Unspeakable Crimes The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers  

Mark Holmes
Originally by
60.6k votes 6.4k voters 271.8k views 76 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.

1
2,719 515
Hannibal Lecter is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal

2
1,438 781
Norman Bates is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Psycho

3
2,273 825
Dexter Morgan is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Dexter

4
1,657 698
Patrick Bateman is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
American Psycho

5
1,616 501
Joker is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
graser20 added Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Batman: The Animated Series, Fight Batman Fight!

6
1,475 562
Michael Myers is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Halloween Universe

7
1,373 656
Freddy Krueger is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Nightmare on Elm Street

8
1,180 598
John Doe is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Seven

9
1,162 567
Jason Voorhees is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Fridiay the 13th Universe

10
1,167 618
Jigsaw is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Saw Universe

11
1,256 562
Buffalo Bill is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
The Silence of the Lambs

12
1,207 531
Pennywise the Dancing Clown is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers

13
976 494
Leatherface is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

14
946 623
Sweeney Todd is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street

15
656 566
Mickey Knox is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Natural Born Killer

16
723 545
Annie Wilkes is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Benjamin2 added Misery

17
761 576
Ghostface is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Scream Universe

18
726 600
Chucky is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Benjamin2 added Child's Play Universe

19
466 576
Mallory Knox is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Natural Born Killers

20
537 576
Candyman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Candyman

21
502 516
Samara Morgan is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
The Ring

22
558 576
Arthur Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers

23
474 560
Sylar is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Heroes, Heroes

24
353 615
Catherine Tramell is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Basic Instinct

25
473 442
Francis Dolarhyde is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Fictional Serial Killers
Red Dragon