Few feelings quite compare to the spine-chilling, heart-dropping rush of watching a great thriller. Whether horror fanatic or not, waiting in anticipation before a serial killer pops out from behind the door has the power to scare the living daylights out of just about anyone.
An even scarier thought than movies have the capacity to convey is the consideration that some of these incidents and occurrences, however vile or morally corrupt they may be, have actually happened in real life. As ignorantly bliss it would be to call it all make-believe, the most monstrous movie villains to ever hit silver screens are modeled after real-life people and events. Here’s a list of the top ten serial killer movies based on true stories.
 From Hell
From Hell is a 2001 psychological thriller directed by Albert and Allen Hughes. The plot follows Frederick Abberline, a private investigator played by Johnny Depp, in his hunt for the renowned real-life supervillain everyone refers to as “Jack the Ripper.”
Dawning in 1888, Jack the Ripper was a name given to a mysterious culprit who killed and tortured five, likely even more women, all found within a mile radius of each. Knowing the person responsible for such heinous crimes was never found, caught, or identified at all is perhaps even more haunting than the startlingly mutilated state these victims were found in. Based on a book rooted in conspiracy, From Hell is very entertaining and befitting to what actually happened in history but it is not entirely, whole-heartedly accurate.
 The Boston Strangler
Loosely hinged on a true story from the early 60s, The Boston Strangler centers around a man named Albert Desalvo, played by Mauro Lannini, who was convicted for murdering 13 women and sentenced to life in prison on the account.
After suffering a traumatic upbringing, Desalvo would go on to lead a lecherous and diabolical life. This epic espionage, directed by Richard Fleisher, does a great job both educating and entertaining audiences on the wicked inter-workings of an evil mind. Rumor has it Pirates of the Carribbean princess Kiera Knightly will be starring in a brand new one.
Whoever thinks only men can take the crown for violent and murderous intent has never heard of Aileen Wuornos. For those who fall under this category, Monster, a biographical crime film written and directed by Patty Jenkins, is a great watch. Starring household Hollywood actress Charlize Theron, Jenkins’ creative masterpiece retells the sinister story of a struggling young lady as she works her way from the streets to a next-level crime: murder.
Wuornos, both in real life and on the big screen, was a prostitute prosecuted for slaughtering seven men, whom she served as clients, between the years of 1989 and 1990. A crowd-pleaser doubling as s semi-fictional chronicle about one of the most disreputable female serial killers in true-crime history, Monster became a triple threat to the theaters when it won multiple academy awards upon release in 2002.
 Snowtown Murders
Australia’s most famous massacre was made into a movie in 2011 with Justin Kurzel’s directorial debut The Snowtown Murders. Between August 1992 and May 1999, three young men named John Justin Bunting, played in the motion picture by Daniel Henshall, Robert Joe Wagner, played by Aaron Viergever, and James “Jamie” Spyridon Vlassakis, carried out what would become known as the “bodies in barrels murders.”
Not only was this one of the vilest trials South Australian courts had seen to date but it also lasted longer and received more worldwide publicity. Whimsical and compelling to the core, Kurzel immaculately captures the catastrophic impact these three men–four counting their getaway grave digger Mark Haydon– had on Australian history.
 My Friend Dahmer
Jeffrey Dahmer may very well be the most infamous serial killer of all time and My Friend Dahmer might be the best biography-based psychological thriller about him ever made. Riveting from start to finish, the 2017 American adaptation was directed by Marc Lynch and is, hinted in the title itself, based on none other than the Milwaukee Cannibal himself.
Ross Lynch stars as Dahmer and former Naked Brother’s Band actor-artist Alex Wolff plays John “Derf” Backderf, the cartoonist who actually inspired the movie’s making with a graphic novel he wrote back in 2012. However, as the narrative reveals, Backderf is more than just a talented artist and vivid storyteller. Up until the killings began in 1978, he was Dahmer’s real-life high school buddy.
 To Catch a Killer
John Wayne Gacy might have single-handedly created Coulrophobia (fear of clowns) with his reign as the formidable “Killer Clown” and To Catch a Killer paints a perfect picture of why. Truly terrifying to anyone and equally entertaining for horror-film fanatics, the 1992 two-part television saga, directed by Eric Till, details the gruesome and gory past of a sadistic serial killer who raped and brutally butchered over 30 young boys.
Despite the unspeakable nature of his crimes, the most frightening element to consider, whether dramatized or bonafide facts, is the costume he wore while committing them. And a red-squeaky nose was not the only prop he used. Gacy also wore a completely different, seemingly kind, and neighborly personality to mask his grueling, blood-thirsty face.
 Helter Skelter
Named after the famous Beatles’ song, Helter Skelter, directed by Tom Gries, is a biological-thriller television drama released in 1976. Giving the word cult-classic a whole new meaning, the flick is based on the horrible atrocities committed by the Charles Manson Family. The Manson murders are among the most arduous archives to dip into and this movie certainly measures up.
Another unsolved true-crime enigma and among the most notably well-known at that, the Zodiac killer deserves a movie more than anyone. Zodiac, directed by Davide Fincher and based on Robert Raysmith’s 1986 novel, is an epic account of the serial killer who littered the San Fransisco Bay Area with bodies from the late 1960s to the early 70s.
Not only does the dramatized version capture the cunning craft and absolutely terrifying tactics used by the Zodiac killer but it also stars some really big Hollywood names, such as Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo, and Jake Gyllenhaal. Albeit, even these A-list actors seem sidepieces to the suspense of this true-crime story.
 Texas Chainsaw Massacre
While The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is indeed advertised as a true story, the character “Leatherface” was not an actual person who went around terrorizing the town with a motorized chainsaw. On another note, despite spinning slightly exaggerated prose, the story itself was inspired by the real 1957 human-slaughter-house, Ed Gein.
Also known as the “Butcher of Plainfield,” notorious for making clothes from human remains, Gein has been a subject for inspiring many psychologically-thrilling cinematic plots, including Norman Bates’ character in Psycho.
 The Silence of the Lambs
This one goes hand-in-hand with Texas Chainsaw as they both provide a general consensus for what really happened with a few aspects of the story changed for dramatic effects; however, Silence of the Lambs, starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, is truly one of a kind.
The murderer in the movie is referred to as”Buffalo Bill,” a sick-minded individual with a fetish for kidnapping plus-sized women and holding them hostage in a human flesh-filled chamber beneath his basement before eventually killing them to wear their skin as a bodysuit.
All these attributes are akin to that of Ed Gein, who allegedly drank from dishes he made from skulls and sat on chairs made of bones. Hannibal Lector’s character, however, was based on a whole different story–the story of a sanguine prisoner with a death sentence who bribed a guard to let him escape from prison. Both recounts would make Silence of the Lambs the third and final film to win Best Picture in addition to all five of the major categories.