crime shows and movies The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers  

Mark Holmes
Originally by
55.7k votes 5.8k voters 261.1k views 81 items

List Rules Notable serial killers from movies and television.

Who are the best fictional serial killers of all time? These are serial killers featured in television shows and on film. To be clear, there is a difference between a serial killer and a mass murderer. A serial killer is one who kills individually, stalking a victim and murdering them in cold blood. Some of the most memorable movie and TV characters ever have been serial killers, so be sure to vote for the ones you liked the most -- and vote down any you didn't like. Also, feel free to re-rank this list any way you want, and add any notable fictional serial killers who are missing.

The creepiest film and TV serial killers often steal the show with their terrifyingly cool, chilling scenes. They manage to elude the good guys who are dutifully tracking them down, often for most of a movie or television show. Eventually, almost all of the fictional serial killers listed here are caught, but not before they leave behind horrifying reminders of their sick and twisted abilities. They are, quite often, some of the best movie villains of all time or the creepiest characters on television.

When you think of the "best" fictional serial murderers, who comes to mind instantly? Hannibal Lecter? That's certainly one of the most famous and memorable serial killers ever on film, thanks to Anthony Hopkins (who won an Academy Award for the role in 'Silence of the Lambs'). Or how about mommy-obsessed Norman Bates (Anthony Hopkins), the serial killer who scared the wits out of everyone in Alfred Hitchcock's 'Psycho'? There is no doubt that both of these characters are iconic, and among the most utterly terrifying figures in film. Both, interestingly enough, were brought to the small screen in 2013: Lecter in the NBC horror drama 'Hannibal' and Bates in A&E's drama 'Bates Motel.'

Are serial killers the new vampires now? Could be. One thing is certain: The fictional serial killers listed here are among the characters you absolutely, positively do not ever want knocking at your door.

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2,518 463
Hannibal Lecter is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Hannibal Lecter The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal

2
1,324 712
Norman Bates is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Norman Bates Psycho

3
2,105 755
Dexter Morgan is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Dexter Morgan Dexter

4
1,544 643
Patrick Bateman is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Patrick Bateman American Psycho

5
1,496 430
Joker is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
graser20 added Joker Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Batman: The Animated Series, Fight Batman Fight!

6
1,249 617
Freddy Krueger is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Freddy Krueger Nightmare on Elm Street

7
1,276 533
Michael Myers is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Michael Myers Halloween Universe

8
1,109 550
John Doe is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
John Doe Seven

9
1,016 537
Jason Voorhees is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Jason Voorhees Fridiay the 13th Universe

10
1,176 518
Buffalo Bill is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Buffalo Bill The Silence of the Lambs

11
1,058 583
Jigsaw is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Jigsaw Saw Universe

12
1,090 501
Pennywise the Dancing Clown is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers

13
881 465
Leatherface is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Leatherface The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

14
893 585
Sweeney Todd is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Sweeney Todd Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street

15 Terrifying Real-Life Kids That Belong in a Horror Movie

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Mickey Knox is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Mickey Knox Natural Born Killer

16
681 508
Annie Wilkes is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Benjamin2 added Annie Wilkes Misery

17
692 536
Ghostface is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Ghostface Scream Universe

18
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Chucky is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Benjamin2 added Chucky Child's Play Universe

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446 538
Mallory Knox is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Mallory Knox Natural Born Killers

20
499 539
Candyman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Candyman Candyman

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Samara Morgan is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Samara Morgan The Ring

28 Creepy Photos Inspired by Children's Nightmares

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Arthur Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers

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Sylar is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Sylar Heroes, Heroes

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339 588
Catherine Tramell is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Catherine Trammell Basic Instinct

25
445 420
Francis Dolarhyde is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Francis Dolarhyde Red Dragon

26
317 478
Tom Ripley is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Tom Ripley The Talented Mr. Ripley

27
304 221
Captain Spaulding is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Captain Spaulding House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil's Rejects

28
387 473
Brian Moser is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
William Roberts added Brian Moser Dexter

10 Interviews With Serial Killers That Will Appall You

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Tate Langdon is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
JaidenDalBello added Tate Langdon American Horror Story

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181 275
Red John is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
joash2 added Red John

31
272 350
Slender Man is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Gokuisawsome added Slender Man

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191 176
Light Yagami is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Travis MacPherson added Light Yagami Death Note, Death Note: Re-light: L's Successors, Death Note

33
293 442
Joe Carroll is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Joe Carroll The Following

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244 402
Henry Lee Lucas is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Dismalhead added Henry Lee Lucas Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

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260 361
Mr. Earl Brooks is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
wiabux added Mr. Earl Brooks Mr. Brooks

Mythical Creatures That Were Found in Real Life

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Bloody Face is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Bloody Face American Horror Story: Asylum

37
193 243
Stu Macher is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Goopus added Stu Macher Scream

38
198 226
Billy Loomis is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Goopus added Billy Loomis Scream

39
195 170
The Creeper is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
TimTima added The Creeper Jeepers Creepers, Jeepers Creepers 2, Jeepers Creepers 4

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188 212
Firefly Family is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Firefly Family House of 1000 Corpses, Devil's Rejects

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117 409
Early Grayce is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
RobMeusel added Early Grayce Kalifornia

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140 156
Spike is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
dark wish added Spike Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

The Best Serial Killer Movies

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50 30
Carrie White is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Herr_Frau added Carrie White Carrie, Carrie, Carrie

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232 216
Stewie Griffin is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
CheckinaCoulibaly added Stewie Griffin Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

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Benjamin Linus is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
sheldonbhowe added Benjamin Linus Lost, Lost: Missing Pieces

46
138 226
Tiffany is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Benjamin2 added Tiffany Bride of Chucky, Seed of Chucky, Curse of Chucky - Bride Of Chucky & Seed Of Chucky

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214 219
Peter Griffin is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
CheckinaCoulibaly added Peter Griffin Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

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127 217
Frank Breitkopf is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Pepe2002 added Frank Breitkopf Criminal Minds

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148 216
Hannah McKay is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
GlennSwan added Hannah McKay Dexter

50
120 170
The Bone Collector is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Benjamin2 added The Bone Collector