Always an uneasy subject in any world, fiction or nonfiction alike, a serial killer is a dangerous, strangely motivated individual. They focus usually on a specific niche, but they typically spread their killings around. For those of you who are already feeling scared, don’t worry, this is a spoiler free and safe list. Now uh, be prepared to sleep with one eye open, as we cut through our Top 10 Serial Killers.
10) Lucy – Elfen Lied
Starting the list with an entry we couldn’t ignore, Elfen Lied’s Lucy might be one of the most dangerous here. She’s both the primary protagonist and antagonist, depending on what version of her you get – Whether it’s the cold-hearted Lucy, or the sweet and innocent Nyu, named so for the noises she makes. Aww.
For those of you who don’t know about her, she’s the first of the Diclonius race, a new subspecies of human with powerful psychokinetic abilities. With these powers, Lucy is able to rip people literally into pieces. Her wrath is nearly limitless, however it’s fair to point out that with Lucy, there are two sides to the coin. She’s incredibly sympathetic, as she was tortured and abused when being experimented on – But that doesn’t stop her being a cold-hearted killer who has done many unspeakable things.
9) The Joker
Better known as an anarchist and terrorist, let’s not forget that in between bombings and chemical weapon attacks the Joker kills almost pathologically. Wholly unpredictable, death might come simply as a revolver bullet to the face, or after long drawn out torture, exposure to Joker-toxin, to leave bodies with distended grins across the city.
Simple one-on-one murder may be low on the rap sheet, and some victims may have been simple obstacles to be removed swiftly, but there’s no denying that Mr J takes a great deal of pleasure in watching his victims suffer wherever opportunity allows, playthings to be driven mad until they break, for him to casually toss aside and pick up another. He’s an abusive boyfriend, a cult leader, and a sociopath, a serial killer seems like pocket change, but he’s damn good at it.
Falling low on this list because of the inconsistent quality of the franchise, the Jigsaw is an indirect killer, who attempts to teach his victims a life lesson that will either kill them, or make them appreciate what they have. Shed a vice, embrace a virtue, or die in the dark and the filth.
The “Jigsaw” mantle passed from killer to killer, making it one of only a handful on the list to outlive the original killer, one creating the other, creating more and more as survivors embrace the vision of Jigsaw, and want others to embrace life in the same way. The traps, games, and riddles of each victim seem to shift wildly from the “survivable if harrowing” to the “theatrical bloodbath” and the “unnecessary gorefest”, in some cases just straight murder rather than a life lesson with lethal consequences. Still, there’s a place in history for the franchise, and for Jigsaw as a slasher classic.
7) Spike – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Spike, or William the Bloody, is one of these characters that we all grew to love to hate. He’s definitely a serial killer, as he managed to kill a whopping 24 people of various races (citation: Reddit). He acts as a villain and more throughout the series, but most importantly, he was a character who was never supposed to make it in Buffy. Instead, he was originally supposed to be a minor character.
To go from that minor status to a fully fledged member of the cast, as well as being Joss Whedon’s admitted most developed character, Spike outperforms in a lot of ways. So coupled with this, the fact he managed to get so many kills is in no way a surprise. People loved Spike, as he was a well thought out character – But we don’t love the number of people he took out.
6) Chucky – Child’s Play
Chucky is a little doll which contains the soul of serial killer, Charles Lee Ray. When a Voodoo Doll is used to transfer the soul of Charles into the Chucky doll, he becomes hellbent on terrorising and killing the family of Andy Barclay. The soul purpose of his murderous rampages is to take over the body of a human that he could use to go out and commit more crimes and murders.
Chucky is considered to already be a serial killer, even before we see him as the Chucky doll. The film sets the character up in great detail, setting the tone early. Whilst Chucky has this track record, we couldn’t put him any higher than 6th, as a lot of the kills are done when he’s not in his doll form.
Still, enjoy some of his more brutal kills in the above video by WatchMojo, our Top 10 RIVALS! (Protip, they’re not our rivals. We’re nowhere near their size. Please don’t have a go at us.)
5) Cletus Kasady/Carnage – Marvel
It’s too easy to look upon the MCU and fall under the impression that Marvel is some good, wholesome, family fun comic-book superhero goodness. If you have fallen prey to that belief then never pick up a Carnage story (or Punisher… but that’s not the point here!) Because even at his mildest, Kasady is a nightmare, and the Carnage symbiote only makes him so much worse.
As a prime example, “Carnage U.S.A”, Carnage devours an abattoir to gain the mass he needs to enslave a little middle-american town, and let Kasady live a bleak parody of a normal life, strolling around town with his hostage family, served by people puppeteered by the twisted red mass. Cletus had already built up a tally of victims before joining with his “partner”, but together they devour towns in hours.
4) Ghostface – Scream
In a similar vein to Chucky, Ghostface is one of the most iconic characters in all of horror. It’s hard to pinpoint what makes Ghostface such a great serial killer character, but his killings are amongst the best in any horror. Perhaps it’s the imagery of a man in black robes and a horrifying death mask, or perhaps it’s the brutal and unrelentless methods he uses to commit his crimes.
Ghostface also has to be one of the more mystifying killers on this list, as ultimately it’s a concept that can be worn by anyone. It’s something of a get-out-of-jail, as it’s a way for people to embrace that killer instinct they have, whilst being able to carry on the list of killings this character has. That said, we couldn’t rate Ghostface any higher for this reason – There are many of them!
3) Sylar – Heroes
If you watched the super-power drama series, that dentist-drill sound still brings back memories of skulls being opened while the owner sits paralysed and screaming. Gabriel Gray was given only one power, the ability to understand mechanisms no matter how complex. He ripped apart the minds of his super-powered victims, tore into the very brain matter and acquired their powers simply by looking.
Quinto has since become something of a respected property in film and television, due in no small part to his dark portrayal of the murderous collector. Sylar was an accomplished liar and deceiver, making him a terrifying predator, but a richly explored character with real motivation, that makes him no less dark and twisted. Later seasons, when Heroes really fell apart, also kinda messed up the character, but he more than earned a place high up on this list long before things took a turn for the worst.
The killer who made it cool to kill… oh, that’s not good, is it.
Dexter Morgan had no control over his desire to kill, but with the support of his adopted father Harry, a local cop, he turned the act of killing murderers into something that satisfied both the need for murder, and the ritualism that goes with it? The hunt becomes a careful study of the criminal, ensuring his or her guilt so that the punishment is justified beyond question. The kill is arranged in such a way that it ensures a traceless crime.
We watch as Dexter’s saga forces him to run the gamut of human experience as he seeks to emulate it. A normal relationship with his sister, a nuclear family complete with step-kids, friends, social function, the twists and turns of office politics, all the while coming to realise that in many cases he sincerely feels for the people around him, and ends up killing repeatedly for their sake more than his own.
1) Hannibal Lecter
Who else but the character that made the actor playing him uncomfortable in his own skin? Hannibal the Cannibal, the man eater, a terrifyingly intelligent killer, both highly educated and predatory in strategy. Becoming attached to a murder investigation as an expert in the minds of cannibalistic killers, he twists the needs of lead investigator Clarice Starling until she all but assures his escape from secure containment.
Without a word we understand the threat he represents. Held behind glass where his fellow inmates are held behind bars, stood calm and still where others in the same situation hoot and scramble like apes in their cages. Anthony Hopkins’ Lecter is an immortal of movie villains, brought from page to screen peerlessly, and later to the small screen by Mads Mikkelsen to equally high regard. No one else could have taken our number one slot.
We’re done chopping these characters down to size, it’s time for us to look at some more serial killers who are a cut above the others. With a two-for-one special on the murder aisle, to the word of a god, the following killers are in leagues of their own.
Freddy Krueger vs Jason Voorhees
You knew this was going to happen. So read on, as we’re about to dissect two of the most popular figures in horror.
Stalking you in your nightmares, you had best sleep with one eye open! Freddy Krueger is not an imagine you want to have in your dreams, as you’ll be ripped apart – Especially if you’re a young, sexual deviant. With 54 kills in the original timeline of Freddy, you can be sure that this is a savage killer who’ll exhaust you, before finally getting to you. Iconic in both appearance and kills – A Nightmare On Elm Street will forever be a horror classic.
One of the ultimate masked killers, making people wearing hockey masks terrifying, Jason is a whole different breed to Freddy. Unlike the clawed nightmare, Jason wields a machete and is out to just kill. Presumed dead from the offset, Jason appears in hallucinations, as well as the real world.
Both of these icons of horror appear in both the real and figurative worlds, killing people off in both… But just like the Freddy vs Jason film, there can only be one big bad killer of classic horror.
Scar – Fullmetal Alchemist
Now, forgive me if you think I’m wrong, but we just had to put Scar in here. We were somewhat in two minds about this, as really isn’t he just a soldier? He’s dangerous and he’s the first anti-hero of Fullmetal Alchemist, mostly because he’s not really a bad character. It’s just that he’s religiously devout to his god, meaning that he wields his god’s power like none other.
As a religious killer, it’s fair to assume that Scar is willing to use his enemies weapons if it’s for the betterment of his people. He more or less exemplifies this, as his right arm has alchemical tattoos. He’s not studied alchemy, at least not extensively, but he’s against those who go against the word of god.
Scar isn’t bad, he just has his belief in a series all about science vs religion.
Drop your weapons! We’re here to police the scenes of these heinous crimes. Put your hands where I can see them, on your mouse and keyboard and don’t move until we tell you to. Alright, good. I’m glad you’ve paid attention, as we’re dealing with some serious psychopaths up in here. We’ve been told that if you all want to live, you should vote in the poll below, so we can survive another week.
Whew, I’m beat. I can’t believe how many attempted kills we’ve survived here today. These killers were truly nightmare fuel, but ultimately, we could only have one top killer – and who better than the classic Hannibal Lecter? But what did you think? Was our order right? Did we forget a major horror character? Let us know your thoughts below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.