The scariest serial killers on film?
With Zodiac on general release I was thinking about what scares me so much about serial killers. Is it the fact that they repeat the crimes, is it that they can sometimes go undetected for so long, or is there something else?
There's then the question of just who is the scariest serial killer on film, is it a character from real life? So this feature goes out to serial killers on celluloid, killa's, this one's for you.
What do you find the scariest thing about the serial killer character? Is it scarier to have a character like Norman Bates? Someone who is a fictional character, fully opened to the audience so that they can see the extent of who and what they are? Someone that has some basis in a life like ours but is still very much removed?
Or is it scarier to see a character who is just like you and I, living a normal life and is firmly rooted in our reality. Someone who isn't portrayed as overly psychotic and crazy and is more a part of everyday lives. Someone who could be standing next to you in the queue at the checkouts or even next to you at the cinema? Someone like Sy Parrish from One Hour Photo, or Francis Dollarhyde from Manhunter.
Maybe you find it far scarier to have someone who is totally out of this world. A character like the clown creature from Stephen King's It perhaps? A creature that has no real association with your normal life but could just be out there.
For me the most terrifying serial killer is the one that comes from a true story. Ed Gein, Ted Bundy, Myra Hindley and Ian Hindley or the Zodiac killer. These characters are the most chilling for me.
There are two reasons why I find these characters particularly chilling. They are real, live a life like you and I, for the most part are normal and can even have friendships and relationships, and yet on the flipside they can completely dehumanise themselves, commit some horrendous acts and be totally detached from any emotional connection with the victims.
These are the scariest characters for me. Someone who could pick you up and treat you as dispassionately as a slab of steak. Yet someone who can be as normal as your next door neighbour.
So who is the scariest onscreen serial killer for you, and what makes them so scary?