[The Super Five] 5 Serial Killer Films That Genuinely Frighten and Disturb Me
Welcome back to this weekly feature at House Of Geekery called ‘The Super Five’. This is a different take on the ‘Top 10’ or ‘List’ style features, where I take a subject and simply name five things. It isn’t a top list, just simply five things for your enjoyment!
For this weeks list, I decided to go with a sub-genre of films that has always fascinated me. I am a junkie when it comes to reading about and watching documentaries about true crime and real life serial killers, I find that the truth tends to be more frightening than fiction. But there are those films that disturb and frighten me as much as the actual thing. Now there are a few here based around actual killers, and trust me when I saw no matter how disturbing these films may be, the truth is even more so …
5.) MANHUNTER (1986)
Yes Silence Of The Lambs is known as the definitive Hannibal Lector film, but Manhunter has always had a place with me. I do love this film, it is the very first one to feature the cannibal (played by Brian Cox here) and it still manages to disturb me and scare me. The reason for that is Tom Noonan’s truly disturbing and frightening performance as family serial killer Francis Dollarhyde. He remains one of the only characters in film to ever scare and disturb me to my core. I still can’t watch this without getting that feeling, this is a great film and a genuinely disturbing one.
4.) THE UGLY (1997)
It was only recently (last few years) that I discovered this gem from New Zealand. What an incredible and unique film, and deep down it scares me! The main character here Simon (Paolo Rotondo) seems like a normal enough guy, he’s good looking, charming, yet he kills people in vicious ways. Killers are people we see as deranged individuals, ones you can just tell are monsters. What is truly terrifying about Simon is he reminds you that in 99% of cases that isn’t so, killers and serial killers generally look like your next door neighbour. After I watched this I had a difficult time trusting anyone, it had such a strong impact on me and it isn’t an easy one to re-watch as fantastic as the film is.
3.) SE7EN (1995)
Se7en is messed up! The serial killer here John Doe (if you’ve seen it you know who plays him, this is actually a spoiler to reveal his casting so I wont) kills in some pretty sick ways and his MO is that of the seven deadly sins, with each victim representing one of the sins. It is the crimes he commits and once revealed his calm demeanor and soft spokeness that scare me and disturb me. Again this is a normal looking person, who does such horrendous crimes. He believes in what he does, it is a strength, he truly frightens me and this film is never an easy watch because of that.
2.) SNOWTOWN (2011)
A fairly recent addition to the based on a real like serial killer sub-genre, this film is based on events that happened pretty close to where I lived at the time. I mean it wasn’t a far drive, and the street where these acts were committed was a street we drove passed often (goodness knows if we drove passed when someone was getting murdered, I can’t even think about it). John Bunting (Daniel Henshaw) was the leader of this group, in an area that suffered unemployment and poverty it was easy to get the group under his control. He killed people in absolute vicious ways, wound up storing the bodies in barrels with acid and their final dumping place was an empty bank vault in Snowtown. The film does a pretty spot on job of portraying all of these things, the area where he lived, where they killed people, and how they killed people and later collected their social security money. Watching this unfold disturbs me to no end, anything relating to this case does and I have trouble getting it out of my mind. It happened so close and the acts were unspeakable. The film is raw and honest and it never becomes an exploitation piece. (You can read my full review HERE and interview with the director HERE)
1.) HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER (1986)
This was one of the first serial killer films to disturb and affect me deeply, and as I mentioned with The Ugly it comes down to the main character of Henry (loosely based off Henry Lee Lucas portrayed by Michael Rooker). His character is a monster, yet he doesn’t look like one and there are times where you can truly sympathise with him and almost feel strong enough that you’d take him on board as a friend. This realisation upon that first watched freaked me out, I didn’t want to feel that way about someone I could clearly see was a killer. But he disguised himself well, and this is where that mentality comes into play, these killers could be the person next door. He really is that type of person until that killer is let out. This is a very raw and confronting film, it will test your limits and like me you will feel disturbed by the feelings you get and certainly don’t want for his character. While this film really does a number on me, I can manage to watch it every so often, I am not even sure why that is.
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