6 Movies Based On Real Life Serial Killers


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Helter Skelter (1976)

Helter Skelter (1976)
Helter Skelter (1976)

Based on: Charles Manson
Director: Tom Gries
Cast: Steve Railsback, George DiCenzo

Charles Manson is considered to be one of the most notorious figures in criminal history. The leader of the Manson family cult, Charles lead a murderous campaign that led to 5 killings in the Hollywood area. The most famous victim was the actress Sharon Tate, who was pregnant at the time.

The film, made 6 years after the killings, is based on the book written by a prosecutor, Vincent Bugliosi.

Dahmer (2002)

Dahmer (2002)
Dahmer (2002)

Based on: Jeffrey Dahmer
Director: David Jacobson
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Bruce Davison

After committing his first murder in 1978, Jeffery Dahmer killed multiple teenagers and men. He would lure young attractive men to his house and then kill them, mutilate their bodies and keep their body parts as mementos. Dahmer was finally captured in 1991 and was sentenced to 16 life terms. He was murdered by a fellow inmate in 1994.

The film, which deals with Dahmer’s life before his arrest and conviction, features a powerful and brilliant performance by Jeremy Renner as Dahmer.

Monster (2003)

Monster (2003)
Monster (2003)

Based on: Aileen Wuornos
Director: Patty Jenkins
Cast: Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci

Abused and thrown out of her home, Aileen Wuornos, relocated to Florida and started working as a prostitute. In 1989, she killed a man who tried to force himself on to her. Aileen killed and robbed 5 other men and claimed that they all had tried to sexually assault her. She was later caught and executed in 2002.

Charlize Theron’s raw and emotional performance as Aileen Wuornos was praised by the critics and the public. She won the academy award for best actor for her performance.

Wolf Creek (2005)

Wolf Creek (2005)
Wolf Creek (2005)

Based on: Ivan Milat
Director: Greg McLean
Cast: John Jarratt, Nathan Phillips, Cassandra Magrath

The backpack murders were a series of killings that took place in New South Wales, Australia, between 1989 and 1993. The bodies of 7 backpackers, aged between 19 and 22, were found buried in a forest in the area. The murders were committed by Ivan Milat, who preyed on foreign tourists and decapitated his victims.

Instead of calling the killer Ivan Milat, the makers chose the name Mick Taylor for the film. Apart from being inspired by the murders committed by Ivan Milat, the film also takes into account the murder of an English backpacker by Bradley Murdoch in 2001.

Zodiac (2007)

Zodiac (2007)
Zodiac (2007)

Based on: The Zodiac Killer
Director: David Fincher
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhal

The Zodiac killer, self-admittedly, was responsible for at least 5 murders that took place in Northern California between 1968 and 1969. The killer used to taunt the police department by sending threatening letters to the local newspapers. But in 1974, the letters suddenly stopped and to this day the real identity of the killer is unknown.

Considered to be the greatest serial killer movie ever made, the film follows two investigative journalists who try to find out the real identity of the Zodiac killer.

Snowtown (2011)

Snowtown (2011)
Snowtown (2011)

Based on: John Bunting
Director: Justin Kurzel
Cast: Justin Dallas Kurzel, Lucas Pittaway

In 1999, the police discovered eight dismembered bodies in barrels in a place called Snowtown in Australia. It was later found that the heinous murders were committed, between 1992 and 1999, by a gang lead by John Bunting, who was infamously dubbed the ‘bodies-in barrels killer’.

The film depicts the story of how John Bunting convinced 3 other individuals to join him on this horrifying killing spree.

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Rahul Seth