14 Movies About Serial Killers That Will Make You Sleep With the Lights On

Never hated living alone more.

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Some times the horror in a horror film comes by way of paranormal activity or demons or clowns (terrifying regardless of the movie's genre), but more often than not it's the evil that lives at the extremes of humanity that will frighten you the most. The murderous psychopaths lurking in the shadows. The potential that the story's not fiction. If that's the way you prefer to scare yourself silly, add these 14 terrifying serial-killer movies to your Netflix queue. I'll be over here watching a romcom, but, you know, you do you.

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1 'American Psycho'

Endlessly quotable and still highly fascinating for its depiction of the high-rolling lifestyle of 1980s masters of the universe, the film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis' novel shows toxic masculinity at its most deadly. Especially scary given how well—besides the trophy business cards—this portrayal of yuppie guys who work in finance holds up decades later.

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2 'Arsenic and Old Lace'

In contrast, this film dating back to 1944 is about nice old ladies mercy-poisoning dudes deemed "un-marriageable" to save them from lives of loneliness. A twist on the standard spinster storyline that's funny enough for scaredy cats—scaredy cats who like Cary Grant.

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3 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo'

David Fincher's 2011 adaptation of the best-selling book is bleeeeeak. But then, it's about a serial killer and features horrific scenes of torture and rape, so that's appropriate.

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4 'Kiss the Girls'

Morgan Freeman plays Alex Cross, the ace forensic psychologist created by James Patterson. Cross teams up with a woman (Ashley Judd) who narrowly escaped the clutches of a serial killer to bring the bad guy to justice.

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5 'Monster'

The one Charlize Theron gained weight and wore prosthetics for, but also the (really good) one about serial killer Aileen Wuornos and the painful circumstances that led to her murdering seven men.

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6 'My Friend Dahmer'

Reason No. 1 to see it: It stars a Disney kid (Ross Lynch a.k.a. Austin Moon) acting against type, this time as Jeffrey Dahmer, who murdered at least 17 men and boys IRL. Reason No. 2: It's a disturbing, empathetic look at the early life of a serial killer, as told by his high school friend.

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7 'Natural Born Killers'

Story by Quentin Tarantino, so you know how it goes: loads of violence, some might say gratuitous, but tempered with satire and a cool, psychedelic style. You will have thoughts about why we, as a society, romanticize crime.

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8 'Peeping Tom'

Dude murders women and films their dying expressions, which sounds highly modern, actually, despite its 1960 release date. Also known as the first slasher flick, so would be good from an educational standpoint, ha.

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9 'Perfume: The Story of a Murderer'

How to make a movie about a serial killer so sinister but also so lush? Set it in France and cast Ben Whishaw as a murderer hell-bent on creating the ideal scent—one young woman's corpse at a time. Might persuade you to never wear deodorant again.

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10 'Psycho'

The foundation on which all other thrillers worth their salt were built. Alfred Hitchcock's classic about a murderous man with an Oedipus complex and the woman unlucky enough to stop at his motel.

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11 'Scream'

If we're must to include one of the more recent, less artsy horror movies, this is the one to pick. Reminder: The call is always coming from inside the house.

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12 'Se7en'

Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman give ace performances as detectives tracking down a killer who seems to love a good theme (in this case murdering people who embody the seven deadly sins in rather gruesome ways). Also by David Fincher.

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13 'The Silence of the Lambs'

Is there a more classic movie murderer than Hannibal Lecter and his skin suits? Keep the remote nearby—you're going to want to watch 87 percent of it on mute.

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14 'Zodiac'

Another David Fincher flick. This one tells the true story of California's Zodiac Killer, a man who terrorized couples (and the police department, with his cryptic letters and ciphers) in the Bay Area in the 60s and 70s. The case is still unsolved.

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