True Crime Fans, Rejoice: 10 Best Movies And Shows Based on Chilling Real-Life Murders

True Crime Fans, Rejoice: 10 Best Movies And Shows Based on Chilling Real-Life Murders
Image credit: ITV, Super Ltd, Netflix

There’s no Zodiac or Monster.

The passion for movies about serial killers is quite understandable – we like the feeling of danger, if it’s only on the screen, and have an evolutionary need to tickle our nerves.

Everybody knows such projects based on real events as Monster, Zodiac or Wolf Creek – they are not on this list. We have prepared something a little fresher and a little less famous.

If you are a fan of true crime podcasts and like to watch maniacs’ biographies on YouTube, then these ten movies are just for you.

1. Des

The miniseries Des tells the story of the British maniac Dennis Nilsen. The plot begins when in the sewers of one of the houses in London human remains are found. The police talk to Dennis Nilsen, one of the residents of the house, who immediately confesses to the murder of fifteen people.

Despite the fact that the viewer practically does not see the bloody details of the serial killer's crimes, the show keeps you in suspense from the first minutes – the story of a maniac, devoid of any emotions and regrets, plunges into an atmosphere of hopelessness, forcing you to follow closely every turn of the plot.

2. My Friend Dahmer

The biographical drama My Friend Dahmer tells the story of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, whose crimes shocked the US in 1991. The madman had more than fifteen victims, and the cruelty with which he committed his atrocities made his biography of particular interest to scholars and journalists.

Marc Meyers' film touches not only on the period of the maniac's criminal activities, but also on his childhood and teenage years. The filmmaker managed to look at the killer's story from a different angle and tell what made Dahmer who he became.

3. Aquarius

The show is set in Los Angeles in 1967 – detective Sam Hodiak and his colleague try to find a missing girl. As a result, the search leads the policemen to one of the most dangerous and famous serial killers of our time, Charles Manson, and his Family cult, which leads to the most unexpected consequences for all the characters.

According to critics, the show is interesting because it tells not about the most notorious crimes of the sect and its leader, but about the time when Manson was just gathering his followers.

4. Summer of Sam

Directed by Spike Lee, the movie is based on the true story of serial killer David Berkowitz, aka Son of Sam, who terrorized New York City in the 1970s. The madman was a real phenomenon – he was shooting people in broad daylight with no concern for being caught.

The movie tells not only about the killer's crimes, but also about the atmosphere of fear that reigned in New York during that time.

5. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

The movie tells the story of the life of Henry Lee Lucas, one of the most famous maniacs in American history, and his accomplice Ottis Toole – from 1960 to 1983 they, traveling around the country, committed 11 proven murders, but Lucas claimed that he had more than a hundred victims.

The project turned out to be truly provocative and won a number of awards, despite the fact that the filmmaker freely interpreted the facts from the biography of the killers.

6. Unbelievable

A survivor of sexualized violence, 18-year-old Marie, under pressure from the detectives, refuses to give a statement and calls the incident a fiction. As a result, several lives are ruined: Marie’s own, and those of several other future victims of the serial killer.

Only a few years later, two detectives were able to find the truth, catch the criminal, and help Marie put her life back together. The project is based on the 2016 Pulitzer Prize-winning article An Unbelievable Story of Rape by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong.

7. Memories of Murder

This detective thriller from the director of the world-famous Parasite, Bong Joon-ho, is based on real events that took place in a small South Korean town at the end of the last century.

The main character, together with his colleagues, tries to find a serial killer who attacks women in rainy weather. Be sure to watch to the end – at least for the final scene.

8. The Perfect Patient

The main character of the movie, based on real events, is a journalist who decides to meet the most feared serial killer in Sweden, who has dozens of victims.

There is no evidence linking him to the murders other than his own confession. The journalist asks the question: What if an innocent man has been serving his sentence all these years, but the real killer has never been found?

9. Ted K

The plot centers on Ted, who deliberately rejects the benefits of civilization, preferring a simple life. He’s convinced that rapidly developing technologies will destroy the planet.

Influenced by his own radical views and inner rage, he begins a "fight" by sending bombs in envelopes to the people he believes are responsible for the destruction of the environment. The FBI begins a manhunt for a criminal dubbed the Unabomber by the media.

10. The Good Nurse

The story of the real-life serial killer Charles Cullen, who worked for many years as a nurse and was a respected member of society.

For a long time, his regular job changes did not arouse suspicion, until one day detectives began to investigate one of the deaths in the department where the criminal worked. The nurse was officially convicted of killing 29 patients, but according to investigators, about 400 cases may remain unproven.