and the lead-up to the film’s stunning revelation of Bill’s motivations is as engaging and disturbing today as it was in 1991. There is a reason this film is counted as one of the greatest ever made, and as the only horror to ever win Best Picture, it more than deserves the title. - Jacob
Serial killers are more than just their crimes. They’re a phenomenon, and no film highlights this better than what is arguably director David Fincher’s best film, Zodiac. It’s hard to sum up how great this film is in just a handful of words because it’s nearly flawless. Everything from the performances to the way the murders are carried out on screen is an absolute masterclass in filmmaking. It’s a creepy, fascinating film that grips you from beginning to end while forcing you to feed into the main character’s obsession with the notorious killer. - Joseph
Seven remains perhaps director David Fincher's best work to date. The unrelenting oppressiveness of the rain in the unnamed city, the grime of the alleyways, and the brutality of the murders all combine to create one of the bleakest and most dour films of the 1990s. At the heart of the movie is the chemistry between Mills and Somerset (Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, respectively), and the classic trope of hotshot newcomer paired with the weary veteran is given fresh life as Pitt and Freeman embody the roles of the dogged detectives. With one of the best third act reveals in cinema history, Seven remains the shining beacon of serial killer movies. - Darryl
Photo Credits: Photo 1 - Dimension Films; Photo 2 - Nordisk Film; Photo 3 - Orion Pictures; Photo 4 - Paramount Pictures; Photo 5 - New Line Cinema