Henry, portrait of a serial killer, by John McNaughton (1986)The killer: Henry Lee LucasSurely the greatest film about a serial killer, with an almost documentary treatment. Henry has just moved to Chicago with his friend Otis, met in prison with his sister Becky who is fleeing a violent husband. The young woman is attracted to Henry, but we quickly realize that he is only a bloodthirsty compulsive madman. Directed by John McNaughton who will later make Sexcrimes, Henry, portrait of a serial killer describes this sordid daily life of the killer while questioning on the representation of violence in cinema, its banality in the face of its realism. A real electroshock film from the 1980s, Henry is disturbing to the point of being almost X-rated when it is released in theaters. Not to be put in all hands.The Boston Strangler (1968) / The Rillington Place Strangler (1971), by Richard FleischerThe killer: Albert DeSalvoThe very great English director Richard Fleischer was a true pioneer in the treatment serial killers in movies. With his two stranglers, he draws a very dark panorama of both English and American society while making incisive portraits of his serial killers. A fine psychologist, Fleischer offers a dizzying vision of the human soul in its darkest corners. dark with this English policeman who began to drug and kill during the Second World War, or this worker-plumber who strangled 12 people between 1962 and 1964 in the Boston area. Two classics of the genre.The killer: John ChristieFrom Hell, by the Hughes brothers (2001)The killer: Jack the RipperThe directors of the legendary Menace to Society leave the tense neighborhoods of Los Angeles and completely change genre with this hallucinated vision of a investigates the Jack the Ripper murders. This film with Johnny Depp in the main role is an adaptation of a dantesque graphic novel by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell which will obtain an Eisner, the most prestigious award for Anglo-Saxon comics. been identified despite his multiple murders, the film like the graphic novel develops a theory around an implausible but very entertaining and extremely researched, documented conspiracy. A true story in augmented reality.Mon Ami Dahmer, by Marc Lynch (2017)The killer: Jeffrey DahmerAnother facet of the killer Jeffrey Dahmer, this film focuses on his adolescence from the point of view of one of his classmates. Adapted from a very successful comic strip, the film follows Derf Backderf and his friends in their college and high school years in a quiet corner of Ohio, with in their entourage: Jeffrey Dahmer. With this disturbing, even chilling testimony, Derf Backderf dissects the small details that could have already detected Dahmer’s murderous drift. He also asks us about society’s treatment of special, strange, sometimes borderline personalities. To what extent, we let them rock, alone in front of themselves. The film is an honest treatment of comics, which is indispensable given its unique treatment of the subject.Monster, by Patty Jenkins (2003)The Killer: Aileen WuornosThis film about America’s first serial killer is a chilling portrait a descent into hell played by a totally transformed Charlize Theron and perfectly directed by Patty Jenkins. Aileen Wuornos’ story is filled with sexual assault, survival through prostitution and thwarted love. But it is full of murder, sometimes in self-defense, often in unjustifiable rage. With this film, it is yet another facet of the human soul that we explore. Just as violent and radical. Summer of Sam, by Spike Lee (1999) The killer: David Berkowitz Between 1976 and 1977, several murders took place in the New York area. The victims seem to be chosen completely at random. The killer sends letters to the press where he calls himself the Son of Sam and says he is being persecuted by the barking of a German shepherd while accusing Satan of inciting him to kill. Summer of Sam is about the hunt for this killer. More than a film about the murders of the Son of Sam, Spike Lee’s film is a paranoid and cultural dive into the heart of the 1977 summer heat wave in New York. As in Do the Right Thing, the director develops a tension and a universe around the rise in temperature in the city, while creating the outline of the cultural revolutions of the moment with the arrival of disco, but also punk, hip-hop as well as all the alternative world that was being created in New York. More than an investigation into the serial killer, Summer of Sam is a film about a temporality, an era. The first film on the subject, many documentaries have since been released, including the series Sons of Sam: The Endless Horror on Netflix which develops the whole theory of journalist Maury Terry with multiple Satanist killers organized at the country level. Sam’s Son Hasn’t Finished His Story.The Illinois Murderer, by Eric Till (1992)The Killer: John Wayne GacyThis two-part television movie is the most complete work on one of the most shocking in history. Respected businessman and philanthropist, John Wayne Gacy is a monster who allegedly murdered and buried 33 teenagers under his house in Chicago. Through the investigation of his latest victim, this film traces the end of a character’s journey completely extraordinary who used to dress up as a clown to amuse children in hospitals. Pogo the Clown. 33 victims. The film is very well made, especially with an exceptional performance by Brian Dennehy which will earn him an Emmy Award nomination. No Man of God, by Amber Sealey (2021) Ted Bundy has surely been the most represented serial killer of his years, in documentary as in fiction film, in particular with Zac Efron. However, No Man of God sheds new light on the fascination that this unhealthy character could create. The film focuses solely on the relationship between Ted Bundy played by Luke Kirby and Bill Hagmaier played by Elijah Wood, the only FBI agent to whom the serial killer wanted to confess. With its long interviews between the two actors, the film talks about manipulation and fascination, while totally deconstructing the sordid glorification around Ted Bundy. New lighting, well staged and perfectly acted.Memories of Murder, by Bong Joon-ho (2003)The killer: Lee Choon-jaeA masterpiece of Korean cinema, Memories of Murder follows the complicated investigation of the first killer in Korea series. With a very iconoclastic police duo, Bong Joon-ho offers an absurd and contrasting face to Evil with a great M. A coup de force in staging and a real mise-en-abîme of the system, Memories of Murder is surely one of the greatest films investigation of the history of cinema just after… Zodiac, by David Fincher (2007) The killer: The Zodiac Killer By tackling the labyrinthine investigation of the Zodiac Killer, David Fincher questions our mental health at the same time as that of all his characters. Cross portraits of obsessive characters in search of truth, Zodiac is the best investigative film on a serial killer ever made. At once thriller, drama and journalistic documentary, Fincher’s work dissects many of the enigmas of the humanity and leaves a large part of our ultimate questions unanswered. A cult movie.