1. Hannibal Lecter – Manhunter/The Silence of the Lambs/Hannibal/Red Dragon/Hannibal Rising
When people talk about serial killers in movies, Hannibal Lecter is bound to be one of the first mentioned. Almost 25 years since his first appearance in Manhunter (yes it really has been that long), Lecter still sends shivers down the spines of even the toughest of movie goers.
Although Lecter was first seen in Manhunter (portrayed by Brian Cox), most people associate the character with The Silence of the Lambs (a film which houses a certain other entrant on this list). Anthony Hopkins won an Oscar for his unforgettable portrayal of a former psychiatrist and psychopathic cannibal, who taunts Jodie Foster’s Clarice Starling from behind bars.
What makes Lecter so effective as a character is just how calm and calculating he is. He’s undoubtedly out of his mind, but not in an outward or obvious way as some other serial killers mentioned here (Leatherface, etc). He speaks in a soft (albeit creepy) tone of voice and rarely overreacts to the situation at hand. His delivery of advice to Clarice on how to catch a serial killer on the loose is as fascinatingly ironic as it is spine-tingling.
However, despite spending a lot of his time in a cage during The Silence of the Lambs, Lecter shows that he’s as capable physically as he is at psychologically manipulating people. For instance, he disguises himself as an injured police officer by cutting off and wearing the officer’s face in order to escape captivity. A sick yet determined man, indeed.
As was revealed in the origin story Hannibal Rising, Lecter was traumatized as a child when he witnessed the murder and consumption of his younger sister. However, that still doesn’t explain the extreme lengths of Lecter’s insanity – something is clearly inherently wrong with him on a base level.
Lecter remains one of the greatest fictional characters of the last few decades and is the epitome of the psychopathic serial killer.
So that’s it for our list of the 10 most chilling movie serial killers. Now it’s time for you, our loyal Screen Rant readers, to give YOUR thoughts and opinions: Agree with our list? Any glaring omissions or killers on there that shouldn’t be? Sound off in the comments below.
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