ShareThis Page

Want more after 'Mindhunter'? 10 classic serial killer flicks

| Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, 11:06 a.m.
Anthony Hopkins for 'The Silence of the Lambs'
Orion Pictures
Anthony Hopkins for 'The Silence of the Lambs'

The serial killer-focused Netflix series "Mindhunter," shot last year throughout Western Pennsylvania, drops, appropriately enough, on Friday the 13th of October.

Serial killers have long been an obsession of TV and movie makers, including two movies shot in the Pittsburgh area. If you're looking for a good movie marathon to follow up binge-watching "Mindhunter" on Friday the 13th, here are just some of the films to choose from.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Two for one psychopathic serial killers — Buffalo Bill and Hannibal Lechter — appear in this classic horror-thriller, which was shot in Western Pa. and West Virginia. This one actually has some substance to it, as evidenced by Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Adapated Screenplay. Look out for the classic scene of a caged Lechter in a ballroom, which was shot at Oakland's Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum. Fava beans and a nice chiati, anyone?

Striking Distance (1993)

Pittsburgh Police Detective Thomas Hardy (Bruce Willis) has been busted down to the River Rescue Squad in retaliation for informing on a fellow policeman, but that doesn't stop his hunt for the Polish Hill Strangler. Complicating things further, he's drinking heavily and his new partner is Sarah Jessica Parker, minus her Manolos, posing as Detective Jo Christman, who's really undercover state policewoman Emily Harper. Got that? Will Tom find the strangler before there are more victims? Will he find love with Jo/Emily? Why does Tom talk like a New York cabbie instead of a Yinzer? The answers are within "striking distance."

The Deliberate Stranger (1986)

In the early 1970s, Theodore "Ted" Bundy was a dark-haired young man with boy-next-door good looks. He also was a serial murderer, rapist and necrophiliac who preyed on young, attractive women, often college students.

One ploy he used to win victims' sympathy is to fake an injury in order to lure women into helping him. According to, Bundy admitted to killing 36 young women across several states in the 1970s, but experts believe that the final tally may be closer to 100 or more. In 1989, Bundy was put to death by electrocution at the Florida State Prison.

Actor Mark Harmon portrayed Bundy in the television movie.

Halloween (1978)

Jamie Lee Curtis began her reign as a "scream queen" in this slasher flick, which opens in the early 1960s as a disturbed 6-year-old, Michael Myers, dressed as a clown for Halloween, stabs to death his teenage sister, Judith.

Institutionalized for 15 years, he escapes the oversight of psychiatrist Dr. Samuel Loomis and returns to his hometown of Haddonfield, determined to kill younger sister Laurie Strode. Teens are impaled and strangled as Myers works his way through Laurie's circle of friends, closing in on his sibling as she is babysitting two young children. It is later revealed the character's blank but terrifying mask actually is part of a Halloween costume for the "Star Trek" character Captain James T. Kirk.

Monster (2003)

An unrecognizable Charlize Theron took home the best actress Oscar in 2004 for her portrayal of Aileen Wuornos, one of only a few known female serial killers. According to, Wuornos left behind an abusive childhood to work in the sex trade in Florida, trolling highways and allegedly killing her victims between 1989-1990. Wuornos was convicted in the homicide of one man and pled guilty to the deaths of five more. She was executed in 2002 by lethal injection in a Florida prison.

Seven, or Se7en (1995)

"What's in the box?"

Anyone who's seen the movie will never forget Brad Pitt's anguished cry at the end of David Fincher's horror masterpiece. Pitt plays a rookie detective partnered with the soon-to-retire, grizzled veteran Morgan Freeman on a hunt for a serial killer (Kevin Spacey) whose victims each embody one of the seven deadly sins. Unbeknownst to Pitt, the killer has befriended his wife (Gwyneth Paltrow), who is unhappy in the city where they've moved to further Pitt's career. After five murders, dogged detective work leads to the killer, who has killed Paltrow. He takes Pitt and Freeman into the desert, where they find that accursed box. Learning what's inside, Pitt becomes wrath and empties his gun into Spacey. Turns out the killer himself, longing for the life Pitt and Paltrow have, stands for envy. And thus the list is complete.

To Catch a Killer (1992)

"To Catch a Killer" tells the gruesome story of John Wayne Gacy — a good friend and helpful neighbor, a great child entertainer, a respectful businessman, and a violent serial killer ­— who raped and murdered more than 30 young boys.

Friday the 13th (1980)

It wasn't all fun and games at Camp Crystal Lake. Jason Voorhees reared his ugly hockey-masked head and took his place in cinematic history slashing through campers, including a very young Kevin Bacon. The film spawned countless sequels, but as with most, the original is still the best. Chchchchchchch …

Zodiac (2007)

"Zodiac" tells the story of the manhunt for a notorious serial killer who called himself the "Zodiac" and killed in and around the San Francisco Bay Area during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The cases remain one of the United States' most infamous unsolved crimes. Riveting performances by Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

The world was introduced to Leatherface and his freaky family of cannibals in this classic. Upon its release, "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" was banned outright in several countries and numerous theaters later stopped showing the film in response to complaints about its violence. It's not for the faint of heart ... even after all the remakes, prequels and sequels. The sound of that chainsaw? Shudder.

Coming in November My Friend Dahmer

Before Jeffrey Dahmer became a notorious serial killer, he was a shy, alcoholic teen who never quite fit in. Based on the acclaimed graphic novel by Derf Backderf, "My Friend Dahmer" is the true, haunting story of Jeffrey Dahmer in high school.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.