5 terrifying films about serial killers to watch on Netflix right now

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Libby Torres
·5 min read
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Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Zac Efron stars as Ted Bundy in "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile." Netflix
  • Netflix has a wealth of true-crime inspired movies and shows to watch right now — including several that are directly inspired by some of history's most notorious serial killers.

  • Zac Efron plays Ted Bundy in "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile," which is based on the real-life experiences of Bundy's girlfriend.

  • There's also the excellent drama series "Mindhunter" that takes a deep dive into the psychology of disturbed murderers such as Ed Kemper and the BTK Killer.

  • Here are the most chilling serial killer-centered movies and shows to watch on Netflix right now.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Serial killers such as Ted Bundy, Ed Kemper, and the BTK Killer are notorious for their violent crimes. And in some cases, their deadly rampages have been the focus of true-crime documentaries or the inspiration for narrative works.

Netflix has many films, TV shows, and docuseries that focus on the life and crimes of murderers such as Bundy, the Long Island serial killer, and Henry Lee Lucas.

Here are the most chilling, serial killer-centered shows and movies you can watch on the platform right now.

Zac Efron plays Ted Bundy in "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile."

zac efron ted bundy extremely wicked
Zac Efron in "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile." Brian Douglas/Netflix

Netflix synopsis: "Single mother Liz falls for Ted Bundy and refuses to believe the truth about his crimes for years. A drama based on a true story."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 54%

Based in part on a memoir by Bundy's longtime girlfriend Elizabeth Kendall, "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile" follows the deranged killer (Efron) as he ingratiates himself into the life of Kendall and her young daughter, all while committing gruesome murders.

Bundy kidnapped, raped and murdered some 30 women during the 1970s and possibly earlier.

It's disturbing to see how easily Bundy was able to charm Kendall and her daughter into accepting him as part of the family, and even more terrifying considering the fact that Bundy once tried to kill Kendall.

Most serial killer-centric films tend to focus on the murders or the efforts of law enforcement to catch the killer. And while "Extremely Wicked" doesn't shy away from portraying Bundy's grisly reign of terror, experiencing the crimes from a different perspective — that of Bundy's unwitting girlfriend — takes the terror to a whole new level.

"Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes" includes testimony from the real-life serial killer.

ted bundy conversations with a killer
Ted Bundy and his longtime girlfriend Elizabeth Kendall in "Conversations with a Killer." Netflix

Netflix synopsis: "Two journalists set out to get the definitive story of infamous serial killer Ted Bundy, as told by the man himself."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 56%

"Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile" is a Hollywood retelling of Bundy and Kendall's story, but in "Conversations with a Killer," viewers hear first-hand testimony from the murderer himself.

The bulk of the docuseries is comprised of interviews Bundy did with journalist Stephen Michaud, as well as archival footage from Bundy's highly-publicized trials.

For those who wonder how or why someone would want to take the life of another person, Bundy offers a partial, if disturbing, answer in "Conversations with a Killer."

Ed Kemper, Charles Manson, and David Berkowitz are portrayed on "Mindhunter."

David Berkowitz played by TK on Mindhunter Season 2 Netflix
Oliver Cooper played real-life serial killer David Berkowitz on Netflix's "Mindhunter." Netlix

Netflix synopsis: "In 1977, frustrated FBI hostage negotiator Holden Ford finds an unlikely ally in veteran agent Bill Tench and begins studying a new class of murderer."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 98%

Serial killers aren't the main characters on "Mindhunter" — that honor would go to FBI Agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) — but they do feature prominently in the Netflix drama.

As Holden and Bill work to develop a better understanding of the minds of serial murderers, well known criminals such as Kemper, Manson, Berkowitz (the self-proclaimed "Son of Sam" killer) and Dennis Rader (the BTK Killer) all make appearances on the show.

And even though the murderers don't have as much screen time as other characters, it's still chilling to see actors bring them to life — in all their cold-hearted violence.

"The Confession Killer" focuses on the trial and imprisonment of real-life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas.

the confession killer netflix
Henry Lee Lucas (center) is the focus of "The Confession Killer." Netflix

Netflix synopsis: "Henry Lee Lucas rose to infamy when he confessed to hundreds of unsolved murders. This docuseries examines the truth — and the horrifying consequences."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 100%

Henry Lee Lucas killed three women — but confessed to the murders of many more.

Once considered the most "prolific" serial killer in America, with his crimes spanning the 1960s to the 1980s, most of Lucas' confessions were later discredited through DNA or other evidence.

While Lucas likely didn't have as many victims as other killers like Ted Bundy or Richard Ramirez, "The Confession Killer" shows how he was able to inflict terror in a different way.

"Lost Girls" dramatizes the story of the Long Island serial killer.

amy ryan lost girls
Amy Ryan in "Lost Girls." Jessica Kourkounis/Netflix

Netflix synopsis: "Desperate to find her missing daughter, a mother fights to uncover the truth — and helps expose a string of unsolved murders. Based on a true story."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 73%

The Long Island Serial Killer, whose identity remains unknown, has been linked to the murders of ten people, mostly sex workers, in a remote area of Nassau County from 1996 to 2010 — and could potentially be involved in the disappearance and killings of dozens more.

The cases were the focus of Robert Kolker's book "Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery," which later served as inspiration for this film.

Focusing on Mari Gilbert (Amy Ryan) as she struggles to find out what happened to her daughter, Shannon, the film is a chilling and unforgettable examination of the Long Island Serial Killer's reign of terror.

Read the original article on Insider