crime shows and movies The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers  

Mark Holmes
Originally by
55.3k votes 5.7k voters 260.2k views 80 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.
list ordered by

1
2,494 455
Hannibal Lecter is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Hannibal Lecter The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal

2
1,306 704
Norman Bates is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Norman Bates Psycho

3
2,083 747
Dexter Morgan is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Dexter Morgan Dexter

4
1,532 629
Patrick Bateman is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Patrick Bateman American Psycho

5
1,306 255
Joker is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
AmandaEkenlöw added Joker Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Batman: The Animated Series, Fight Batman Fight!

6
1,234 609
Freddy Krueger is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Freddy Krueger Nightmare on Elm Street

7
1,258 524
Michael Myers is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Michael Myers Halloween Universe

8
1,099 538
John Doe is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
John Doe Seven

9
998 533
Jason Voorhees is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Jason Voorhees Fridiay the 13th Universe

10
1,166 509
Buffalo Bill is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Buffalo Bill The Silence of the Lambs

11
1,040 577
Jigsaw is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Jigsaw Saw Universe

12
1,069 496
Pennywise the Dancing Clown is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers

13
866 458
Leatherface is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Leatherface The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

14
883 572
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

15
617 524
Mickey Knox is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Mickey Knox Natural Born Killer

16
670 499
Annie Wilkes is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Benjamin2 added Annie Wilkes Misery

17
717 329
The Joker is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
graser20 added The Joker

18
681 526
Ghostface is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Ghostface Scream Universe

19
663 544
Chucky is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Benjamin2 added Chucky Child's Play Universe

20
442 525
Mallory Knox is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Mallory Knox Natural Born Killers

21
493 526
Candyman is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Candyman Candyman

The Greatest Female Villains

22
456 467
Samara Morgan is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Samara Morgan The Ring

23
519 541
Arthur Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers

24
449 516
Sylar is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Sylar Heroes, Heroes

25
338 575
Catherine Tramell is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Catherine Trammell Basic Instinct

26
440 411
Francis Dolarhyde is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Francis Dolarhyde Red Dragon

27
314 466
Tom Ripley is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Tom Ripley The Talented Mr. Ripley

28
297 214
Captain Spaulding is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Captain Spaulding House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil's Rejects

10 Interviews With Serial Killers That Will Appall You

29
377 467
Brian Moser is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
William Roberts added Brian Moser Dexter

30
322 182
Tate Langdon is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
JaidenDalBello added Tate Langdon American Horror Story

31
180 267
Red John is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
joash2 added Red John

32
263 346
Slender Man is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Gokuisawsome added Slender Man

33
288 436
Joe Carroll is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Joe Carroll The Following

34
185 171
Light Yagami is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Travis MacPherson added Light Yagami Death Note, Death Note: Re-light: L's Successors, Death Note

35
238 396
Henry Lee Lucas is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Dismalhead added Henry Lee Lucas Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Famous People You Didn't Know Were Married to Each Other

36
259 354
Mr. Earl Brooks is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
wiabux added Mr. Earl Brooks Mr. Brooks

37
343 362
Bloody Face is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Bloody Face American Horror Story: Asylum

38
188 238
Stu Macher is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Goopus added Stu Macher Scream

39
190 223
Billy Loomis is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Goopus added Billy Loomis Scream

40
188 162
The Creeper is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
TimTima added The Creeper Jeepers Creepers, Jeepers Creepers 2, Jeepers Creepers 4

41
186 204
Firefly Family is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Firefly Family House of 1000 Corpses, Devil's Rejects

42
115 402
Early Grayce is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
RobMeusel added Early Grayce Kalifornia

The Best Serial Killer Movies

43
134 149
Spike is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
dark wish added Spike Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

44
43 24
Carrie White is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Herr_Frau added Carrie White Carrie, Carrie, Carrie

45
93 284
Benjamin Linus is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
sheldonbhowe added Benjamin Linus Lost, Lost: Missing Pieces

46
223 206
Stewie Griffin is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
CheckinaCoulibaly added Stewie Griffin Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

47
134 216
Tiffany is listed (or ranked) 47 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

48
126 209
Frank Breitkopf is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Pepe2002 added Frank Breitkopf Criminal Minds

49
207 209
Peter Griffin is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
CheckinaCoulibaly added Peter Griffin Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

50
144 206
Hannah McKay is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
GlennSwan added Hannah McKay Dexter