Jeffrey Dahmer is one of the most notorious and infamous serial killers of all time, also known as the Milwaukee Monster. The latest Netflix mini tv-series Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story gives a perspective from Dahmer’s victims and shows the incompetence of the police and the cases where he got almost apprehended but ultimately let go. In this list we are going to cover some similar movies and tv shows, tackling the cases of different serial killers, inspired by true events or fiction. It is a subjective list of the 15 best movies and shows like Dahmer about serial killers.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
One of the best, most famous, and most disturbing movies about a serial killer is this Jonathan Demme’s masterpiece about Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a psychiatrist imprisoned and isolated for being a dangerous serial killer who cannibalized his victims.
He is assigned to an FBI trainee Clarice Starling who needs his help in solving another serial killer case. She was chosen to trigger some emotional response from Lecter, with the hope that he might give her some insight into the sick and dangerous mind of “Buffalo Bill” who has so far killed five victims, all slightly overweight young women.
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)
This interesting thriller was loosely based on serial killer Henry Lee Lucas and it follows Henry and his roommate Otis. Henry decides to introduce Otis to killing randomly selected people. They are all strangers and the duo has no feelings toward anything or anyone.
Their killing spree is depicted after Otis’ sister Becky comes to stay with them. But Henry is a true sociopath and psychopath and he really doesn’t care about anyone who is in any way connected to their murders and has no habit of leaving any witnesses behind.
It is obvious that Fincher likes to bring us stories inspired by true events. He resurrected the case of notorious serial killer Zodiac and sucked us into a scary game of cat and mouse. He terrorized San Francisco for a period of fifteen years and we will find out what happened between 1968 and 1983.
Slow, very detailed, and tense, this movie doesn’t give us numerous shocking scenes and isn’t action-packed. Instead, we are getting an excellent portrait of the mind of a serial killer when a cartoonist becomes an amateur detective who wants to track him down. Jake Gyllenhall, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey Jr. delivered outstanding performances and proved to be a perfect choice for this claustrophobic and difficult movie.
Peeping Tom (1960)
This Mike Powell’s masterpiece is also one of the best movies about serial killers, bringing the story of a lonely and depressed Mark Lewis who supplies a local porn shop with photos during his off hours. He is obsessed with fear, especially with the way terror is expressed on the faces of the people frightened.
His obsession derives from his tormented childhood and results in his sick and disturbing behavior as a grown man. He kills women and records their dying gasps and facial expressions on film. It is all a part of a documentary he wants to make but everything takes a somewhat different turn when he meets Helen and decides to show her the black-and-white films of his father torturing him.
American Psycho (2000)
American Psycho is one of the most disturbing movies about serial killers ever with one of the most disgusting protagonists is this crime drama/thriller about a 27-year-old successful Wall Street worker Patrick Bateman. He seems to have it all and is extremely narcissistic, vain, and self-obsessed.
Based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis, this thriller is about a psychopath who hides his sadistic fantasies from his coworkers. Unlike his egomaniac colleagues, he is so much more, a sick man who allows himself to think he is superior to others and enjoys murdering everyone he finds unappealing or not good enough not only to be in his presence but even to exist.
This biographical crime drama was based on gruesome and shocking true events that occurred in Adelaide’s Northern suburbs. Jamie is 16 years old and lives with his mother and two brothers in a house surrounded by violence and hopelessness he wants to get out of.
When he meets John who soon befriends and starts dating his mother and moves in with them, Jamie gets entangled in his world of evil and finds himself in a position where he will have to think twice before telling something. John is a psychopath connected to the disappearance of numerous people and when the truth finally gets out, Jamie will be the one who will have to decide how to end things.
Two detectives, a veteran, and a rookie are faced with the most horrifying case they have encountered and might encounter in the future. They are in search of a serial killer who uses seven deadly sins as a motive for his monstrous actions. Extremely dark and depressing, without even a ray of sunshine or a glimpse of hope, this thriller will really give you discomfort and won’t stop shocking you until its very end.
There doesn’t exist a list of psychological thrillers without this masterpiece on it. A movie that you will never forget, one that we still quote and very well deserved mention as one the must-see not only from its genre. It is absolutely remarkable in its sickness and complexity.
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
This is a brilliant adaptation of a tormenting novel about Jean-Baptiste Grenouille who was born without a sense of smell. This resulted in his isolation and alienation from others but also allowed him to develop an interesting but pretty disturbing talent.
Tom Tykwer directed this crime drama about this unusual young man who is obsessed with the scent of a woman’s body and makes it his purpose to create and capture the essence of it. He is a successful and extremely gifted perfumer who loses track when deciding to find the perfect scent. And this is where his obsession becomes dangerous and sinister.
The Fall (2013 – 2016)
This psychological thriller focuses on an intelligent and very skillful policewoman Stella Gibson, brilliantly played by Gillian Anderson, and her attempts to catch the serial killer who hides behind the calm and professional father and husband Paul Spector. He is a cold-blooded killer, a completely disturbed individual who enjoys tormenting his victims.
This tv series shows us the dark side of Belfast, with its rainy weather and grey facades and it perfectly fits with its depressing tone. It is not only a crime story but also a psychological study of two individuals
who at the same time can’t stand each other, but are also very similar and share the same complexity that needs to be looked into.
Mindhunter (2017 – 2019)
One of the greatest tv-series that gives an insight into a criminal mind. It is the 1970s and two FBI agents are working together, trying to develop a new investigative field. They are combining psychology, sociology, and anthropology in order to discover what are the motives behind the cruel and gruesome murders committed by various serial killers.
Motive is becoming much more complex than a simple need to commit a crime and it develops into something very disturbing in this tv-series, the audience discovers, along with these two remarkable minds, what makes a sociopath do what he finally decides to do.
Aquarius (2015 – 2016)
David Duchovny stars in this biographical crime drama that introduces us to one of the most dangerous and notorious serial killers of all time, Charles Manson. It is the summer of 1967 in Los Angeles and we are presented with the story of this disturbing personality who is slowly starting to gather people who will be connected to some of the most disturbing killings in the USA ever.
Manson is recruiting a team of young and vulnerable men and women who are having the same visions as this charismatic but dangerous leader. Sam Hodiak will team up with a young police officer who will help him infiltrate Manson’s circle and is soon going to be presented with a mind full of oppressive and rebellious thoughts.
This is a brilliant mini tv-series about the events that took place in 1983 when a Scottish serial killer Dennis Nilsen was arrested after the discovery of various human remains in his London home. It happened when the body parts caused a blockage in a drain near his home.
Inspired by true events, this drama depicts how the mind of a psychopath works and what happens inside a mind of a narcissistic individual who lacks sympathy and emotions toward everyone. David Tennant’s role of Des was described as one of the best performances in his brilliant acting career.
You (2018 – )
This is an intense and fast-paced crime drama that brilliantly depicts a mind of a disturbed individual whose actions are directly connected to his troubled childhood and youth. But it also makes us think about whether someone was born evil or the circumstances that led him to become a monster.
This is a love story that hides so much more than a simple infatuation and obsession.
What happens when someone gets too involved in someone else’s life and begins to find various ways to get close to that person? Joe is a capable and brilliant bookstore manager who falls in love with a beautiful girl and becomes obsessed with her. He soon finds out every little thing about her and feels invited to clear everyone and everything that comes on his path to her love and devotion.
Dexter (2006 – 2013)
One of the most inventive, interesting, and intriguing stories about a serial killer is Dexter, another one that makes us think and ponder on the motives behind the sociopath’s mind. Dexter is brilliant in his field of expertise, he is smart and lovable, accepted by his colleagues, and in a good relationship with his sister.
But Dexter has a huge secret, one that would ruin everyone around him. He is a Miami forensic expert and spends his days helping solve crimes but at night he becomes a coldhearted murderer. Nevertheless, he doesn’t kill any person or some random strangers. He follows his code of honor and chooses only criminals to make them pay for the things they have done.
The Serpent (2021)
This is an intriguing TV mini-series about a gem dealer Charles Shobhraj that takes place in the mid-1970s in Bangkok. He is so much more than what he presents himself for. He will be accused of murdering a great number of tourists, together with his girlfriend and their accomplice.
The murders would remain unsolved if a Dutch diplomat didn’t start investigating the disappearance of two Dutch tourists. He soon discovered so much more and everyone learned what was hiding behind this master of disguise, a murderer and a thief.