[[quoteright:262:[[Series/{{Dexter}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Dexter_Morgan_5399.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:260:[[SlicesDicesAndMakesJulienneFries He slices! He dices! And he makes Julienne Fries!]]]]

->"''We all go a little mad sometimes.''"
-->-- '''Norman Bates''', ''Film/{{Psycho}}''
%% Mod note: one quote. Additional entries go on the quotes tab.

Which CopShow has one ''not'' appeared in?

A Serial Killer is defined as someone who commits multiple murders, out of some kind of mental or sexual compulsion, in separate incidents with at least a few days in between killings. This is their "cooling off" period, when they temporarily lose the compulsion to kill, and distinguishes them from Spree Killers, who kill in much more regular intervals of weeks or days, if they don't simply go on a murderous rampage that usually ends only when someone captures or kills them. The minimum death toll to be classified as a serial killer is 3-5 people, providing they were killed in separate incidents over a period of more than 30 days. If numerous people are killed in a ''single'' incident (e.g. someone murders an entire family in their home), that is mass murder, though mass murderers can and do become serial killers if they act multiple times.

It's worth pointing out that actually getting ''convicted'' of the three to five murders is rare. Historically, being convicted of ''one'' murder was generally enough to get you executed and pretty quickly as well, with no need or opportunity to prove the rest. Even with large-scale abolition of the death penalty, there's not much point in a prosecutor spending lots of money on multiple charges when just one will probably get the killer a life sentence. Of course, the killer could be deemed insane or kill themselves before the trial.

RealLife serial killers are usually divided into 4 categories, and fictional killers tend to fall into one or more of these categories as well, if not by design, then by their nature.
* '''Visionary''' -- The killer suffers a break from reality, delusions, and/or hallucinations, that compel them to murder. They might believe {{God}} or {{Satan}}, or simply [[HearingVoices voices]], are telling them to kill, or that killing will prevent some kind of disaster. Tends to result from some kind of trauma and/or a mental illness like schizophrenia. The InsanityDefense will usually only apply to this type (though even this only counts if their mental illness impaired their sense of right and wrong), and as such if a killer is going for that defense, they will usually claim to be such -- this very rarely works in RealLife, and in fact is very rarely ''attempted'', probably because in practice there is only so much difference between being locked up in a jail cell for life for multiple murders, and being locked in an insane asylum for life for the same.
* '''Mission-Based''' -- The killer [[KnightTemplar believes that their actions are]] [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans for the greater good]], or in the service of some higher purpose, because they are performing some kind of social, political, philosophical, or religious service, generally targeting people they blame for society's ills, or view as sinful, distasteful, or dangerous. Though they may be deluded, they are not psychotic like the Visionary killer, having a rough grasp on reality. {{Vigilante}} killers are a sub-type of this.
* '''Hedonistic''' -- Someone who kills for '''lust, thrill''', or '''comfort/profit'''. The first two kill principally [[ItAmusedMe because]] [[ForTheEvulz they enjoy it]]; lust-based killers get sexual satisfaction out of murder, while thrill-based ones simply find it exciting. Comfort/profit killers are the type who kill to maintain or fund a life of luxury, or otherwise for money; [[ProfessionalKiller hitmen and assassins]] fall into this category, but it usually refers to cases of fraud, embezzlement, or robbery that involves killing somebody. Women serial killers are usually comfort killers, though not all comfort killers are women.
* '''Power/Control''' -- These murderers kill because it makes them feel powerful. Often (though not always) the type who were [[FreudianExcuse mistreated or abused as children]], they are driven more by insecurity or rage than by any pleasure they might get out of killing, though that might eventually play a part. If rape is involved, it is not, like a Hedonistic killer, motivated by lust, but as another means of dominating the victim. Very often involves [[ColdBloodedTorture torture]], and[=/=]or [[BoundAndGagged binding the victim in some fashion]], though neither of these are requirements.

In addition, as mentioned, there are several sub-types of these killers that fit into the above categories. Some examples include:
* '''Revenge''' killers commit murders to lash out at real or perceived wrongs done to them in life, the victims typically being substitutes for the perpetrator of the original offense. May kill friends, relatives, or strangers for slights, sometimes petty in nature.
* '''BlackWidow''' killers cash in on the insurance of murdered relatives (or friends with wills). Typically serial spouses who murder their new husbands/wives and then move on, though they have been known to murder other relations, including children. Almost always women.
* '''TheBluebeard''' killer is a male counterpart to the Black Widow killer, except that this specifically refers to men who kill their wives, not other relatives. Also, the motive is usually power, not financial gain, though that often plays a part.
* '''{{Professional Killer}}s''' are now increasingly regarded as a sub-type of killer, falling under Comfort/Profit Hedonistic killers.
* '''Cost Cutters''' are those who kill to save money, such as a person who murders employees to avoid paying them.
* '''Lethal Caretakers''' are nurses, carers, or other such who kill patients and carees for profit, e.g. to cash in on social security checks in their name. Usually women.
* '''Angels of Death''' are similar, but kill patients for feelings of power and control, or sometimes [[WellIntentionedExtremist serial mercy-killing (or believe their crimes to be such)]], and are thus harder to trace. Again, usually women, though Harold Shipman -- British doctor and the most prolific serial killer in the world -- falls into this type.
* '''MunchausensByProxy''' is a personality disorder where the perpetrator harms another for attention -- for example, murdering a relative for sympathy at the loss, or killing someone and then trying to "save" them to act the hero. Usually not killers, but serial abusers of relations or strangers, but have been known to turn lethal.
* '''Murderers of [[DisposableSexWorker prostitutes]]''', which is ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin. Most often, a Serial Killer starts with killing a prostitute, and a Serial Killer's victims are likely to be mostly or even only prostitutes (such as UsefulNotes/JackTheRipper, the UrExample of Serial Killers); in fact, it's not uncommon for such a murderer to ''target'' prostitutes, as they believe to be doing a ''favor'' to society by killing them, which makes these killings a type of Mission-Based Serial Killing.
* '''Sexual Predators''' are killers who lure victims to their death with promises of sex or intimacy, or simply chatting the victim up. May drug their victims to make it easier. Usually Lust killers, but other motives are suspected in certain cases.
* '''Sexual Sadists''' are lust killers who torture their victims before killing them; the torture is usually more important than the actual murder. The torture may be psychological and can last for a matter of seconds or minutes, or it can last for hours or days, depending on the offender.
* '''[[TheSociopath Antisocial]]''' killers are those suffering from a severe case of a [[HollywoodPersonalityDisorders Personality Disorder]]. Impulsive and impatient, they pathologically violate social norms and values, such as repeatedly committing serious and petty crimes. Serial murder is usually just one of many crimes they regularly commit, and they often do so in the course of other crimes, such as robbery, rape, and various forms of [[ManipulativeBastard manipulation]].
* '''[[IAmAHumanitarian Cannibalistic]]''' killers hunt down people so they can eat their flesh. Other times they do it out of curiosity after they've killed someone, the cannibalism not having been the primary motive for the murder. Jeffrey Dahmer is a well-known real life example of this type. Franchise/HannibalLecter is the most iconic fictional example.
* '''[[KillerCop Police]]''' killers are serial murderers who are also involved in law enforcement. There's a roughly equal chance that they're a VigilanteMan who thinks he is cleaning the street by killing criminals and anyone else they regard as immoral, or just an [[AxCrazy indiscriminate psycho]] who butchers people [[ForTheEvulz for fun]] while using their jobs as covers for their crimes.
** '''{{Cop Killer}}s''' are the other way around, killing actual police either [[GoodCopBadCop decent policemen]] or [[CorruptCop foul]], they kill with the belief that they are AboveTheLaw.
* '''Supernatural''' killers are what happens when a normal, flesh and blood killer for any of the above types dies. Or rather, ''[[TheUndead doesn't]]''. He may discover EvilMakesYouMonstrous, get turned into a [[OurVampiresAreDifferent vampire]] or [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent werewolf]], or linger on as a [[OurGhostsAreDifferent ghost.]] This usually makes them (perhaps literal) nightmares, as they [[ThePunishment suffer]] from a HorrorHunger, gain superpowers, and are [[NighInvulnerability nigh unkillable]].
* Murderers who invoke '''SerialKillingsSpecificTarget''' kill additional victims to disguise the motive for their intended victim's murder and make it look like the work of any of the other types of serial killers described above.

Serial killers can further be divided into '''Organized''' and '''Disorganized'''. The former plan their crimes carefully and often well in advance, and are thus always premeditated. They may even hold a stable job and have a good education, and appear [[FauxAffablyEvil perfectly normal in every way]]. Such people are very likely to be TheChessmaster. The latter are much more impulsive and careless; their crimes may or may not be premeditated, and they are recklessly executed when they are, without due care for witnesses or leaving evidence. These tend to be poorly educated and not in steady employment.

'''The following things tend to occur in a serial killer plot:'''
* The killer sends a note to the police, or a newspaper, or both, with a [[CriminalMindGames taunting message]] that ends in a challenge along the lines of "You can't catch me." A [[FingerInTheMail gruesome souvenir]] may also be included.
** A variation is to have the killer send a message saying "Please catch me before I kill more."
* Serial killers are often, but not always, portrayed as TheChessmaster, brilliantly layering one EvilPlan onto another. Often, this takes the form of a series of {{Batman Gambit}}s that lead the police on a series of wild goose chases as the killer gloats.
* They have a [[RoomFullOfCrazy wall full of newspaper clippings covering their actions]]. Sometimes they keep a photographic record of their kills, or even a souvenir of the victim's.
** Scenes of the killer watching news reports about their own crimes, and [[AttentionWhore gloating about being in the media spotlight]], are also common.
* If it's part of a StoryArc, one cop is probably going to fall victim (which is part of the requisite TonightSomeoneDies hype).
* At the climax, one of the cops is usually AloneWithThePsycho, but is saved JustInTime.
* If the killer is not depicted as AxCrazy, then the victims all have something to do with one another.
* If somebody else is wrongfully implicated, and looks close to taking the rap, [[AcquittedTooLate the serial killer will bump them off]], even though this means casting suspicion back on himself.
** Or the killer will kill again while the wrongfully accused is incarcerated, casting suspicion back on himself.
** Sometimes he will do it ''because'' it casts suspicion back towards himself, because he is insulted that the police suspect someone he considers unworthy of the attention.
* The killer might leave a distinctive CallingCard at each scene of his crimes.
* The killer might be a PoeticSerialKiller, who kills bad people with ironic methods.
* Or they're a ThemeSerialKiller, and they have a set of themes (possibly taken from a poem/book), with each victim fitting the next theme in the killer's list (which they rarely get to complete).
* The killer will [[ReminiscingAboutYourVictims fondly recall or talk about their victims]].
* Some of these plots have the SerialKiller insert themselves into the investigation, either by posing as a witness, victim, or in some cases, an investigator. The killer's purpose in doing this is either to misdirect the police or prove how much smarter the killer is than the cops. While it's much more common in fiction, [[TruthInTelevision this has actually happened in real life.]]

Serial Killer plots tend to be men killing women, although ''Series/TheBill'' subverted this. This is [[TruthInTelevision somewhat realistic]], however, because in the real world, the vast majority of serial killers are men -- or, more exactly, men tend to murder in ways that make it easier for them to get caught. Female serial killers will typically be Angels of Death and may work in health care or similar vocations. In fiction, they'll often have a TortureCellar or do their killings in a SinisterSubway.

Over the last few years, daytime soaps have had an unusually high number of serial killers. ''Series/OneLifeToLive'' has had at least two in as many years. It's the chic way for producers to pare down their casts.

It's notable that many of these behaviors ''are'' realistic for serial killers, though seeing all of them with ''one'' killer is unlikely. Also notable is the fact that they are practically ''never'' allowed to go uncaught by the end, despite many of the most famous unsolved cases in history being serial killer investigations.

Sometimes they are more like a so-called '[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spree_killer Spree killer]]', i.e. someone who goes on a murderous rampage in a smaller area over a shorter time. In fact, this is more common than actual serial killers, though characters often confuse the two, as time constraints mean the killings in a story usually take place over the space of a few days, whereas real serial killers by definition usually have weeks, months, or years between their kills.

The term "serial killer" isn't [[NewerThanTheyThink actually that old]]; it was coined in German (as "Serienmörder", serial murderer) in 1930 by Ernst Gennat, the highly influential director of the Berlin criminal police in the 1930s. "Serial murderer" crops up in 1966 and "serial killer" is generally attributed to FBI agent Robert Ressler in the 1970s, it didn't enter popular culture until 1981.

A counterpart to the SerialRapist; it's not uncommon for the tropes to overlap, seeing how MurderersAreRapists and all. Compare with PsychoForHire, where a job that requires killing people is used by villains to act out their sadism. See also HuntingTheMostDangerousGame, where someone makes an actual sport out of killing people. The killer feared by other killers is a SerialKillerKiller.

Many potential Serial Killers get caught quickly because they use an MO that makes their crimes easy to detect and identify, or have such a strong compulsion to murder they literally cannot stop themselves even when they know they are under suspicion and/or police surveillance. They may even ''enjoy'' it more if they know the cops are watching -- yes, they see it as some kind of game. And finally, some of them are so sick and broken that they ''want'' to get caught.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The protagonist's neighbor, and later girlfriend, in ''Manga/AnaSatsujin'' is one of these. He finds out her secret ''before'' dating her, and being her boyfriend is the reason she hasn't killed him.
* In ''Manga/{{ARAGO}}'', the Patchman's M.O. is a burned hand print on the throat of the victim... And some body parts missing ([[{{Squick}} he uses them to patch up his own rotting body]]).
* ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'' has Kenny the Ripper, a UsefulNotes/JackTheRipper {{Expy}} mentioned to have once stalked the streets of the Capitol decades prior. His killings are the stuff of legend, with one soldier wondering whether or not he actually existed. The story goes that he slit the throats of over 100 members of the Military Police Brigade and was never caught. Levi confirms this individual did indeed exist: [[spoiler:Kenny ''Ackerman'' was his maternal uncle, raised him, and later became a Captain in the Military Police's sinister 1st Brigade]]. It's later implied that many of his killings [[spoiler:may have actually been [[{{Revenge}} in response to him and the rest of the Ackermans being hunted down by the government]].]]
* One of the early ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' villains counts. Unlike most other hollows, Shrieker is just as bad dead as he was alive. He was a serial killer in life and seemed to simply just really enjoy it. His actions as a hollow are more of the same, just much more creative with his new powers, including sealing the soul of the kid who killed him in a parrot. Needless to say, when Ichigo appeared and ripped out his tongue before curb stomping him, it was incredibly satisfying. Being impaled and dragged to Hell was the cherry on top.
* One particularly loathsome Contractor in the second season of ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack'' was a serial killer before getting his powers, and while being a Contractor means LackOfEmpathy, that actually made him a bit saner and more able to control himself.
** In a way, [[spoiler:Nick]] in the first season might qualify. He was killing people to carry out a goal, not just as an end in itself, but his PowerAtAPrice involved a compulsion to untie his victim's shoes, and so he kind of fit the "killer with a calling card" idea.
* There's a ton of them in ''Manga/DeadmanWonderland''; they all eventually end up being forced to murder each other. A few are excited about that.
* Light Yagami, the protagonist of ''Manga/DeathNote'', being of the [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans mission-based]] [[AGodAmI variety]], with shades of [[GigglingVillain hedonistic]] sprinkled in there, uses the titular ArtifactOfDoom to anonymously [[SerialKillerKiller kill criminals]]. Near even lampshades this.
** Misa Amane the Second Kira, and Teru Mikami the Hand of Kira, both do the same while in Light's service.
** Beyond Birthday, in the ''Manga/DeathNote'' spin-off ''[[LightNovel/AnotherNote Another Note: the Los Angeles BB Murder Cases]]''
* ''Manga/DescendantsOfDarkness'' has played with this. In the Kyoto arc, [[spoiler:Muraki goes on a serial killing spree, partially to draw Tsuzuki's attention, and partially to try and create a Frankenstein monster styled body with which to resurrect his hated brother so he can kill him with his own hands. Did I mention this guy's a psycho?]]
** He's also behind the serial vampire murders that constitute Tsuzuki and Hisoka's first case together (Nagasaki), and [[spoiler:the cruise ship disappearances they investigate later, which turn out to be organ farming.]] This is kind of his thing.
%%* ''Manga/DetectiveConan''
* The two [=IceDevimon=] featured in ''Anime/DigimonTamers'' and ''Anime/DigimonFrontier'' had shades of this.
* The PsychopathicManchild named "Old Cho" from ''Manga/{{Domu}}: A Child's Dream'' psychically controlled 29 people into "committing suicide" all within three years, so he can take one possession of theirs as a trophy.
* Lucy, the protagonist of ''Manga/ElfenLied'' has killed people [[EnfantTerrible ever since she was young]], ranging from having a place to eat and sleep for a couple of nights to [[DisproportionateRetribution the person looking at her the wrong way]]. She's a disturbing combination of Visionary as she's led by her DNA Voice to kill and Hedonistic due to her numerous fits of glee and laughter as she butchers people. The news reports even label her as such.
* The main plot of ''Manga/{{Erased}}'' follows BlessedWithSuck Satoru Fujinuma as he's [[GroundhogPeggySue sent back to his childhood in order to thwart a child serial kidnapper and murderer]]. The serial killer in question turns out to be [[spoiler:Satoru's fifth-grade teacher, Yashiro Gaku, who appears to be in the hedonistic camp, killing children for his own sick pleasure]].
* One early chapter of ''Manga/FrankenFran'' has Fran being brought on as a consultant for a serial killer case where the killer dumps severed body parts all over town (that, according to DNA tests, all come from the same person, despite the fact that this should be impossible.) [[spoiler:Eventually subverted, as there is no killer. All the body parts indeed come from one person... who is suffering from a massively hyperactive malignant cancer that causes her to sprout entire extra body parts and organs, and the ones leaving the body parts everywhere are most likely her parents, who were cutting them off of her.]]
* ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'':
** Barry the Chopper is a [[HeroicComedicSociopath comically violent]] serial killer even after his death. That said, the images of his backstory are rather unnerving, and the only reason he stops killing is because of his involvement with the various conspiracies.
** This series also gives us The Slicer, who (like Barry) is AnimatedArmor, created to guard Lab 5 following the execution.
** Scar is of a different (and often overlooked) variety. He only targets state alchemists with the motivation of revenge for the massacre of his people. This makes him a "mission-oriented" serial killer. He becomes more of a sympathetic AntiVillain and then AntiHero over time.
** In [[Anime/FullmetalAlchemist the 2003 anime version]], Barry the Chopper was encountered earlier as a VillainousCrossdresser. When we see him again as #66, he keeps on killing right up until he is killed by Scar.
* ''Manga/{{Goth}}'' follows a pair of [[NightmareFetishist murder-obsessed]] high school students who track down serial killers to admire their (often gruesome) work.
* In ''Manga/{{Ibitsu}}'', Kazuki is horrified to learn, far too late, that he's not the first person approached by the "Strange Lolita" killer. The others who became the Strange Lolita's "older brothers" were never heard from again.
* Yoshikage Kira, the BigBad of ''Manga/JojosBizarreAdventureDiamondIsUnbreakable'', kills women for their hands which he has a strange fetish for (he thinks of the hands as his "girlfriends" and he seems to show no interest in the rest of the body). He is all the more dangerous because [[HavingABlast his ability]] leaves no evidence, and he will kill anyone who comes in between him and the quiet life he wants to live.
** Angelo Katagiri was arrested at the age of 12 for robbery [[SerialRapist and rape]], and his crimes became progressively more violent as time went on. 20 years later, he was sent to death row [[WouldHurtaChild for the rape and murder of three teenage boys]], and later escaped from prison and went on a killing spree using his Stand before being defeated by Josuke.
* ''Manga/MPDPsycho'' centers around the protagonist, who attempts to use his multiple personalities to track and thwart serial killers. Since one of his personalities is itself a serial killer, it goes without saying that things at times can get complicated.
* With all the seemingly random killings in ''[[AllThereInTheManual StrikerS Sound Stage X]]'' of ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha'', this was what the investigators originally thought the Mariage Case was about. However, it soon became clear that Mariage wasn't a serial killer but a group of [[NightOfTheLivingMooks undead]] {{super soldier}}s seeking the whereabouts of their [[WarriorPrince king]] so they can begin a new war, all orchestrated by someone else as part of a terrorist scheme.
* Johan Liebert, the ''Manga/{{Monster}}''. He even [[spoiler:manipulated other killers into doing his work for him, most of whom ''also'' ended up dead]]. Johan is an unusual example in that it is debatable whether he has a ''compulsion'' to kill, since he shows that he can stop whenever he wants, and [[spoiler:his [[FreudianExcuse traumatic childhood]] is revealed to have happened to someone else. It should be noted that having these false memories is the only sign of anything resembling insanity; all of his killings and manipulation may be motiveless and insane, but Johan himself comes across as terrifyingly sane (with the exception of one FreakOut)]].
** Also, he does not appear to get any sort of benefit from killing; he shows no signs of getting a thrill or sexual pleasure from his acts, nor does he seem to get any kicks from domination, and the killings are usually carried out as pragmatically as possible (no wasting time through torture, etc.), which suggests that his use of other people to kill might be simple expedience rather than enjoying his ability to manipulate. In addition, with many of his victims, there is no financial gain or any real progress towards whatever plan he may have at the time, making their deaths pointless. The lack of any recognisable motive is the main reason why he's widely considered NightmareFuel incarnate.
* ''Manga/MotherKeeper'' has two. Lint is mentioned on multiple occasions to have been a serial killer before becoming a mother keeper, though little is said about his crimes. The second one is [[spoiler:Graham Gregson]] who [[spoiler:killed the real Graham Gregson, along with the man's entire family. He later also murdered Silas and everyone working for him.]]
* ''Manga/MurasakiiroNoQualia'' gives one in the form of the culprit to the Tokyo Dismembering Murders. A total and complete [[TheSociopath sociopath]].
* [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Manga/Murcielago Murciélago]] focuses on ''Main/SerialKillerKiller'' Koumori Kuroko, who herself murdered 715 people before being caught. Her targets are serial killers too dangerous for normal police, such as a man who killed an entire train's worth of people with ''Main/RazorFloss'' and a giant wrestler doped up on ''Main/PsychoSerum''.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}''
** Gaara constantly murders anyone who gets in his way, all because he believes that this is his sole purpose. Though he and his known victims are combat personnel and thus 'fair game', sort of, they were killed outside of combat situations. One notable instance would be the time Gaara killed two shinobi gamblers trying to get him to take a fall in the Chuunin Exam fights.
** HIDAN. Kills for pleasure, cool down time between kills, likes to torture. He may even be named after Hedonism, one of the above categories.
** Orochimaru is, or rather was, a straighter example; he fled the Leaf village after being exposed as a serial killer who had abducted and killed close to a hundred ninja, civilians, and ''babies'' to perform gruesome human experiments, though a number of these were technically unintentional in that he was usually trying to find safe ways of performing said experiments on ''himself'' and therefore wasn't really wanting them to die (not that he gave a crap if they did, it's just that their deaths were beside the point -- plus, he seemed to be ''really'' enjoying himself).
* ''Manga/PandoraHearts'' gives us Illegal Contractors, people that forge a DealWithTheDevil in the hopes of changing the past. Part of the bargain requires them to sacrifice victims to their Chain, and many develop patterns or preferred victims over the course of time. The most notable examples include the mysterious Head Hunter and the Red-eyed Ghost -- the former beheads victims [[spoiler:and turns out to be both Humpty Dumpty and the Queen of Hearts]], while the other is in fact [[spoiler:Xerxes Break]] in a surprising example of a Serial Killer with a [[spoiler:SympatheticMurderBackstory]].
* Kabuto from ''Manga/{{Parasyte}}''. We don't know much about him, since by the time he first appeared he was already in jail, but a few flashbacks show that he used to be a big fan of mutilation, cannibalism, and necrophilia. He is brought to help the police catch parasites because he has the ability to see who is infected. It's implied to be because he sees other humans the same way parasites do -- but at least the parasites ''need'' to eat humans to survive. He pretends that, deep down, everybody is like him, and he's just the only one who doesn't try to suppress his true nature.
* Creator/NaokiUrasawa, the creator of ''Monster'', has another manga called ''Manga/{{Pluto}}'', in which he manages to turn the titular character, a big, goofy-looking green cartoon robot with horns from the classic ''Manga/AstroBoy'' series, into a genuinely terrifying serial killer figure.
* Two of these appear in ''Manga/PrivateActress''. One is [[spoiler:a MadDoctor who kills people with MisMatchedEyes, including a girl whose grown-up sister hires Shiho to make her pose as [[ItMakesSenseInContext the reincarnation of her dead older sis]].]] The other is [[spoiler:Kana Juumonji/Satoka Ryoudou, the BigBad of the manga, who as ''[[EnfanteTerrible a little girl]]'' killed [[TheDogBitesBack a bully]] and from then on started eliminating anyone who stood in her way...]]
* One killer in Manga/{{QED}} is a person who graduates from MIT's mathematics department implied to suffer from a bit of delusions of grandeur, wanting to be remembered as the department's ace by killing three other aces from MIT's aerospace engineering, quantum mechanics and genetic engineering department in Touma's year, making reference to ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E_(mathematical_constant) e]]'', ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imaginary_number i]]'' and [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pi π]] in all murders [[spoiler:and planned to kill himself to "complete [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euler%27s_identity Euler's Identity]]"]].
* Udo Jinei, the first major villain in ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'', is introduced as this, committing multiple murders in the past 10 years under the name "Kurogasa" ("Black Hat"), and targeting politicians who previously fought on the side of the newly-established Meiji government during the days of the Bakumatsu. According to his M.O., he always sends a message to his target in advance, telling them the exact day and time he's going to strike, and he always gets his target no matter how many guards the person has in place. In the anime, it's also noted that [[WouldHitAGirl women]] and [[WouldHurtAChild children]] have been among his collateral-damage victims during his career. [[spoiler:It's revealed that Jinei was actually hired to perform all those murders by a crooked politician looking to make his rise to the top of the government. In the manga, while dying after committing suicide following his loss to Kenshin, Jinei admits to having been hired to commit the murders; the anime doesn't reveal it until much later, when we're introduced to the same politician, who currently has [[TheMole Saito]] on his payroll (at least, so he thinks)]].
* [[spoiler:Cho Hakkai (AKA Cho Gonou)]], one of the main characters in ''Manga/{{Saiyuki}}'', is a mass revenge serial killer who goes AxCrazy {{yandere}} after his [[spoiler:{{twincest}} older sister/lover is [[HumanSacrifice sacrificed]] by his village as an offering to the local demon king,]] leaving half of the village and most of the demons clan dead in the aftermath.
* ''Manga/TokyoGhoul'' has several, primarily Ghouls with unusual feeding patterns.
** Shuu Tsukiyama stands out from other Ghouls due to his unusual feeding patterns imitating a human Serial Killer. He is a PickyPeopleEater to the extreme, and selects potential victims based on them having some exceptional or beautiful trait. At one point, Investigators discussing the "[[RedBaron Gourmet]]" case are able to discern several important events taking place in the series based solely on him breaking from his strict patterns of behavior and feeding on victims that aren't up to his usual standards.
** Yuujirou Utsumi, from the second light novel. A businessman famous for his generous nature, he turns out to be a vicious cannibal that enjoys preying on young women. His adopted children are ghouls that he raised to commit the murders for him, while Utsumi himself turns out to be human. By the time he's caught, he's already [[DarkLordOnLifeSupport terminally ill]] and no longer capable of forcing the children to do his bidding.
** In the sequel, the ghoul Torso is explicitly described as a serial killer. A deranged loner, he works as a taxi driver and kidnaps women with scars to become his dismembered "[[ILoveTheDead lovers]]". He is considered disturbing even by others of his kind, and his home is a CannibalLarder filled with the bodies of his victims.
* ''Manga/{{Underdog}}'': Naoto's first opponent, Masaya Hiuchi, is an 18 year-old who was just recently released from a mental institution after brutally murdering several of his female classmates in middle school. His first actions in the [[DeadlyGame tournament]] show that he's already up to his old tricks.
* ''Manga/BokuNoHeroAcademia'':
** [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Hero Killer Stain]] is a mission-based serial killer who, like his alias says, [[HeroKiller targets superheroes.]] He believes that society's class of superheros are corrupt glory-hounds who are heroes in name only, and have completely lost sight of the virtues that he believes make people real heroes. He used to be an advocate for societal reform so heroes are self-sacrificing altruists and not celebrities, but at some point he [[JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope made a flying leap off the deep end]] and now murders heroes who don't live up to his deranged standards.
*** Despite being a serial killer, you do have to give Stain credit for legitimately believing in his belief system. He targets supervillains with the same lack of mercy and he spares potential victims if they manage to match his standards of what a proper hero should be.
** Himiko Toga appears to be a Hedonistic type. Her quirk, like Stain's, activates when she drinks blood. Stain, however, only drinks blood as part of combat and not necessarily as part of his murderous urges. Toga, on the other hand, seems to get sexual pleasure from murdering and draining her victims.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Franchise/{{Batman}} has dealt with many of them, and several members of his {{rogues gallery}} fall into the category from time to time. The most recurring ones are SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker (obviously) and Victor Zsasz. But by far the most notable serial killers in Batman history (by virtue of their actions being the main plot of a mini-series) are [[ComicBook/TheLongHalloween Holiday]] and [[ComicBook/DarkVictory The Hangman]].
** ''ComicBook/BatmanTheBlackMirror'' adds the son of Commissioner Gordon, James Gordon Jr.
* ''ComicBook/JohnnyTheHomicidalManiac'' is a serial killer [[VillainProtagonist protagonist]]. Psychologically, he see-saws between being a visionary and a thrill/control killer: On one hand, Johnny is very obviously psychotic, talks with his own furniture, suffers memory loss, and believes there's a thing[[note]]fun fact:It's not a moose![[/note]] living inside one of his walls (it's never consistent which wall), which he needs to paint with fresh blood regularly to keep the thing inside from escaping. On the other hand, [[HeelRealization Johnny is aware he's a psychotic serial killer]] and cherry-picks his targets from perceived {{Asshole Victim}}s (or anybody unfortunate enough to stand close enough to one) and also exhibits a personal enjoyment in murdering people. [[spoiler:Oh yeah, and that thing in the wall? It's real (well, that, or Johnny's psychosis is contagious. And sentient. And able to kill people). It's implied that Johnny was 'chosen' to become the thing's prison guard, with the duty having driven him insane and made him kill people. Then again, his personality doesn't really change all that much from being released from his duty. Senior Diablo notes that Johnny was pretty off to begin with, and being chosen just pushed him over the edge.]]
* ''ComicBook/TheSandman'' has an issue where a bunch of serial killers have a convention, in the style of a comic book or sci-fi convention. They advertise it as a convention for the [[IncrediblyLamePun cereal]] industry. [[spoiler:The escaped nightmare who draws the plot's attention there is the Corinthian -- who became one of these for his own amusement in Morpheus' absence. For over half a century.]]
** Has a crossover connection to ''ComicBook/{{Hellblazer}}'', where John Constantine was having a run-in with the Cereal Convention's absent guest speaker at the time. ("Anyone seen the Family Man?")
** Dog Soup hung a lampshade on this trope, complaining at a panel discussion that female serial killers like herself are stereotyped as either angel-of-mercy nurses or [[BlackWidow black widows]]. "I'm a serial killer and a woman, and I'm proud of it!" Judging by the name, ''she'' is a lot more hands-on about her work.
*** Bonus points because she's flanked by a woman in a nurse outfit and a woman tagged as "the grass widow," both of whom are giving her dirty looks as she says this.
** The presence of at least two conventioneers who'd written "God" on their name tags, along with the "Religion Panel," may also be a lampshading of the kinds of delusions commonly attributed to serial killers.
* ''ComicBook/SinCity'':
** Kevin from the comic/film is a particularly disturbing example. He kills and cannibalizes vulnerable hookers. On the side he's also a hit man for the Cardinal.
** Roark Junior from the story ''That Yellow Bastard'' is another particularly vile one of these. He rapes little girls and slashes them to ribbons, and particularly enjoys hearing them scream. He's protected by his powerful U.S. Senator father, who makes life hell for anyone who tries to take Junior down.
** A serial killer briefly appears in the short story "And Behind Door Number Three?". He was targetting Old Town girls. Things ended very badly for him, to say the least.
* ComicBook/{{Carnage}} from Franchise/SpiderMan is one of these; his alter ego Cletus Kasady was one even before he came in contact with the symbiote. (He had been convicted of eleven murders, but he bragged of a dozen more that the police couldn't find evidence for.) Early in his villainous career, he would leave the message "Carnage Rules!" written in his victim's blood (or with his own) at the site of each murder.
* Comicbook/{{Supergirl}}: In ''Comicbook/ManyHappyReturns'', two different Supergirls faced up to Xenon, a serial killer of Supergirls throughout the Multiverse and Hypertime. It's implied he's already killed a good number of them, and he is shown murdering a slightly South American-esque Supergirl.
* One story from Creator/AlanMoore's famous run on ''Comicbook/SwampThing'' was told from the perspective of a serial killer who called himself the Bogeyman. His career comes to an abrupt and anticlimactic end when he runs across the eponymous plant-man.
** He gets a ContinuityNod in the Sandman story mentioned above.
* Onomatopoeia, a mask-wearing Serial Killer introduced in a ''ComicBook/GreenArrow'' story and later seen in ''Batman: Cacophany'', targets BadassNormal vigilantes. He isn't against killing other people such as prostitutes either. The creepiest element of his character is one shared by more than a few RealLife serial killers: he leads a double life as a loving and seemingly normal family man with a wife and two kids. He handwaves the injuries he gets as sports accidents and has a secret trophy room in his house with the masks of the vigilantes he killed.
* At least one writer for ''ComicBook/ThePunisher'' has described the character as a serial killer who kills criminals.
* ''ComicBook/ArkhamAsylumLivingHell'', in addition to regular ''Batman'' villains, introduces Jane Doe, who kills people to take their identity and life, and Doodlebug, who drains people of their blood for [[MadArtist his paintings]] [[spoiler:but also to free several demons trapped beneath Arkham Asylum]].
* ''ComicBook/YoungJustice'' has Harm, a sociopathic killer whose ambition is to become the world's top murderer.
* ''ComicBook/{{Foolkiller}}'' is on a mission to do ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin. Although he often falls into {{Vigilante}} territory, he's not limited to criminals. The character points out frequently that many of the biggest "fools" have the protection of the "letter of the law" if not the "spirit of the law".
* ''ComicBook/JudgeDredd'': Actually a fairly mundane type of villain in the dystopian urban setting. Recurring bad guy PJ Maybe, a mastermind-level [[TheChessmaster Chessmaster]], is probably the most famous example, but there have been regular serial killers, [[ImAHumanitarian cannibalistic]] serial killers, [[GenuineHumanHide skin-stealing]] serial killers, SnuffFilm serial killers, a [[DepravedDentist dentist]] serial killer, and robot-hating serial killers. There was even a secret club of serial killers who tried to set a new record by having all of their members go on a killing spree at the same time, unleashing a murder wave in Mega-City One that ended with their leader trying to detonate a nuclear bomb.
* The Penny Murderer from ''ComicBook/BrodysGhost'' is a murderer of young women, whose modus operandi is to strangle them and leave pennies on their foreheads. The series centers around Brody tracking him down and putting an end to his murders, with the ghostly Talia's help.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''SonicTheHedgehog'' AlternateUniverseFic ''Fanfic/PrisonIslandBreak'', Shadow the Hedgehog is a Serial Killer-Rapist. His crimes had a Power/Control motive. It was eventually revealed that he never actually enjoyed raping his victims, and the murders mostly happened when he lost control.
-->'''Shadow:''' Eleven rapes, nineteen murders. And that's just what they caught me for.
** Scourge the Hedgehog is also a Serial Killer-Rapist, but with a much more Hedonistic motive.
* ''FanFic/{{Cupcakes}}'' casts [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Pinkie Pie]] as one.
** ''[[FanFic/CheerileesGarden Cheerilee's Garden]]'' does the same for Cheerilee, though she tries to disguise her Hedonistic motivations as [[KnightTemplar a noble crusade against the "weeds."]]
** ''Fanfic/{{Popped}}'' depicts Pokey Pierce, a fairly overlooked background pony, as a sadistic, power-thirsty serial killer that preys on young mares in and around Ponyville.
** The ''Fanfic/PonyPOVSeries'' has [[BadFuture Dark World]]!Fluttercruel, who, while she doesn't mind how she kills a pony so long as its violent, her preferred method is akin to FanFic/{{Cupcakes}}!Pinkie Pie; torturing them to death in her TortureCellar. Her motivation is a mix of Power/Control and Hedonistic, as she enjoys the power over them and gets a thrill. However, her biggest motive she kept secret was [[spoiler:that she kills to express her love for her father]] and due to being raised by [[EvilOverlord Discord]], she [[ObliviouslyEvil has no idea that what she's doing is wrong.]] Also the Supernatural type, due to being immortal, and Discord's demigod daughter.
** ''[[FanFic/TheKillerRarityverse The Secret Life of Rarity]]'' is an example of a killer Rarity, dating back to a self-defense murder in her foalhood. She is a power/control killer, and by the end of the story she is the most prolific serial killer in the history of Equestria with well over 100 kills. Having said that, she has dissolved into clear self-loathing by the end of the story, and she hates how she has no control of her desire to kill.
* The ''WebAnimation/HappyTreeFriends'' fanfiction "The Reaper" has one.
* In New Dawn, Nebiros is a Revenge Killer, taking very petty vengeance on those who he thinks were born into better circumstances than him. He also fits the Supernatural mold, due to the whole "he's a demon" thing.
** In a similar vein, most villains in New Dawn III are Serial Killers, the BigBad being a Revenge / Mission Based Serial Killer. It's worse in Robin's case because his Modus Operandi leaves no trace of his victims behind.
* [[FanFic/UltimateSleepwalker Sleepwalker]] has confronted multiple serial killers who become supervillains. One example is Fever Pitch, a "visionary"-type killer with a large UsefulNotes/CharlesManson-like cult following who eventually becomes a [[FlamingSkull living, flaming skeleton]] that can control and shoot fire. Another example is the [[ScaryScarecrows Scarecrow]], who murdered 16 people with a pitchfork before being caught and executed, but has returned in the form of a demonic Freddy Krueger-like monster that {{Mind Rape}}s his victims to death.
* [[FanFic/UltimateSpiderWoman Spider-Woman]]'s ArchEnemy, the AxCrazy Jack O' Lantern, counts as a serial killer simply based on the sheer number of people he kills over a period of several months. His reason for doing so? ForTheEvulz, mostly, which qualifies him as an "antisocial" type killer.
* The ''Series/{{Bones}}'' fanfic [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8557282/1/The-Bard-In-The-Bodycount "The Bard in the Bodycount"]] has Booth and the Jeffersonian team going up against a killer who stages his murders bases on scenes from Creator/WilliamShakespeare's plays. The first victim, for example, is a woman found floating in a river, her body clad in a shroud and strewn with pansies, rosemary, rue, and fennel, referring to the death of [[Theatre/{{Hamlet}} Ophelia]].
* In the ''ComicBook/DoctorStrange'' fanfic "The Necessary Shadow", Doctor Strange starts hunting down a serial killer known as the April 9th Killer. Once a year on April 9th, he kidnaps, rapes, and tortures five teenaged girls to death in a ritualistic manner, and leaving their bodies surrounded by occult implements. This has been going on for seventeen years, and Doctor Strange is certain that the sacrifices have some occult purpose. It turns out he's right, but not in the way he suspects. The human sacrifice performed by the April 9th killer is actually preventing an ancient EldritchAbomination from materializing and eating the earth. So in the end, as much as he hates it, Strange must allow the annual murders to continue...
* The ''Series/{{Emergency}}'' fic ''[[http://audreys-efanfic.freeservers.com/lostandfound.html Lost and Found]]'' has a serial killer targeting firefighters. John becomes a victim when he pleads with the guy to take him instead of Roy, but survives because the guy wasn't solely a killer, he was also wanting a willing participant in his twisted games. John gets to the point of willingly complying because he's terrified of being tortured to death like the others. Still, he snaps when the guy says he's keeping him forever, and kills him to escape.
* ''Fanfic/KitsuneNoKenFistOfTheFox'' has Utakata, a.k.a. Saiken the Slug of the Kyuushingai, who has killed 18 doctors and their families, [[LeaveNoWitnesses plus anyone else unlucky enough to be nearby at the time]], in the two years since the end of the 365 days' terror in which he was a participant. He's described as having been suffering from mental illness prior to receiving the Kyuushingai training, and describes himself as a psychopath. [[spoiler:Turns out the doctors he targeted were all involved in the Kyuushingai training process, and more specifically they were the only ones who would have been able to prove that a major antagonist in the story was pulling a DeadPersonImpersonation, which is why [[ManBehindTheMan said villain]] manipulated Utakata into killing the doctors in order to keep the secret quiet]].
* ''Fanfic/PokemonResetBloodlines'' features a couple of examples:
** The Georgia Gaiden sidestory explores her background, about how her parents were killed by a murderer known only as "The Reaper", who [[ZorroMark left a distinctive mark]] is his victim's corpses. [[spoiler: As it turns out, his real identity is the Striaton Gym Leader, Eric Knudsen, and used his Ghost-types to carry out his murders.]]
** In the Ultima Interlude, there's another that calls himself the "Bloodliner Hunter", who only targets bloodliners, convinced that he's on a divine mission to purge the world of them. According to Looker, he has eight confirmed victims and six unconfirmed ones, most of which were under sixteen years old.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* [[spoiler:Claudandus]] from ''WesternAnimation/{{Felidae}}'' personally kills a huge number of his fellow cats as part of his plan to create a MasterRace.
* Syndrome from ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles'' is this, even if he is never called that (this being Disney and all). He systematically murders [[spoiler:the world's superheroes basically because he's jealous they're "special" and he's not.]]
* Mr. Hitcher from ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventuresHowISpentMyVacation'' seems to be one, as he's a chainsaw-wielding psychopath who escaped from a maximum-security prison.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/{{M}}'', starring Creator/PeterLorre as the bizarrely sympathetic child killer Hans Beckert, is one of the first film portrayals of a serial killer. Since many of these tropes had not taken effect yet, the climax was actually about [[JustInTime saving]] ''[[JustInTime him]]'' from a furious [[TorchesAndPitchforks lynch mob]].
* ''M'' was inspired by the case of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_Haarmann Fritz Haarmann]] (aka "the Butcher of Hanover"), which also inspired two other movies: ''Tenderness of the Wolves'' in 1973, a fictionalized account of Haarmann's killing spree, and ''The Deathmaker'' in 1995, an account of Haarmann's psychological examination, based on the actual transcripts of his interrogation.
* Several Creator/AlfredHitchcock films feature these:
** Norman Bates, in ''Film/{{Psycho}}''.
** Uncle Charlie, in ''Film/ShadowOfADoubt'', who is TheBluebeard and kills women out of a combination of greed and pathology. Unfortunately for his niece who discovers this, [[VillainWithGoodPublicity everyone thinks he's the nicest guy you could possibly meet]].
** Bob Rusk, in ''Film/{{Frenzy}}''. Another killer with female victims, although of a sexual predator, JackTheRipoff variety.
** The Avenger, in ''Film/TheLodger''; however, the killer himself never actually appears in the film, as the plot centers around an innocent man wrongly suspected of being said killer.
* ''Film/PeepingTom'' is about a deranged amateur filmmaker who kills women while filming them (specifically their faces).
* The main antagonist in the time-travel movie, ''Film/{{Frequency}}'', specializes in killing nurses.
* David Allen Griffin in ''Film/TheWatcher'', whose main purpose of doing this is [[HoYay so he can continually meet FBI Agent Joel]].
* The other classic cinema example is Preacher Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum) in ''Film/TheNightOfTheHunter'', who famously has "Love" and "Hate" tattooed across his knuckles.
* Johnathan Doe from ''Film/{{Se7en}}'' is possibly the most disturbing one on this list. He is a serial killer who is obsessed with sin and punishment, and models his unimaginably cruel murders after the SevenDeadlySins. The most disturbing thing about him is not only his intelligence and sadism, but that [[spoiler:everything goes according to his plan and he is victorious in the end]].
* Mitch Leary from ''Film/InTheLineOfFire''. John goddamn Malkovich.
* ''Film/TenRillingtonPlace'' is the horrifying RealLife story of John Christie (see RealLife section below).
* Richard from ''Film/DeadMansShoes'', though [[{{Antihero}} his motive makes him more sympathetic than most examples]].
** Technically, Richard is a spree killer since all of his killings are implied to occur in under thirty days.
* Rare female example: Erica Bain from ''Film/TheBraveOne''. Doubles as a [[VigilanteMan Vigilante Woman]].
* Jigsaw of the ''Franchise/{{Saw}}'' movies arguably fits here, though he is fairly sporting -- he gives his victims a (very slim) chance to escape, and apparently ''wants'' them to escape, on the hope that their life will be improved by the experience. He claims that he is not a murderer and in fact despises murderers, and some people agree with him.
** As for his apprentices [[spoiler:Amanda Young and (eventual successor) Mark Hoffman, well... Not so much]].
* ''Film/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet'', who murdered his customers and sent them down the chute, where his partner Mrs. Lovett baked them into pies. His initial motive is revenge for what happened to him and his wife at the hands of the corrupt Judge Turpin, and his first killing is a man who recognized him from his days as Benjamin Barker and tried to blackmail him, but after "Epiphany", he starts committing the murders that would make him infamous.
* ''Film/TheStepfather'' series of films involves an unnamed serial killer (he only ever uses aliases) obsessed with finding the perfect family to become a part of. Things are all smiles and sunshine for a while, but if the family doesn't reach expectations and becomes too hard to handle, he moves on to another, murdering his current one (and anyone else in the way) in a vicious cycle, being incapable of believing that there is no such thing as "the perfect family". One of the most memorable scenes in the original is of the killer losing his composure in the basement, thrashing around and muttering nearly incomprehensibly, unknowingly in front of his stepdaughter. Also, the "Family Killer", as he's called in the third film [[VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory was apparently based off real life killer John List]].
* Before becoming a [[YourWorstNightmare dream-stalking ghost]] [[DealWithTheDevil via demons]], Freddy Krueger of ''Franchise/ANightmareOnElmStreet'' fame was a serial killer by the name of the "Springwood Slasher", who would prey on young children (and, if an old newspaper in [[Film/ANightmareOnElmStreet5TheDreamChild the fifth film]] is any indication, he'd do more than just butcher them). [[Film/FreddysDeadTheFinalNightmare The sixth film]] reveals that he had a secret room in his house filled with trophies of his kills ([[TortureCellar and various implements of torture]]), and the opening of ''Film/FreddyVsJason'' also at one point had him flipping through a scrapbook of his victims ''while chuckling to himself''.
* Henry, the VillainProtagonist of ''Film/HenryPortraitOfASerialKiller'', is a brutal murderer who changes his M.O. for each kill, so the police don't know what he's up to. He eventually [[KarmaHoudini gets away with]] killing [[spoiler:every other major character in the film, including his accomplice and his girlfriend]]. He's also so cold and unfeeling that he makes Dexter look like a warm, caring individual.
* The murderous truck driver from Steven Spielberg's MadeForTVMovie ''Film/{{Duel}}'' is strongly hinted to be one of these, with numerous license plates mounted on his vehicle, and notches carved in the headlight rims.
* The focus of an amusing subplot in the Creator/SteveMartin comedy ''Film/TheManWithTwoBrains'', when Martin's character accidentally stumbles across the identity of The Elevator Killer:
-->'''Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr:''' You. You're the elevator killer. [[spoiler:Creator/MervGriffin]].\\
'''The Elevator Killer:''' Yeah.\\
'''Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr:''' Why?\\
'''The Elevator Killer:''' I don't know. I've always just loved to kill. I really enjoyed it. But then I got famous, and -- it's just too hard for me. And so many witnesses. I mean, ''everybody'' recognized me. I couldn't even lurk anymore. I'd hear, "Who's that lurking over there? Isn't that [[spoiler:Merv Griffin]]?" So I came to Europe to kill. And it's really worked out very well for me!
* ''Film/{{Grindhouse}}'''s Stuntman Mike: He's a stuntman. Who horribly butchers women. With his car. Yeah. Tracy Thoms, Creator/ZoeBell, and Creator/RosarioDawson turn the tables on the redneck lunatic.
* The ''Franchise/{{Scream}}'' series each featured a Serial Killer [[LegacyCharacter in costume]] who hunted down all the friends and family of Sidney Prescott (or the cast of the FilmWithinAFilm in [[Film/{{Scream 3}} the third one]]). The various people who have donned the Ghostface mask are: [[spoiler:Billy Loomis and Stu Macher in ''Film/{{Scream 1996}}'', Mrs. Loomis and Mickey in ''Film/{{Scream 2}}'', Roman Bridger in ''Film/{{Scream 3}}'', and Jill Roberts and Charlie Walker in ''Film/{{Scream 4}}'']].
* ''Franchise/FridayThe13th'''s Jason Voorhees: He gets even worse [[MyDeathIsJustTheBeginning after getting hacked up with a machete]].
* ''Franchise/{{Halloween}}'''s Michael Myers: Killing just ''one'' sister just wasn't enough for him.
* Scorpio, in ''Film/DirtyHarry''. Scorpio was based on the real life Zodiac Killer who was active in UsefulNotes/SanFrancisco in the late 1960's, but never caught.
* ''Film/CitizenX'', a real one, Andrei Chikatilo.
* ''Evilenko'', also based on Chikatilo (though much more loosely). The serial killer main character has psychic powers now.
* Jack in the movie ''Blacktop'', who, as the title suggests, works driving a truck around the mid-West and [[spoiler:uses the trailer's freezer to store the strung-up corpses of his victims]]. Best part is, he's played by ''Music/MeatLoaf''.
* Mike and Bart in the black comedy ''How To Be A Serial Killer''.
* Carl Panzram in ''Killer: A Journal of a Murder'', memorably played by James Woods. Disturbing in its way since the story is based on an [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Panzram actual serial killer]], although the film isn't nearly as gruesome as Panzram's real career.
* ''Film/TheElementOfCrime'' subverts many of the expected associated tropes by featuring a [[HiddenVillain very elusive]] child killer whose identity is [[spoiler:never revealed (in fact, he may be have been dead already even before the events of the movie)]], and by having some of his murders [[spoiler:actually committed by the people who pursue him, [[GoMadFromTheRevelation as they become crazy]] [[DramaticIrony because of the very profiling method they're using]].]]
* The protagonist of ''Film/ThePoughkeepsieTapes'' is an especially terrifying example.
* Hugo Stiglitz of ''Film/InglouriousBasterds'' was a serial killer that targeted Nazi officers despite being one himself. This got him immediate entry into the Basterds after they busted him out of prison.
* Angela Baker is a mission-based one. In the original ''Film/SleepawayCamp'', she killed people who had wronged her in some way, while in the next two films (''Film/SleepawayCampIIUnhappyCampers'' and ''Film/SleepawayCampIIITeenageWasteland''), she's developed an extreme set of morals, and is a puritanical killer, murdering people who personally offend her (so, the usual slasher film stereotypes). In [[Film/ReturnToSleepawayCamp the fifth film]], she murders [[JerkassWoobie Alan's]] main tormenters.
* ''Franchise/TheTexasChainsawMassacre'': Leatherface. Several of his relatives also count, but in general, the dirty work is left to him.
* ''Film/ChildsPlay'': Charles Lee Ray, better known as Chucky the Killer Doll.
* Each installment of the ''Prom Night'' series features one. [[Film/PromNight1980 The first]] has [[spoiler:Alex Hammond]], [[Film/HelloMaryLouPromNightII the second]] and [[Film/PromNightIIITheLastKiss the third]] feature Mary Lou Maloney, [[Film/PromNightIVDeliverUsFromEvil the fourth]] has Father Jonas, and [[Film/PromNight2008 the 2008 remake]] has Richard Fenton.
* A few of the main characters in ''Film/{{Predators}}''.
* The murderer in ''Film/{{Untraceable}}'' abducted and killed people in gruesome ways while [[MurderDotCom broadcasting over the internet]] that he would spare the victim only if it didn't meet the number of viewers that he attracted; as it turns out, the people he was killing were people connected to his father's suicide.
* Monsieur Verdoux, the VillainProtagonist of the eponymous Creator/CharlieChaplin film, is a [[TheBluebeard Bluebeard]]-style killer, inspired by the actual serial killer [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henri_D%C3%A9sir%C3%A9_Landru Henri Landru]].
* ''Film/{{Changeling}}'' features Gordon Northcott, who kidnapped and murdered more than 20 young boys on a small farm in California.
* ''Film/{{Monster}}'', the one with Creator/CharlizeTheron (but not Charlize Theron's eyebrows) as Aileen Wuornos.
* The Convenience Store Killer from ''Film/{{Cornered}}''.
* The murderer from ''Film/PsychoBeachParty'' went around killing people they consider imperfect, eg. the disabled girl, a man with an extra toe, etc.
* ''Film/TheExorcistIII'': The Gemini Killer, a serial murderer so evil that he became a body-hopping demon after his death.
* ''Some Guy Who Kills People'' - of the {{revenge}} variety.
* Child killer Rustin Parr in ''Film/TheBlairWitchProject''.
* ''Film/{{Zodiac}}'' is about the hunt for the real-life Zodiac Killer.
* ''Film/TedBundy'' is a film about the real guy.
* ''Film/SerialMom'' is a ''[[BlackComedy humorous]]'' example of a Revenge Killer, in that she kills people over extremely small transgressions, like not rewinding rental videos (this was made back in the pre-DVD age), not recycling, or wearing white shoes after Labor Day.
* ''Film/ManBitesDog'': Notorious Belgian CultClassic about a documentary crew following a serial killer during his daily activities.
* The serial killer in ''Film/TheDeadZone'' focuses on killing women. He turns out to be [[spoiler:a policeman who lived with his mother in a clown-patterned bedroom]].
* ''Film/TheCell'' deals with a new experimental technology, to enter the mind of a comatose serial killer in order to learn where he has hidden his latest kidnap victim.
* Butch Cavendish from ''Film/TheLoneRanger'', who's stated to be an Indian killer and has murdered and eaten people, is a Hedonistic version.
* In ''Film/SplitSecond'', CowboyCop Harley Stone is pursuing a serial killer who cuts out his victims' hearts to eat them and has a personal vendetta with Stone. Subverted in that it turns out it is actually a giant monster with unexplained motives for killing people, although presumably intelligent.
* The protagonist of ''Film/CabinByTheLake'' is an obscure horror movie writer named Stanley, who murders women by kidnapping and drowning them, then writes his activities into his work.
* Dr. Decker from Creator/CliveBarker's ''Film/{{Nightbreed}}'' is a [[MisanthropeSupreme misanthropic]] serial killer who murders entire families and anyone else he comes across to 'cleanse' the world. [[spoiler:He becomes an undead one at the end.]]
* In ''Film/HellraiserInferno'', the Engineer is an eyeless serial killer who is going after the people around Joseph and playing an extensive cat and mouse game with him.
* ''Film/{{Highwaymen}}'' features a [[EvilCripple crippled serial killer]] named Fargo who uses his customized car to go on a killing spree of women through vehicular homicide.
* ''Film/GhostInTheMachine'': Karl Hochman starts out as a mundane example who finds victims from address books, until a lightning strike overloading the MRI machine he is in ends up visualizing him. He then becomes a digital ghost who travels through computer networks, overloading electronic appliances, such as turning a hairdryer into a flamethrower.
* ''Film/RunningScared2006'': Dez and Edele, a couple who kidnap children to molest them before murdering them and disposing of their bodies. When Terese arrives to rescue Oleg from them, she can barely resist throwing up when she sees that the couple has ''dozens'' of videotapes in their collection, all with the names of various children marked on them. Being a fairytale-inspired story, they're an analogue for the witch from ''Literature/HanselAndGretel''.
* ''Film/FearCity'': The one in this film is a martial arts expert who mainly goes after strippers, toying with his prey before killing them. He apparently sees it as part of a mission to purify the world of sinners.
* ''Film/{{Haunter}}'': The villain of the movie is a serial killer who continued to kill people beyond his death and used his powers as a ghost to keep the spirits of his earlier victims trapped in the house.
* ''Film/RoadGames'': Smith (alias Jones) is a hedonistic serial killer who [[HarmfulToHitchhikers rapes, strangles, and dismembers young female hitchhikers]].
* Nathan from ''Film/ExMachina'' could be interpreted as one. He repeatedly creates artificially intelligent robots which he subsequently deactivates and/or destroys. Since he thinks they are just machines, he does not consider himself a murderer.
* ''Film/CrimsonPeak'': [[spoiler:The Sharpe siblings are very [[MeaningfulName appropriately named]], especially [[KnifeNut Lucille]]. Since [[AbusiveParents their father]] lost their entire fortune, [[TallDarkAndHandsome Thomas]] and Lucille have fallen on hard times. Unfortunately, their way of getting out of financial distress involves [[FemmeFatale Thomas charming wealthy heiresses to marry him]], so that Lucille can kill his wives with poison after they have signed over their fortunes.]]
* Mick Taylor from ''Film/WolfCreek'' is a particularly terrifying example.
* ''Film/{{Replicant}}'': Edward "The Torch" Garotte is named such because he beats single mothers to death, then sets their houses on fire and leaves the child inside.
* The titular ''John Doe: Vigilante'', who spends his nights killing child molesters/abusers, rapists, and abusive husbands/boyfriends, culminating in the man who killed his wife and daughter (the very thing that spurred his killing spree).
* ''Film/GoodNeighbors'': The serial killer starts as a background detail, something that Louise is obsessed with. Then, someone close to Louise dies. [[spoiler:Then, that gives her ideas.]] And ultimately, the serial killer is implied to be part of the cast.
* The leprechaun from the ''Film/{{Leprechaun}}'' movies. He has actually ''killed more people than Freddy Krueger''.
* ''Film/{{Intruders}}'': Anna and Conrad, prior to the events of the film, kidnapped numerous perverts and either drove them to suicide or strangled them.
* Yukio from ''Film/ColdFish'' is one of the Power/Control type.
* Kyung-chul from ''Film/ISawTheDevil'' is a particularly cruel one.
* A very disturbing example from ''Film/{{Memento}}''. [[spoiler:Leonard Shelby is one... but thanks to his memory condition, he has ''no idea''. He's on a mission to kill the man that raped and killed his wife, but at the end, it's revealed that while his wife was raped, Leonard himself killed his wife by mistake, but convinced himself otherwise. So, he's dedicated himself hunting down his wife's rapist and alleged murderer, with the help of his "[[FalseFriend friend]]" Teddy... but, as revealed at the end, Leonard ''already killed him years prior''. But since he can't remember it, Teddy's been setting him up to kill ''other'' men, letting Leonard believe they're the man he's after, until he inevitably forgets again. Teddy finds a new victim, and the cycle starts over. This is all revealed at the climax of the film, Teddy believing Leonard will forget the conversation in a few minutes anyway, and he's right... except Leonard anticipates this, and sets ''himself'' up to believe that ''Teddy'' is the man he's after. The film ends just as Leonard "resets" again, forgetting everything, but now having "evidence" that will lead him to kill Teddy. "Now... where was I?"]]
* ''Film/TragedyGirls'' has two of these as our protagonists. Over the course of the movie, Sadie and [=McKayla=] kill ''lots'' of people in the name of getting media attention for their true crime website. [[spoiler:By the story's end, their body count is in the ''hundreds''.]] There's also Lowell, who killed four people in the film's backstory before being captured by Sadie and [=McKayla=].
* In ''Film/KnifeForTheLadies'', the Ripper is a serial killer picking off the prostitutes of the small WildWest town of Mescal.
* Done humorously with Debbie Jellinksi from ''Film/AddamsFamilyValues''. She started with killing her parents because for Christmas they gave her a Malibu Barbie doll instead of the Ballerina Barbie doll she wanted, and then grew up to be a ''Main/BlackWidow'' primarily because her husbands wouldn't buy her everything she wanted.

* ''Franchise/HannibalLecter'' is the definitive serial killer series, in that almost every fictional serial killer since has been inspired by the two examples in the movie.
** Hannibal Lecter himself is a cultural icon. He's a well-educated man, a famous psychiatrist, and a genius who sometimes helps out the protagonists. His cold eyes are the only signs that he is a serial killing cannibal. Although in the book (but not the film), he has maroon eyes and [[RedRightHand six fingers on one hand]].
** Francis Dolarhyde from ''Literature/RedDragon'' (the first of the Lecter novels) and the movie ''Film/{{Manhunter}}'' is a gruesome one, complete with scrapbook of newspaper clippings and drawings from when he was a kid, reflecting his FreudianExcuse. Rather than sending taunting letters to the cops, he sent fan letters to the incarcerated Hannibal Lecter himself.
** Buffalo Bill from the second book, ''Literature/TheSilenceOfTheLambs'', is a complete maniac who kills and skins five women. Although feminine and very disturbing, he is a fairly generic serial killer. Buffalo Bill is actually a [[CompositeCharacter combination]] of real life serial killers Ted Bundy, Ed Gein, and Gary Heidnik.
* A rare Filipino version in [[spoiler:Alex Carlos]] from ''Literature/SmallerAndSmallerCircles''. [[spoiler:He is also a DepravedDentist and uses his dental tools]] to kill and eviscerate his victims, usually young boys from slum areas.
* ''Mr. Fox'' by Helen Oyeyemi has the title character, a charming, wealthy aristocrat who is revealed to have [[spoiler:killed hundreds of young women that he keeps in a chamber in his estate]].
* Patrick Bateman from ''Literature/AmericanPsycho'' is a sadistic sociopath, although he doesn't fit all of the qualifications. [[spoiler:For one thing, [[UnreliableNarrator he might not have actually killed anyone]].]]
* Annie Wilkes from ''{{Literature/Misery}}'' is an "Angel of Death" example. She was a nurse, and killed many old patients, and later, babies in the hospitals she worked in.
* ''Child 44'' by Tom Rob Smith has one operating in the Soviet Union in the early 1950's. The catch? [[spoiler:The killer is the protagonist's brother, Andrei, from whom he was separated as a child. Turns out Andrei was killing his victims the same way that he and his brother killed game for food, in an effort to lure his brother back to him. Not to kill him, just to be with him again.]] You find out the identity of the killer a while before the end of the book (if you can put the clues together), so it becomes a whydunnit.
* Subverted in the Creator/AgathaChristie novel ''Literature/TheABCMurders'', where Literature/HerculePoirot receives a series of letters from 'ABC' threatening to kill a series of victims in alphabetical order and challenging Poirot to unmask him. [[spoiler:Alexander Bonaparte Cust is being used as a front by the real killer, who wants to murder his brother for the inheritance and plans to cover it up by disguising it as the act of a serial killer.]]
** Played straight by [[spoiler:Wargrave]] in ''Literature/AndThenThereWereNone'' and [[spoiler:Yahmose]] in ''Literature/DeathComesAsTheEnd''.
* In ''Literature/DamnatioMemoriae'', Enim and Jack are searching for whoever has been killing local girls in the town outside of their boarding school. [[spoiler:Enim thinks he finds the killer, but given that he's an unreliable narrator, it's hard to know what really happened.]]
* A staple of the ''Literature/InDeath'' series from the first book, ''Naked In Death,'' which features a serial murderer of {{Disposable Sex Worker}}s. [[spoiler:This turns out to be not ''quite'' a straight example -- the first killing was unplanned and personal, and the other murders were committed by a different person to cover up the first by framing it as the work of a serial. However, NYPSD psychiatrist and profiler Dr. Mira has no doubts that, now that he's gotten a taste for it, the murder will absolutely find excuses to kill again.]] Over the following 52 novels and novellas in the series, Eve has gone up against nearly every type on the list.
* [[spoiler:Martin Vanger]] from Literature/TheMillenniumTrilogy defies all stereotypes and all rules on top of this page. He is the kindly CEO of a corporation, a nice but troubled guy, and a friend who even saves the protagonist's life. [[spoiler:And he is a serial killer who has been imprisoning, raping, and murdering hundreds of young Russian girls. This has been going on since he was a ''teenager''. The most chilling thing is Martin's explanation for his actions: "This is every man's innermost dream. I take whatever I want".]]
* John Dread, from Creator/TadWilliams' ''Literature/{{Otherland}}'' series, was raised by a violent, drug-addicted mother who fulfilled her revenge fantasies against the world by intentionally turning him into a sociopath. He started killing as early as 6, was moved from institution to institution and deemed "incorrigible", and finally escaped into society after CorruptCorporateExecutive Felix Jongleur noticed his abnormal [[{{Technopath}} psychic powers]] and began training him as a PsychoForHire. He murders women for pleasure in fetishistic ways (acting out a RevengeFic against his mother) and records all the killings in his private video library. He taunts the police by leaving bizarre clues at the scene and "fogging" security cameras with his "twist". He chafes at Jongleur's leash, and eventually breaks free by [[TheMole infiltrating]] the heroes' group in Otherland and discovering how to break the network's security, upon which point he proves how EvilerThanThou he is by going on a [[AGodAmI godlike]] [[SugarApocalypse killing spree]].
* Serial killers are the main subject of ''Literature/IAmNotASerialKiller''.
* In ''The Hellfire Club'' by Creator/PeterStraub, Dick Dart is most definitely this, despite how much he ''hates'' being called this by the media.
* In ''Stationery Voyagers'', [[http://dozerfleetwiki2.wiki-site.com/index.php/Cybomec_%28Consto%29 Clandish Consto]] toys around with the idea of making a career out of being a SerialKiller. Then, he decides to become a full-blown terrorist instead (with plans to become [[AGodAmI a god]]).
* Gretchen "the Beauty Killer" Lowell, first introduced in ''Heartsick'', has tortured and killed over 200 people, whether alone or by manipulating her lovers into killing for her.
* ''Literature/KafkaOnTheShore'', by Haruki Murakami, has a strange example: a character known as Johnny Walker (very strongly implied if not proven to be [[spoiler:the dad of the main character, Kafka]].) Why is it strange? [[spoiler:Instead of people, he kills cats, and eats their hearts.]]
* The search for a serial killer in New York City in 1896 is the plot of Caleb Carr's ''Literature/TheAlienist''.
* Mr. Harvey from ''Literature/TheLovelyBones'', for a pedophilic example.
* The period mystery ''Eater of Souls'' is a serial-killer story set in Ancient Egypt. One of the few cases where the "Visionary" variant of this trope is genuinely ''and plausibly'' suspected to be legitimately-supernatural by the investigators.
* The Creator/DavidEddings novel ''Regina's Song'' has the Seattle Slasher, a killer who paralyzes sexual predators with a syringe of curare and then carves them to pieces with a linoleum knife. [[spoiler:She was a Mission/Revenge type, targeting sex offenders because one of them raped and murdered her twin sister, and ultimately seeking out and killing the specific rapist responsible for that act.]]
* The Roman Empire setting of the Marcus Didius Falco novels might strike some as an odd place for a serial killer, but ''Three Hands in the Fountain'' has one anyway. Then again, the thoroughly modern sensibility of the series makes it work.
* Many of Creator/MichaelConnelly's mystery novels involve pursuit of a serial killer.
* The first story that featured the infamous demon barber Literature/SweeneyTodd, ''The String of Pearls'', had Sweeney murdering his customers by means of a barber's chair rigged to send people down to his basement, taking his razor to any who survived the fall, then delivering the bodies to Mrs. Lovett's pie shop across the street through a tunnel below to be made into pies. Sweeney was not motivated by vengeance like in the musical, but money. The story is a lot less romantic or melodramatic than the musical, and it ends with the two getting caught, Mrs. Lovett poisoning herself before the trial after almost getting lynched by her customers during her arrest, and Sweeney himself being tried, convicted, and hanged for his crimes. Note that Sweeny does share this trope's tendency to keep "trophies", as Tobias finds his house to be crammed with victims' clothing and other personal possessions.
* In ''Literature/ProvostsDog'', [[spoiler:Deirdry Noll]] as the [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Shadow Snake]] is a comfort/profit killer. [[spoiler:Her]] modus operandi is to find an otherwise poor family who has some small item of value (an enamel-on-gold lily pendant, some money, pearl earrings, a spell book, so on), kidnap one of their children, and demand the item in return for the child's life. If the item is not paid up in a week, [[spoiler:she]] kills the child.
* In the ''LightNovel/FateZero'' novel, the historical hero Gilles de Rais (summoned to the war as Caster) is a visionary serial killer (with aspects of a thrill killer) who kills to spite God for abandoning Jeanne d'Arc. [[WouldHurtAChild He favours children as his targets]]. His master, Ryuunosuke, is a sadistic thrill killer who ended up summoning Caster out of curiosity and gleefully follows Caster because he considers him an artist.
* ''Cat of Many Tails'' by Creator/ElleryQueen has Ellery being hired as a special investigator to assist the NYPD to catch a serial killer who has been terrorizing New York. Initially, the only pattern Ellery can find in the killer's targets, who vary in sex, race, and marital status, is that each victim is younger than the one before.
* Two stories in Creator/StephenKing's ''Literature/NightShift'' features a serial killer: "Springheel Jack" in ''Strawberry Spring'' and the hammer murderer in ''The Man who Loved Flowers''. [[spoiler:In both, the protagonist is the killer; in the former it's a case of TheKillerInMe, in the latter an extreme example of BreadEggsMilkSquick.]]
* Karkas, [[VillainOfTheWeek villain of]] ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear: The Brain Spiders'', is a touchy, mercurial murderer who's killed at least ninety one people and [[CallingCard cut a K into the forehead of each of them]].
* " The Hunter" from ''Literature/GunMachine'' has over two hundred kills to his name, performed over a series of twenty years, using "appropriate" pre-used guns to kill every target. He is eventually revealed to be [[spoiler:a visionary mission killer: The Hunter is a delusional psychotic attempting to make a wampum pattern out of his murder weapons that he believed would kick-start the Ghost Dance and return Manhattan to its pristine pre-colonization state.]]
* Oscar Yeager in ''{{Literature/Hunter}}'' is a white supremacist serial killer, targeting mixed race couples and [[WouldHurtAChild their children.]] He later broadens his targets to [[StrawmanPolitical liberal journalists and government officials]], and inspires several [[JackTheRipoff copycat killers.]]
* The Literature/TimDorsey novels have Serge A Storms, who goes on spree killings whenever he's off his meds (Read: Every single book). Some people he kills in the pursuit of wealth, and others he kills purely because they offend him, usually for some sort of anti-social behavior (Unsportsman like conduct at a Little League game, playing music too loud...) or for damaging some part of Florida history. A great deal of the humor in the stories comes from the truly inventive ways he can come up with to off people.
* ''Literature/JamesBond''
** Grant from ''Literature/FromRussiaWithLove'' has urges to kill during the full moon, and went working for the Soviets to be able to continue to do so. He became a SMERSH agent, and they use him as their chief executioner.
** The BigBad of ''Literature/NeverSendFlowers'' is a serial killer who specializes in arranging high-profile assasinations.
* In the Creator/FlanneryOConnor short story, ''A Good Man Is Hard To Find'', a serial killer called "The Misfit" and minions meet up with a family, whose matriarch tries to talk her way out [[spoiler:but it does not work out for her]].
* In part of Creator/RayBradbury's ''Dandelion Wine'', a woman finds herself on a bridge chased by a serial killer called "The Lonely One" [[spoiler:who remembers she has a pair of scissors in her purse]].
* Saxon Hyde from ''Ghoul'' by ''Creator/MichaelSlade'', and the Headhunter, among others. All of the author's novels include a SerialKiller at the centre of the plot, but also [[ShownTheirWork discuss]] cases of RealLife killers such as Ted Bundy and Ed Gein. Slade is the pseudonym for Jay Clarke, a lawyer who specializes in criminal insanity.
* [[spoiler:[[Literature/TheSilverCodex A new serial killer makes their first kill]].]]
* ''Literature/TheStrangerBesideMe'' is a TrueCrime novel about Ted Bundy (mentioned below). Some women are gonna die.
* Roderick Whittle, aka UsefulNotes/JackTheRipper, from Creator/RichardLaymon's ''Literature/{{Savage}}''.
* No actual serial killer appears in ''Literature/IntoTheHinterlands'', but Destry borrows techniques used to investigate them such as geographic profiling in an attempt to analyze patterns in [[SpaceNomad Rider]] raids on settlements and locate their encampments.
* A savage serial killer plagues the city in ''Literature/DanceoftheButterfly''. This is but one of many negative forces motivating the protagonists.
* Throughout the events of ''Literature/PerdidoStreetStation'', there's background snippets of reports about a serial killer who's been murdering people to [[EyeScream steal their eyes]] before dumping their bodies in the city's waterways. [[spoiler: [[SubvertedTrope It's heavily implied that said serial killer doesn't really exist]]. When the New Crobuzon militia captures Benjamin Flex, they interrogate him and than kill him to [[HeKnowsTooMuch keep him from spilling any information]]. The next day, Flex's body is found dumped in a river with his eyes cut out; [[TheCoronerDothProtestTooMuch the official investigation releases a report that the killer has struck again]], hinting that the serial killer angle is just a cover story, made to help hide [[GovernmentConspiracy the militia's experiments]] with [[AnimalisticAbomination the slakemoths]].]]
* Several ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' books, most prominently ''Literature/{{Hogfather}}'', give delicate references to the [[MurderInc Assassins' Guild's]] "scholarship boys"- that is, people who made it into Assassin school by proving they were already very good at discretely killing people. The Guild keeps such scholarships in place not because they approve of indiscriminate slaughter, but because anyone who has a natural aptitude for their kind of work had better damn well be where you can see them.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': Caleb was this pre-series.
* There's the {{Showtime}} series ''Series/{{Dexter}}'', and the books by Jeff Lindsay from which it was adapted, which feature as their title character a serial killer who is a police forensics expert, and [[SerialKillerKiller who preys solely on serial killers]] whom he feels have [[KarmaHoudini escaped justice]].
** [[spoiler:In the books, Astor and Cody show signs of developing into serial killers, themselves. It's touched on with Cody in the TV series, but mostly left out due to ExecutiveMeddling.]]
** The series also features a [[VillainOfTheWeek serial killer of the season]] that the police focused their attention towards.
*** Season 1/"Darkly Dreaming Dexter: - The Ice Truck Killer, dabbling in the murders of prostitutes by methods quite like Dexter's methods. [[spoiler:Turns out it's Dexter's own brother, Brian, who is later killed by Dexter.]]
*** Season 2 - Dexter himself, after his garbage bags are found. [[spoiler:Doakes takes the fall for it, and [[{{Yandere}} Lila]] kills him in a cabin explosion.]]
*** "Dearly Devoted Dexter: - Dr. Danco, a former interrogation specialist and [[MadDoctor surgeon]] who was employed by the US government in El Salvador, who was sold out and starts to hunt down the people who caused it. A former comrade of Doakes. [[spoiler:Killed while experimenting on Doakes with Dexter tied down. Doakes comes out of it missing a few body parts. A lot of them. He gets slightly better.]]
*** Season 3 - The Skinner, a man known for, well... [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin skinning people]]. [[spoiler:He kidnaps Dexter and tries to get him to tell where Freebo, an associate of the Skinner, was. Dexter snaps his neck and then throws him into the incoming path of a police car.]]
*** "Dexter in the Dark" - A serial killer who kills in an odd tradition, by beheading and throwing the body in a kiln. [[spoiler:A subversion, since it's all being committed by several people in a cult worshiping Moloch, an old god.]] Arguably [[spoiler:played straight when it turns out Moloch is very real, and drives people to murder. Dexter's stepchildren were about to be victims by the head of the cult until Cody saves the day.]]
*** Season 4 - The Trinity Killer, a man who kills in threes. One of the most prolific and deadly killers in America, having avoided capture for ''three decades''. [[spoiler:Dexter unravels Trinity's double life and eventually kills him, but not until after Trinity (or someone using his signature) kills Rita.]] He killed each person during a cycle in different ways, to reflect deaths of family members he either directly or indirectly killed. It also turns out [[spoiler:he killed in fours, but the first part of his cycle was not picked up by the original investigator because the bodies were never found]].
*** "Dexter by Design" - A killer who carves out the innards of victims and stuffs them with ironic objects based on the scenery. [[spoiler:Averted, turns out they were corpses stolen from the Miami morgue. Then played straight when Dexter kills one of the two masterminds behind it, sending the other one into a killing spree. He then kidnaps Rita and tries to kill her. Dexter and kids save the day.]]
*** Season 5: The barrel girl gang. Serial rapists as much as killers who murdered their victims to dispose the evidence [[spoiler:in all but two cases]].
*** Season 6 The Doomsday Killer, who stages his murders to mirror bits of the Book of Revelations in order to bring about the apocalypse. [[spoiler:The viewer is first lead to believe that the murders are done by religious studies professor James Gellar and his disciple Travis Marshall, but we later find out that Travis is the real killer haunted by the memory of Gellar, who died years ago.]]
*** Season 7: Serial poisoner Hanna [=McKay=]. People who gave her trouble had a mysterious tendency to die of heart attacks... she's not the antagonist of the season, though; in fact, she's Dexter's love interest that season!
*** Season 8: The Brain Surgeon, who literally cuts off people's skull with a saw and extracts bits and pieces of their brain. [[spoiler:Turned out to be Oliver Saxon, Dexter neightbor's boyfriend, which is a cover identity; in reality, he's Daniel, the presumed-dead son of Evelyn Vogel (Dexter's ParentalSubstitute).]]
* Jack of All Trades from ''Series/{{Profiler}}'' both supported and subverted this trope. Jack was the killer, yes, but he had a girlfriend/project named "Jill", whom he made up to look like Sam Waters, the object of his obsession. But Jill, not Jack, is actually the one who kills off Sam's boyfriend Coop in Season Two.
* The Carver from ''Series/NipTuck''.
* So far, the extraordinarily dreadful Wayne Callison has only appeared on two episodes of ''Series/{{Shark}}'', but several plot arcs were initiated by his fairly memorable role.
* ''Series/{{Monk}}'':
** There's a subversion in "Mr. Monk and the Really, Really Dead Guy". The "Six-Way Killer" sends the police a note bragging that he'll strike again within 72 hours, and the police focus all their resources on the case. [[spoiler:Actually, the killer has no intention of killing anyone else. He wants to distract attention from a previous murder long enough for the police to lose their chance at a crucial piece of evidence.]]
** Played straight in "Mr. Monk's 100th Case": A modelling photographer goes to the houses of young actresses who have posed for him, takes them off-guard, strangles and kills them, then takes their lipstick (to sign his work). In addition, each target he kills, he paints the deceased target's photo in his own photo studio with lipstick, leading Randy to call him the Lipstick Killer, a name Stottlemeyer disapproves of.
** ''Monk'' has had some other serial killer cases before: one example is "Mr. Monk and the 12th Man", where this is Monk's only explanation for a string of eleven deaths.
* ''Series/CriminalMinds'' has loads of these guys. That's part of the premise.
** As a side effect of this, and the writers' close working relationship with real members of the BAU, it is very rare for more than two of the listed criteria to appear in the same killer.
** Most villains that aren't serial killers are spree killers (a slightly different classification, but one that still ends up with a ton of people dead). The sheer variety of them covered in the show is one of its most interesting aspects.
%%* Plenty in ''Series/WireInTheBlood''
* ''Series/{{Heroes}}'': Sylar. Throw in a slew of psychological issues and superpowers and you've got a doozy.
-->'''Luke:''' Wow. So you're like a serial killer.\\
'''Sylar:''' I'm not a serial killer.\\
'''Luke:''' But you've got a pattern. You go after specific victims. You collect mementos.\\
'''Sylar:''' Okay, technically, I'm a serial killer.
* ''Series/AmericanHorrorStory'':
** ''Series/AmericanHorrorStoryMurderHouse'' has R. Franklin, a man who murdered several nurses in the 1960's, including two nursing students who previously occupied the house. [[spoiler:Tate]] technically qualifies, having murdered several high school students in a spree killing, the couple who occupied the house before the Harmon family, one of the home invaders, and an exterminator.
** ''Series/AmericanHorrorStoryAsylum'' has Bloody Face, a masked serial killer running the unspecified area where Briarcliff is located in the 1960s and the ruins of Briarcliff in the present day somehow. In the past Kit Walker is falsely accused of being him after his wife disappears. He turns out to be [[spoiler:Dr. Oliver Thredson, the mild-mannered psychiatrist, in the 1960s, and his son in the present day. Incidentally, the original is played by Creator/ZacharyQuinto, who portrayed Sylar as mentioned above.]]
** ''Series/AmericanHorrorStoryCoven'' has two; The Axeman of New Orleans, a jazz musician who butchered several people in the late 1910's and Delphine La Laurie, a high society woman who brutally tortured and murdered dozens of her slaves in the 1830's.
** ''Series/AmericanHorrorStoryFreakShow'' has Twisty the MonsterClown, who kills anyone who doesn't enjoy his performances. [[spoiler:He only lasts a few episodes, but manages to inspire [[PsychopathicManChild Dandy Mott]] into following in his footsteps.]]
** ''Series/AmericanHorrorStoryHotel'' has James Patrick Marsh, who mixes real-life serial killer H.H. Holmes' plan of creating a hotel full of secret passages and hidden rooms to conceal his many many murders with a personality somewhat reminiscent of Howard Hughes. After his death, he apparently served as a mentor to several real-life serial killers, who after their own deaths throw a dinner party with him at his hotel: John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Aileen Wuornos, Richard Ramirez, and the Zodiac Killer. The same episode also reveals that March's [[TheDragon Dragon]] Miss Evers lost her own son to another real-life serial killer, the Wineville Chicken Coop Murderer Gordon Northcott, although he is never referred to by name. Finally, Detective John Lowe is pursuing the Ten Commandments Killer [[spoiler:who turns out to be John Lowe himself]].
** ''Series/AmericanHorrorStoryRoanoke'' has sisters Miranda and Bridget Jane. Having become nurses at hospice care facilities so that they could kill their patients, they later open one of their own and up their game, targeting specific patients whose names spell out "Murder", which they spray paint on a wall as they move along. The Polk family also qualifies, cannibalizing their victims as well.
* ''Series/{{Millennium}}'': Frank Black (no, not the guy from Pixies) specializes in profiling serial killers.
* ''Series/{{CSI}}'' has had at least four, including "The Miniature Killer", who made miniatures of the crime scenes before a murder, and ultimately tried to kill Sara Sidle. [[spoiler:Turned out this killer was a woman.]] Others include: the "Blue Paint Killer", who lured women into a trap using wet paint, the "Dick and Jane Killer", who killed couples, keeping the girls to himself and leaving the male bodies to be found, the bodies stabbed sequentially to show their order of death, [[spoiler:then ended up stabbing Dr. Ray Langstrom in the Season 10 CliffHanger]], and Sqweegel, a CanonImmigrant from a book written by one of the producers, who dressed in a full body latex bodysuit and shaved off all his hair to avoid leaving evidence. He was never caught.
** Dentist! Dr. Dave - cuddly older fellow, does dental work for the un-insured, eats lunch in the same little diner for forty years, loves his wife and (grown) kids, and callously murders young women and drops their bodies in places with high crime rates. And gets away with it for years. And when caught, calmly refuses to identify bodies because he simply doesn't care about the victims' families (or possibly because he never bothered to find out or remember his victims' names). Beyond creepy.
** Also, [[spoiler:Paul Millander]], who shot men in bathtubs and made it look like suicides.
** ''Series/CSINewYork'' had one such arc with "The Cabbie Killer", a guy who gassed people in the back of his taxi- ''with the exhaust fumes''. As means of murder go, that is Nazi-level, being the method used before Zyklon-B was introduced.
** The other two big CSI NY ones were: Shane Casey, who first targeted the people involved in the conviction of his brother, who committed suicide in prison. He killed them all in symbolic manners and left cryptic t-shirts on the bodies. Eventually, he was arrested and imprisoned, but escaped and turned his rage on [[OfficialCouple Danny and by extension Lindsay]], because Danny forced him to confront evidence of his brother's guilt. He was only stopped when Lindsay shot him after he broke into the house and held their infant daughter hostage. The second was the Compass Killer, who left antique compasses at all his kills as his signature.
*** Every Series/{{CSI}} show has had numerous serial killer that lasted for only one episode, rather than forming story arcs. Of those that do make recurring appearances, most tend to either die in prison [[spoiler:(usually via suicide)]], or be killed by the cops.
* A classic ep of ''Series/HawaiiFiveO'' played around with this trope. The killers (a man and woman) are preying on wealthy young widows and unmarried women, offing about one a month. There is no note to the cops, no wall of evidence. A wealthy young widow goes missing and her attorney pesters Five-O to find her. They come up with ''scads'' of missing women who fit the M.O., only to find the attorney's client alive and happy being a hippie on a beach. But all the ''other'' women ended up very, very dead. Being Five-O, [=McGarrett=] sets a trap using a policewoman as bait and catches said villains.
** ''Hawaii Five-O'' also had an episode with a family of serial killers, headed by Slim Pickens. They're presented as inbred hillbillys with barely an IQ point between them (hey, it was the 60's). In the end they are caught because one of the children kept a souvenir. They excused their crimes on two points. It wasn't robbery because they killed the people first and dead people don't need money and secondly it was okay to kill them because "They weren't kin."
* In the season 3 finale of ''Series/{{Psych}}'', the "Yin-Yang" killer, who will challenge a [[WorthyOpponent cop he views as worthy]] with riddles, challenges Shawn to catch him before he kills. However, [[spoiler:Shawn beats him by taking his plan OffTheRails (Shawn was supposed to answer a cell phone they found, but threw it into the ocean), forcing him to change his intended target to keep Shawn "in the game". But it just causes him to be caught for the first time ever.]] And [[spoiler:''he'' turns out to be a ''she''.]]
* Subverted in the final season of ''Series/TheWire'', where [[spoiler:two cops invent a fictitious serial killer preying on homeless men, even going so far as to fabricate evidence and lie to the media. They use the subsequent uproar to get city hall to pony up funds withheld from the police due to a budget crisis.]]
* ''Series/{{NUMB3RS}}'' has had quite a few, from serial snipers to people staging fake car accidents to murder to a murderer killing people in ways that mirror the death of every one of Jesus' apostles. Most of them only appear in one episode. This being a show about Math fighting crimes, all the serial killers are found using math.
* ''Series/LawAndOrderCriminalIntent'': Nicole Wallace. Also, Kevin Riddick a.k.a. The Motel Ripper, [[spoiler:Frank Mc Nare a.k.a B.B.J.]], [[spoiler:Dr. Edwin Lindgard]], and [[spoiler:Jo Gage.]]
* Gormogon from ''Series/{{Bones}}'' was the latest in a line of cannibalistic serial killers who preyed on those they believed to be members of secret societies. Other serial killers who feature in multiple episodes include Howard Epps, Jacob Broadsky, and Grave Digger. [[spoiler:Two of the four are thankfully dead, the third was captured, and the fourth just got her head shot off as she was going to trial.]]
** The one who lasted the longest (much to the the chagrin of the audience) is Christopher Pelant, who went so far as to leave a corpse in Hodgins and Angela's home, on top of their canopy bed. Booth shot him, but he managed to escape. How does he accomplish his crimes? Technobabble. Seriously, none of the technology he uses to hack things for his crimes works that way. Booth finally took him down with a shot square to the chest after Pelant threatened Brennan once too often. Or in other words, ''[[BerserkButton once]]''!
* ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' gives us Kyle Boone, who killed close to thirty women (one his mother and another a Naval officer) and was ultimately caught by Gibbs some years before the series began. As he was set to be executed, however, more murders occurred. [[spoiler:Turns out he'd trained his lawyer to carry on as part of a scheme to escape execution and gain more attention from Gibbs. The lawyer picked RecurringCharacter Paula Cassidy as his next victim... and she killed him.]] Others appeared as well, including a serial sniper going after Marine recruiters and a young JackTheRipoff who laughed after he was caught, convinced that he'd be famous. [[spoiler:Gibbs deliberately withheld his name from the press by claiming he had ties to several terrorist groups.]]
** In the season four episode ''Smoked'', the dead body of a serial killer Fornell has been hunting for years turns up. In the end it turns out it was actually [[spoiler:the dead man's wife who was the killer. Except they found the toe of one of the victims in her husband's stomach.]]
** At the end of [[SeasonFinale season eight and beginning of season nine]], they try to catch the P2P (Port-to-Port) killer, who kills navy personnel, dresses them up in uniforms belonging to people above them in the hierarchy, wraps them in plastic and ties their feet together. Turns out [[spoiler:he didn't start out as a serial killer. He was part of a CIA/NCIS program called [[OperationBlank Operation Frankenstein]] which purpose was to train "[[SuperSoldier super]] [[ProfessionalKiller assassins"]]. The training pushed him over the edge and gave him a need to kill. And now this killing machine is angry because of what the CIA and NCIS did to him [[OhCrap and seeks revenge.]]]]
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'':
** The monster in "Skin" is a shapeshifter whose MO is to take the appearance of someone and then torture, rape and kill one of their loved ones so they would be framed for his crimes.
** In "No Exit", the protagonists had to take out the ghost of H. H. Holmes, America's original serial killer.
** In a flashback in "Repo Man", a demon kills and mutilate women while he is possessing somebody. Years after having been sent back to hell by the Winchesters, a very similar killing spree starts again in the same region. [[spoiler:The killer is the guy who was possessed by the demon in the past, who always wanted to be a serial killer but never had the strength or expertise to actually do so until he got possessed.]]
** Sam and Dean Winchester themselves are considered serial killers by the police because they travel the country killing people at least OnceAnEpisode. Granted the people they kill are all possessed by demons but the cops don't know that.
* [[http://coldcase.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_Serial_Killers_on_Cold_Case A handful]] of ''Series/ColdCase'' examples. Usually it's the killer resurfacing after years of inactivity, or their dump sites being discovered that prompts the team to investigate.
* Tobias Lehigh Nagy ("The Smog Strangler") from ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}''; Kramer [[GuiltByCoincidence gets mistaken for him]]. Another episode had The Lopper, who apparently cut the heads off of men who just happened to resemble Jerry.
* An episode of ''Series/EverybodyHatesChris'' had Chris convince the neighborhood that a serial killer (who murdered people with ''scissors'') was on the loose.
* ''Series/{{Castle}}'' has had three encounters with serial killers.
** In the pilot, this trope was [[AvertedTrope averted]]; [[spoiler:the killer framed a crazy person by killing two people in addition to his real target, and staging all three scenes to look like the work of a serial killer.]]
** Scott Dunn, the serial killer in "Tick Tick Tick..." and "Boom!", uses a series of [[BatmanGambit ridiculously elaborate plans]] to point the police at a patsy, who was actually a ''victim''. Later, he got his AloneWithThePsycho time with the guest star, and nearly [[spoiler:killed an FBI team with his diabolical EvilPlan]]. Defeated by Castle, who as an author is GenreSavvy and foiled his plot by explaining how he would have written it if it was one of his books.
** Castle and Beckett finally meet their match in "3xk". [[spoiler:This killer is so [[TheChessmaster brilliant]] that he got another criminal to kill some of his victims while he was hiding in jail on a minor charge-- a nearly bullet-proof alibi.]] While Castle solves this one as well, it's too late to stop the killer from escaping. Escaping, that is, after [[TapOnTheHead knocking out]] Ryan, taking his gun, and [[AloneWithThePsycho gloating as he ties Castle up]].
*** 3xk also earns bonus points for managing to get his girlfriend, [[spoiler:Dr. Kelly Neiman]], into the act as well. [[spoiler:She's the one who very nearly kills Beckett in the seventh season episode "Reckoning."]]
** A complicated example in "Scared to Death." Strictly speaking, the culprit didn't qualify as a serial killer since Beckett and Castle [[spoiler:saved the third victim.]] However, what Beckett and Castle didn't figure out is [[spoiler:whether or not Nigel Malloy, the culprit's father, really was responsible for the deaths of the six people he was convicted of killing. They didn't figure out what happened to his missing body either.]]
* ''Series/TheMentalist'':
** Red John, the BigBad of the show, is of the uncatchable variety. Fortunately he only kills about once a year. He's technically retired in that most of his last victims are to cover his tracks, or to avenge an insult, whereas he began as someone who targeted women seemingly for kicks; a dramatic change of M.O.
** At least two serial killers appear for one episode as the murderer of the VictimOfTheWeek. [[spoiler:One is an ally of Red John, while the other, the San Joaquin killer, is killed by Red John after insulting him.]]
* ''Series/{{Life}}'' had a serial killer who murdered people and stuffed them in trunks because they were happier than him.
* ''Franchise/KamenRider'' has a few :
** Kamen Rider Ouja from ''Series/KamenRiderRyuki'' is a particularally nasty case. He was already an unrepentant psychopath with a body count ''before'' he got superpowers. The fact he actually enjoys killing people made him one of the most successful Riders in the Rider War with the most kills. [[spoiler:Is ultimately killed by sniper fire when he emerges from Mirror World and is pinned down by the cops.]]
** ''Series/KamenRiderWizard'' has [[spoiler:Sora Takigawa/The Gremlin Phantom. Before his transformation, he murdered girls with black hair and white dresses, due to his love who rebuked him fitting that description before he killed her. After [[OneWingedAngel turning into a Phantom]], he somehow retained his human self, and continued his killing spree. He's of the Revenge and Supernatural types.]]
** Soji Shitashimo from ''Series/KamenRiderAmazons'' is not a Rider or a monster (at least not a literal one), but a human who murders women and dumps their bodies in his junkyard. He soon comes in conflict with the protagonists when he is mistaken for an [[ManEater Amazon]].
* The first episode of ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'' deals with a serial killer who's somehow been forcing his/her victims to apparently kill ''themselves''. Turns out [[spoiler:he's a cabbie who's being ''paid'' for each murder.]] Sherlock, incidentally, is beside himself with glee when he confirms that the deaths are in fact the work of a serial killer.
* Pops up from time to time on ''Series/LawAndOrder'', perhaps most notably in the episodes "Vengeance" (in which the A.D.A.s have to decide whether to allow the killer to be extradited to Connecticut, which has the death penalty, when they know the crime was really committed in New York), "Agony" (in which the A.D.A.s have so little evidence that they are forced to give the killer a sweetheart plea bargain... then find out he may not be guilty of that particular murder), and "Bodies" (in which the A.D.A.s prosecute the killer's lawyer for conspiring with him because he knows where the bodies are buried and won't say).
* ''Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit'' has more then a few: given the show's premise they tend to be sexual predators, and a decent number of them are sexual sadists.
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'':
** The demon from "Lonely Hearts" wants to find the [[BodySnatcher perfect body to inhabit]], but until then it has to keep killing to find a new one when its latest acquisition has been worn out.
** Like all vampires, Penn in "Somnambulist" loves killings and rampages, but unlike most he has a particular pattern which he has kept for centuries, making him a truer example. As a human, he used to be a man who hated the restrictions of his puritan father. After being made a vampire by Angelus, he murdered his family and deliberately sought out victims who resembled his family, killing them in order to reenact his past murders. He then carved a cross on their faces - the police believes it was because he thought he was doing God's work, nicknaming him "The Pope", but it's actually to ''mock'' God.
* Many, many of them show up in ''Series/{{Medium}}''. Notable ones include Dr. Walker, a long-dead serial killer (played by Creator/MarkSheppard) who as a ghost [[HearingVoices whispers to the ears of innocent doctors]] until they loose their mind and become killers themselves, and a serial killer who has the same visions as Allison.
* ''Series/TrueBlood'': the main villain of the first season is a serial killer who strangles women [[spoiler:who are sleeping with vampires or use their blood as a drug. Also, it's Rene.]]
* ''Series/RizzoliAndIsles'': Charles Hoyt.
* Season three of ''Series/{{Justified}}'' has Robert Quarles, a Detroit mob lieutenant who tortures and kills male prostitutes.
* ''Series/TheXFiles'' provided a plenty of them in MonsterOfTheWeek episodes, many of them were truly horrifying. Some of them embodied pure human evil while other times the killers were genetic {{Mutants}} who needed to kill to satisfy their HorrorHunger. Sometimes they might play with MaybeMagicMaybeMundane or TheyLookJustLikeEveryoneElse.
* ''Series/{{JAG}}'' has had several, but AxCrazy child-killer Charles "Charlie" Lynch in season 4 is by far the most despicable.
** In "Déjà Vu", Harm and Meg suspect the murders of multiple Navy Lieutenants around Arlington National Cemetery are related. A local cop points out it could just be statistics: UsefulNotes/WashingtonDC has both an unusually high murder rate and an unusually high Navy Lieutenant rate compared to other cities. [[spoiler:Obviously, it's a serial killer.]]
* The main antagonist through the first series of ''Series/BronBroen'', who uses this method to point out social flaws in both UsefulNotes/{{Denmark}} and UsefulNotes/{{Sweden}}. [[spoiler:Though this is a cover for his real motive: revenge]].
* The Amateur Detective Serial Killer in the final episode of ''Literature/TheConditionsOfGreatDetectives'', of the Mission Based kind. [[spoiler:He believes it's the end of the AmateurSleuth era as they can no longer function in mystery fiction so he believes the best way for all of them to end is to die. He believes that Tenkaichi, who he views as the best AmateurSleuth, deserves to be framed for the murders and then killed himself. While he succeeds in killing all of them, Tenkaichi kills him in the process and protects Fujii (and the truth)]].
* The "sequential killer" (Dr. Ogden's own construction, since the phrase "serial killer" dates from the mid-20th century) in the ''Series/MurdochMysteries'' episode "Murdoch on the Corner" is Mission Based. [[spoiler:She leaves wallets full of money lying around with a note to return them to the Mission Hall, then kills people who keep the money.]]
* The ''Series/ItsAlwaysSunnyInPhiladelphia'' episode "Mac is a Serial Killer" dealt with a serial killer who targeted young blonde women, due to a series of coincidences everyone thought it was Mac who was studying to become a doctor, the real killer as it turned out was Gary the fat awkward nerdy guy they kept running into throughout the episode.
* ''Series/TheOuterLimits1995'': In the episode "Living Hell", its villain Wayne Haas is a serial killer with a twist: he and another guy both received an experimental neural implant from an emergency procedure several years apart to save their lives after an accident. He quickly realizes that they can share each other's thoughts, and uses it to send the other guy visions of the way that he graphically murders women.
* In ''Series/{{Haven}}'', [[spoiler:it's revealed that Duke's Trouble is the ability to [[DePower end a family Trouble]] by killing them and touching their blood. The side effect is an adrenaline rush and SuperStrength. This ability causes Duke's father and later his brother to become serial killers.]]
* The central plot of ''Series/AmericanGothic2016'' is about [[BigScrewedUpFamily the Hawthorne family's]] possible connection to the Silver Bells Killer, who terrorised Boston fifteen years before the beginning of the story. More details are revealed in every episode; what's mainly known is that there were half a dozen known victims of both genders, all connected by the fact that they were from wealthy Boston families, who were strangled to death in their own homes, and a small silver handbell was left beside each body. [[spoiler:It turns out to have been a father/daughter duo, acting out an insane revenge plot on the rich who got preferential treatment in the hospital, while the mother was ignored and died of septic shock.]]
** [[spoiler:Madeline Hawthorne]] turns out to be one as well, having killed three people (two of them designed as SBK copycat killings) and talked a terminally ill man into [[DeceasedFallGuyGambit killing himself and taking the fall]], all in order [[spoiler:to hide her family's connection to the original killings.]]
* ''Series/{{Timeless}}'': In "The World's Columbian Exposition", Flynn leads Wyatt and Rufus into a trap at the "Murder Castle" of H.H. Holmes, America's first recorded serial killer. [[spoiler:Wyatt ends up [[PayEvilUntoEvil killing Holmes]] ahead of normal history.]]
* In mid-to-late 1995, as part of plans for a massive overhaul, one of these stalked and killed nearly half of the cast members of the SoapOpera ''Series/{{Loving}}''. Very tellingly, most of the victims were older and/or had been on the show for a long time with no further storyline opportunities. When the killer was revealed, it turned out the demented woman sincerely believed she was doing a good thing, believing that her victims had been in pain and she was in fact performing a MercyKill. The storyline ended with a friend doing this for her.
** Then a year later, another one of these turned up on the SpinOff ''The City''.
* The series ''Series/VanHelsing'' has a very disturbing serial killer character living among the group of travelers who is only revealed near the end of the first season. It turns out [[spoiler:Sam has been picking off group members]] the whole time. It seems to mainly be some sort of compulsion given that [[spoiler:he sobs to himself when he decides to kill Susan]]. The justification that it was all to protect them by [[TheSocialDarwinist killing off the weakest]] is probably self deception.
* ''Series/{{Mindhunter}}'' is based on the early days of criminal psychology in the 1970s, following a pair of FBI agents as they interview and attempt to understand the mentalities of serial killers.

[[folder:Myths & Religion]]
* Myth/ClassicalMythology: When Theseus travels on the road to Athens, he encounters numerous bandits who have unique murder methods. Theseus [[HoistByHisOwnPetard offs them with their own methods]]. These includes:
** Polypoetes, who beats people to death with his club.
** Sinis, who ties people between two trees that he has bent down. Then, he let go of the trees, ripping them in half.
** Sciron, an elderly man who asks passersby to wash his feet as a sign of respect. When they bend over to comply, he punts them off a cliff and into the jaws of a sea monster at the bottom.
** Cercyon, who challenges passersby to wrestling matches, then kill them after they have lost.
** Procrustes, who invites passersby to [[InnOfNoReturn stay the night at his place]]. If they are too short for the bed, he stretches their bodies until they fit. If they are too tall for the bed, he chops off the excess. If they fit just right, he smothers the victims between the mattress and a specially rigged canopy.

* Wiki/TheOtherWiki has [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_songs_about_killers a list]].
* Music/TheRollingStones' "Midnight Rambler" is sung from the point of view of one of these.
* Music/TheBeatles's song "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" about Maxwell Edison, a crazed kid that murders with said hammer a girl, his teacher, and the judge who took his case, in front of a full courtroom.
* Music/SteelyDan's "Midnight Cruiser"
* Music/DavidBowie gave us "Running Gun Blues" on the album ''Music/TheManWhoSoldTheWorld''.
* Music/TalkingHeads' "Psycho Killer"
* Everything by Macabre, or really any DeathMetal band.
** Especially Cannibal Corpse, e.g. "Stripped, Raped, and Strangled".
* A rather famous example is the song "Dead Skin Mask" by Music/{{Slayer}}. "213", about Jeffrey Dahmer, is a another. "Angel of Death" could count as well, since Mengele racked up quite a body count. Also, "Psychopathy Red" from ''World Painted Blood'' is about Russian killer Andrei Chikatilo.
* Music/{{Radiohead}}'s "Climbing Up The Walls".
* Swans, a band never known for their cheery subject matter, have two songs actually from the perspective of serial killers: "Young God" (Ed Gein, who inspired ''Literature/{{Psycho}}'') and "Killing For Company" (Dennis Andrew Nilsen).
* Early {{Industrial}} music in general, but the Power Electronics sub-genre in particular (Whitehouse are notorious for this).
* Implied in Scott Walker's "The Electrician", the title character of which is a professional torturer.
* Music/TheDeadKennedys' "I Kill Children".
* Music/SunnO's "Bathory Erszebet."
* Band Of Susans' "Elizabeth Stride (1843-1888)" follows the last minutes of UsefulNotes/JackTheRipper's third victim.
* Music/SufjanStevens "John Wayne Gacy, Jr". Defines LyricalDissonance.
* Music/OzzyOsbourne has several, most notably ''Little Dolls'' and ''No More Tears.''
* Music/AliceCooper's 2008 concept album "Along Came A Spider" is all about a fictional serial killer who wraps his victims in silk and cuts off one their legs to construct a flesh spider. [[spoiler:His rampage is quelled when he falls in love with his eighth victim and finds Jesus.]]
* Music/{{Beck}}'s [[LyricalDissonance cheery and catchy]] "Girl" takes the POV of one.
* Rapper Music/TechN9ne's song "Trauma" is written from the point-of-view of a serial killer, [[CardCarryingVillain boasting about how evil he is]] and that he's more deranged than "Jeffrey Dahmer and Charles Manson combined".
* GWAR is like this ALOT.
* Music/APaleHorseNamedDeath has a song called "Serial Killer". There's also "Killer by Night".
* The AnimatedMusicVideo for ''Music/{{Metallica}}'''s "Here Comes Revenge" has what looks to be some sort of anthropomorphic hyena murdering female animal people and mounting their heads up like a hunter.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The ''TabletopGame/NewWorldOfDarkness'' has slashers, humans who find themselves compelled to kill. Strangely enough, [[VillainProtagonist they're playable]], and you can opt for a game in which the people the slashers kill often [[MoralEventHorizon deserve]] [[LaserGuidedKarma it]]. Each slasher archetype, or Undertaking, has two tiers: Ripper (steps above your standard serial killer, but still conceivably human) and Scourge (outright supernatural incarnation of murder).
** Also the rules presented allow you to make every character seen on this page:
*** Avenger/Legend: Paul Kersey from ''Film/DeathWish'' starts killing criminal punks, but eventually becomes so fed up with "the filth on the streets" that he becomes ''Film/{{Candyman}}'', haunting the urban projects.
*** Brute/Mask: Mickey from ''Film/NaturalBornKillers'' gets off on killing so much that he trades all that makes him human -- language, literacy, the ability to be around others -- to become [[Franchise/FridayThe13th Jason Voorhees]], unkillable but lurking in the woods for the pain human contact causes.
*** Charmer/Psycho: Reverend Powell from ''Film/TheNightOfTheHunter'' gets by on the thin veneer of humanity for so long that it eventually turns inside out and he becomes the freak you can't help but stare at, not unlike SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker.
*** Freak/Mutant: The families from ''Film/TheHillsHaveEyes2006'' take to the caves and degrade until they become [[Film/TheDescent the Crawlers]].
*** Genius/Maniac: [[Literature/TheSilenceOfTheLambs Hannibal Lecter]] [[HannibalLecture tells people how much they suck so many times]], he comes to believe he's the model example for mankind and goes on a [[Film/{{Se7en}} John Doe-esque]] killing spree with a message.
** Over in the ''TabletopGame/OldWorldOfDarkness'' are the Euthanatos of ''TabletopGame/MageTheAscension'', a group of the mission-based style. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] to some extent as there really ''are'' a number of monsters out there, and they're warned against judging too quickly. Although they have to be careful and not turn into the hedonistic type, otherwise they might become one of their colleagues' next targets.
** ''TabletopGame/ChangelingTheLost'' makes mention of Ernest Marker and the Shrike. The former is a serial child murderer, the latter is a True Fae named after the bird that impales animals on thorns. She had considered taking Marker back to Arcadia, but then she became curious about just how his madness worked. As she studied him, she became so interested in his insanity that (as far as "sanity" counts for TheFairFolk) ''[[HumanityIsInfectious she went mad exactly the same way]]''. Now the two have pooled Marker's knowledge of the mortal world and the Shrike's ages of hunting experience, planning the most heinous crime in human history...
* Subverted in the ''TabletopGame/{{Ravenloft}}'' adventure ''Hour of the Knife''. What seems like a hunt for Jack-the-Ripper {{expy}} "Bloody Jack" is complicated by the revelation that [[spoiler:A) "Jack" is a doppelganger, and B) the killings aren't insane at all, but a murderous ritual to empower an artifact-caliber cursed knife]].
* In ''TabletopGame/MutantsAndMasterminds'', Jack-a-Knives, the Murder Spirit, manipulates people into this role.
* There have been several in ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'': the Mealtime Killer, the Emerald City Ripper, the Mayan Cutter and his copycats, and the "We are Free" killer(s) are just a few.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' the Vigilante class is well suited to this. Their dual identity defeats efforts to find the killer through scrying, and emphasize deflecting suspicion by being a well-respected member of the community, while secretly specializing in attacking from stealth and downing a single target swiftly. They have three archetypes that are even better suited to the role: the Cabalist, who's associated with dark magic and blood sacrifice, the Hangman, who specializes in choking people to death, and...[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin the Serial Killer]]. The other two are [[DarkIsNotEvil sinister but can be heroic]] (the Hangman's description suggests it's executing condemned criminals who escaped justice), but the last has to be evil. It leaves a CallingCard, and murders so brutally it gives those who inspect the body nightmares.

* In a rare [[SympatheticVillainProtagonist sympathetic]] ([[AvertedTrope but not]] [[SerialKillerKiller noble]]) example, [[Theatre/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet Sweeney Todd]] becomes one of these [[spoiler:after he fails to kill Turpin]].
** Even more applicable in the original penny dreadful "The String Of Pearls", in which he's just a Hedonistic sociopath out to profit - in every unspeakable way possible - from his victims.
* ''Theatre/ArsenicAndOldLace'' pits OnlySaneMan Mortimer Brewster against two separate serial killers: his old maiden aunts, Abby and Martha, who poison lonely old men as a "charity" and bury them in their cellar (falling under Visionary as they are clearly insane); and his older brother Jonathan, who is a psychotic murderer with kills all over the world (falling under Power/Control). When they discover each other's crimes, they wind up comparing notes, BodyCountCompetition-style, which is played for BlackComedy.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/VampireTheMasqueradeBloodlines'' has the psychotic Dr. Gimble who lures victims to his prosthetics lab with the promise of a modeling job, and proceeds to lock them in the basement and slowly vivisect them over a matter of months.
* ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'':
** Eddie Low in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV'' is a pedophilic serial killer.
** Catalina as well. In fact, in ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas San Andreas]]'', she has three bodies buried in her backyard.
** One of the convicts who are busted by Johnny Klebitz is an intelletual, yet cannibalistic serial killer, complete with a faux british accent.
** Trevor Philips is heavily implied to be one, among other things. Michael has implied that [[HarmfulToHitchhikers abducting and murdering hitchhikers]] is a pastime of his. He is also implied to be the "San Andreas Strangler", but claims he doesn't strangle people... anymore. Also, delivering innocent people to a cannibalistic cult could also make him one.
** ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV'' has the Infinity Killer, who you never meet, but can find clues about in the form of newspaper clippings and writing on walls by the killer in certain places in San Andreas. If you follow the clues, you can even find the bodies of their victims. The killer is believed to be a man named Merle Abrahams, who went insane and became obsessed with the number 8.
* [[spoiler:SHIKI]] in ''VisualNovel/{{Tsukihime}}'' in the routes [[spoiler:where he's in control over Roa.]] He doesn't actually enjoy killing and unlike [[spoiler:Satsuki]] he isn't doing it to live. He just doesn't possess the power to stop.
** It's revealed that he's trying to find and kill [[spoiler:Shiki because their mind-connection is driving him mad, but he can never find him because he was given false information about what he looks like.]] So instead he kills [[spoiler:women who bear a resemblance to his sister Akiha]] because he wants to drink their blood.
* ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'''s Sakuya Izayoi is a maid, and an awesome one at that. But she is a KnifeNut and her spellcards have a serial killer theme. [[EpilepticTrees Could it be that she used to be a serial killer before joining Remilia?]]
* The Origami Killer from ''VideoGame/HeavyRain'', a sick fuck who murders children by throwing them in deep ditches and waiting for them to drown, in addition to putting their fathers through hellish trials. [[spoiler:It's really Scott Shelby: player-character, resident NiceGuy and private detective "investigating" the Origami Killer.]]
** There's also Dr. Adrian Baker, an insane doctor who murders people with surgery, and Leland White from the Taxidermist DLC, who murders young women before stuffing them and displaying them around his house.
* The ''VideoGame/BaldursGate'' series features several of these, starting with Neb, the child-killing gnome who returns in the sequel, and the "tanner" in ''Baldur's Gate 2'', who removes the skin of his victims and makes clothes out of it.
* [[spoiler:Tohru Adachi]] from ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'' is an interesting case. [[spoiler:He was one of the three people who were granted the power to enter the TV world (the others being Taro Namatame and your character), and discovered that he could kill people by throwing them into the TV world. He had a major lust for both Mayumi Yamano and Saki Konishi, and tried to rape them both before throwing them into the TV. He then recruited Namatame to carry out his evil work by convincing him that by throwing people into the TV himself, that he would be able to protect them from what Adachi would do to them. And the reason he did all this? Because he was amused by it all]].
* The Scissorman from the ''VideoGame/ClockTower'' series. In the first game he's more a generic monster who chases you, but by the second game (the first one released in America), he fits this trope because there is genuine mystery as to his identity and most of the characters are criminal psychologists.
* ''VideoGame/ArcanumOfSteamworksAndMagickObscura'' has the Whytechurch murderer, loosely based on UsefulNotes/JackTheRipper. [[spoiler:His true identity is Vincent, an elven wizard possessed by a demon.]]
* [[TheVamp Morinth]] from ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' is an [[HornyDevils Ardat-Yakshi]], an Asari with a genetic abnormality that [[DeathBySex kills whoever she meets by seducing and "melding" with them]]. She puts it to use to satisfy her insatiable lust. Liara mentions in ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' that Morinth was just hitting her stride, and that Ardat-Yakshi who kill leave behind astronomical body counts.
** [[CowboyCop Garrus]] references an Elcor serial killer that was operating on the Citadel during his first year on C-Sec.
* One of these can be optionally confronted in ''VideoGame/ActionDoom2UrbanBrawl'', depending on which path throughout the game you take. Hugo's a huge, fat silent guy who looks like [[VideoGame/FinalFight Hugo Andore]] and lives alone in a farmhouse in the middle of a forest where he keeps a vicious dog. He kidnaps children and apparently butchers them, then hangs them up in his barn. You confront him one-on-one and potentially beat him to death in a fist fight... or just slice him in half with a [[ChainsawGood chainsaw]], [[GuideDangIt if you have found it]].
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' has Quentin, an insane Blood Mage who murders women and takes parts of their bodies that resemble his dead wife in a [[{{Necromantic}} crazy attempt to bring her back]]. His last victim [[spoiler:is Hawke's mother Leandra.]]
** Kelder from the sidequest "Magistrate's Orders" is an insane killer who targets elven children because they are "too beautiful" and blames his impulses on imaginary demons (as opposed to the real ones in the setting). He has managed to escape justice thanks to 1) the protection of his powerful magistrate father and 2) the lack of concern most humans have for elves. Part of him is still sane enough to realize that he is beyond redemption and he begs Hawke to kill him.
* ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'' has a serial killer on the loose in Windhelm whose methods and motivation are very similar to the one from ''Dragon Age II'', except that this guy is trying to bring back his dead sister rather than a wife.
* [[spoiler:Hubert Rejk]] from ''VideoGame/TheWitcher3WildHunt'' definitely qualifies as the mission-based type. He ritualistically tortured and murdered an untold amount of people in the name of the [[CorruptChurch Church of the Eternal Fire]], killing those he viewed as sinners or apostates. [[spoiler:He also happened to be a vampire, but this had nothing to do with his motive.]]
** The plot of the ''Blood and Wine'' expansion revolves around Geralt hunting down a serial killer who appears to be mission-based due to his murders of knights that violated the Five Chivalric Virtues of Toussiant. [[spoiler:In reality, the murders were revenge killings orchestrated by the duchess' sister who tricked her vampire lover into killing the knights as a smokescreen for her plot to [[SiblingMurder murder the duchess]] all because [[DisproportionateRetribution she thought she forgot about her]].]]
* ''VisualNovel/KaraNoShoujo'': There are three serial killers, though one has disappeared from the police radar a few years back. They all appear to be a mix of type one and two.
* Sweet Tooth from ''VideoGame/TwistedMetal'' is of the hedonistic type with antisocial and disorganized sub types.
** And not just Sweet Tooth. There's a few more running around, while the cast of Black are either serial killers, will be turned into serial killers if they win or good guys who are going to be fucked over hard by a serial killer (which Calypso seems to be in this continuity).
* ''VideoGame/NaughtyBear'' is about a teddy bear who kills other teddy bears.
* The Emerald City Ripper, a serial killer that stalks the Barrens in the Dead Man's Switch campaign of ''VideoGame/ShadowrunReturns''. He stuns his victims with magic and drugs and kills them in the process of extracting one of their internal organs while they're still alive as some kind of twisted souvenir taking. He is eventually revealed [[spoiler:to be an organised profit killer for hire: His victims were all connected by their organs all coming from the same organ donor, whose corpse he had been hired to restore.]]
* Eddie Gluskin from ''VideoGame/{{Outlast}}'' was a serial killer of women, mutilating and raping them before murdering them. He was institutionalized at Mount Massive Asylum, and after the inmates riot, continues to kill people by [[GroinAttack cutting off their genitals.]]
* Sakahagi of ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne'' routinely kills his fellow Manikins and proceeds to skin them, using the skin as a coat. He later attempts to kill [[spoiler:Chiaki]], leading to the victim's StartOfDarkness, before finally attempting to kill the main character.
* A Role in ''VideoGame/TownOfSalem''. They can kill 1 person each night, similar to the Mafia's killing role, but unlike the Mafia are lone wolves who usually act alone - but they can win in teams.
* ''VideoGame/FiveNightsAtFreddys'' prominently features one in its backstory lore. One of the posters you can see on the cameras occasionally changes to newspaper articles about [[spoiler:a man wearing a costume luring five children to the back room of Freddy's, where they were murdered and implied to be stuffed inside the suits]]. [[VideoGame/FiveNightsAtFreddys2 The second game]] expands on this detail in its minigames and in the [[VideoGame/FiveNightsAtFreddys3 third game]] [[spoiler:we get to see the spirits of the children avenge their death by tricking the killer into wearing a faulty animatronic-hybrid suit. [[WhamShot Which is also the same animatronic that's been trying to kill you the entire game, in fact]].]]
* The indie horror game ''VideoGame/WhiteNight'' has you wandering through the mansion of 'The Wolf of Black Lake', a serial killer that targeted dark-haired young women.
* ''VideoGame/HotLineMiami2WrongNumber'' features the Miami Mutilator, a killer who leaves behind mutilated corpses with cryptic messages. It turns out that the killer is [[spoiler:Manny Pardo, a detective working the case who you play as for parts of the game.]]
* ''Franchise/{{Fallout}}'':
** ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' has the pre-war killer the [[EnfanteTerrible Pint-Sized Slasher]], a child who apparently wore a clown mask and stabbed numerous people. You can pose as this killer in the Tranquility Lane simulation.
** Clanden in ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' is a seemingly-normal man working for the Omertas who is in fact a psychotic killer who makes snuff films of himself raping, torturing and killing prostitutes.
** Pickman from ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 4}}'' is a serial killer of raiders, and he uses their blood and corpses to make grotesque art in his gallery.
*** From the same game, you can visit the Fens Street sewer just north-west of Diamond City, there you'll find a trail of dead bodies and holotapes left by the 'Fens Phantom' for a long-dead detective who was on his trail.
*** In the ''Nuka-World'' DLC, one of the Raider gangs, the Disciples, are an entire ''group'' of serial killers, and are completely psychotic ones, at that. One has to wonder how they managed to avoid butchering each other.
* Even before he started competing in the ''VideoGame/TwistedMetal'' tournaments, Needles Kaine, aka Sweet Tooth, was a monster. By his own account, he killed over a thousand people before being caught, his wife and sons being among the first.
* In roleplaying games such as ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'' and ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'', the player can become a serial killer if they wanted to. In Fallout 4 some perks are ideal for a serial killer such as allowing the player to stealth kill other characters if they are asleep or to do more damage and be more charismatic to characters of the opposite gender.
* ''VideoGame/YandereSimulator'' allows the option of the main character becoming a serial Killer in order to eliminate any potential love rivals.
* ''VideoGame/{{Overwatch}}'' gives us Reaper, an ex-member of Overwatch who tracks down other ex-members and kills them.
* ''VideoGame/LakeviewCabinCollection'' has several throughout the episodes; the killers in ''III'' and ''V'' are supposedly from the same family while ''IV'' has a redneck cannibal family. There is also one present in the HubLevel, and the epilogue [[spoiler:has you play as one]]. ''VI'' is the only episode to not have one, as it's about an alien invasion instead.
* ''VideoGame/DeadByDaylight'' has one lone player as a serial killer hunting down a band of survivors in three flavors: the [[TrapMaster Trapper]], the [[ChainsawGood Hillbilly]], and the [[VisibleInvisibility Wraith]].
* ''VideoGame/RidesWithStrangers'' has Donald Mcarthur, A.K.A Father Donald. A combination of a sexual sadist and a mission based killer, Donald is a PedophilePriest who has raped, tortured, and killed many people, with little boys being his "passion". To try and suppress his desire to harm children, he murders adult people, primarily heretics due to his religious beliefs. He considers it his mission to purge the world of heretics. Not that he has any qualms about murdering someone who isn't a heretic if he happens upon someone while he feels like killing.
* ''VideoGame/WelcomeToTheGame'' features The Breather, a bald caucasian man who targets hitchhikers and Deep Web browsers. He kills ForTheEvulz, but follows a strict code. He always calls his victims to let them know that he's coming, and either breathes into the phone (hench his alias), or threatens his soon to be attempted victims. If his potential victims have locked the door, or are able to keep their hands on the knob to keep him from getting in, and he doesn't see them, he will leave. Even if he does see them, he will still stop if they can keep him from breaking down the door.
* ''VideoGame/{{Captured}}'' has Damien Clyde, a deformed, blind, cannibalistic, revenge driven killer. Bullied his whole life for his imposing appearance, he went on to live in an underground complex to be away from people, and a man began to aid him in getting revenge on humanity for mistreating him. The man kidnaps people and makes them go through the complex to try and escape, all while having to dodge Damien and solve a series of puzzles that the man has set up.
* ''VideoGame/WolfensteinTheNewOrder'' has "Ramona" ([[spoiler: aka Anya]]), who began killing Nazis after they shot an ex-boyfriend of hers in 1960. Her methods over time got more gruesome and grotesque, from stabbing one with a knife to burning an entire building full of them.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' has four serial killers, by definition [three or more murders, with time between each one]. A list of serial killers and the people they killed are as follows:
** Joe Darke (Edward Jones, Jason Knight, Edith Kirby, Rachael Moss, Jeb Bates, Neil Marshall [[spoiler:Except he didn't kill the last one. Things are more complicated than it seems.]]) (Technically, he's a spree killer, but the game identifies him as a serial killer)
** ProfessionalKiller Shelly de Killer ([[spoiler:Juan Corrida]], many unseen others as mentioned through in-game conversations)
** [[spoiler:Dahlia Hawthorne (Valerie Hawthorne, Terry Fawles (by proxy), Doug Swallow. Attempted to murder Diego Armando, Phoenix Wright, and Maya Fey)]]
** Sirhan Dogen, another ProfessionalKiller ([[spoiler:Di-Jun Huang]], many unseen others)
** [[spoiler:Kristoph Gavin]] comes close, and succeeds in the bad ending of ''Apollo Justice''. ([[spoiler:Zak Gramarye, Drew Misham, Vera Misham in bad ending]])
* The most common type of criminal in ''VisualNovel/CauseOfDeath'', due in part to the efforts of [[DiabolicalMastermind the Connoisseur]] to ''cultivate'' them when possible. We have Power/Control ([[BigBrotherBully the Maskmaker]], [[EvilOldFolks Zero]], arguably [[ShockAndAwe Livewire]], [[ForScience the dispenser of Nightmare]]), Hedonistic ([[HuntingTheMostDangerousGame the Hunter]], [[NotGoodWithRejection the Ladykiller]]), and Mission-Based ([[HeWhoFightsMonsters the Hand of Justice]], [[PsychopathicManchild the Boogeyman]]).
* Hinimizawa Syndrome in ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'' tends to induce people to become the Visionary type. Most prevalent with [[spoiler:Shion Sonozaki]], who also adds the revenge sub type in the Cotton Drifting and Eye Opening chapters.
* Genocider Syo from VisualNovel/DanganRonpa is apparently well-known enough in universe that they're one of the first suggestions when the students are speculating on the identity of the mastermind who locked them in the school. Genocider is rumoured to have killed thousands of young men, writing "BLOODSTAIN FEVER" on the wall of each scene in the victim's blood and crucifying them with hand-made scissors. When a student turns up crucified in the locker room, with the aforementioned message, it becomes clear Genocider is indeed among them. [[spoiler:Except that Genocider, who is Fukawa's SplitPersonality, [[NotMeThisTime didn't kill Fujisaki]]; Togami strung the body up to resemble her MO in order to make the trial more interesting.]] Genocider is a Hedonistic type, [[spoiler:as all the boys she's killed were Fukawa's crushes]], and is therefore fairly safe to be around during the DeadlyGame, as killing in any way other than their usual MO would be boring, and if anyone else turned up crucified everyone would immediately know it was Genocider Syo.
** Played with in ''VisualNovel/SuperDanganRonpa2''. Early into the game, the same set-up that Genocider Syo has is run though again, with the killer Kirakira Seigi/Sparkling Justice and their MO being introduced, and then a character being killed with the serial killer's calling card left nearby. [[spoiler:It turns out to be a ruse, as the killer is trying to get somebody else out of the game through a perceived loophole in the rules, and pretends to be the aforementioned serial killer to get everyone to vote for her quickly without thinking too hard about the circumstances surrounding the murder.]]
** Chapter 3 of ''VisualNovel/NewDanganRonpaV3'' reveals [[spoiler:the rather threatening-looking Korekiyo Shinguuji is one of these, specifically a Misson-based type (early on in the game, he even admits that he has the appearance of a potential murderer). In a similar case to Genocider Syo, all of his victims are women, meant to become friends with his deceased older sister in the afterlife. He almost reaches triple digits, with the deaths of Angie and Tenko bringing him closer to his goal, and before he is executed, his only regret is not reaching this goal.]]
* ''VisualNovel/ZeroTimeDilemma'' has [[spoiler:the attractive and seemingly-normal Mira]], AKA the Heart Ripper, a sociopathic killer who can't comprehend human emotions and who cuts the hearts out of their victims in a vain attempt to understand them.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/DearChildren'': Based on the graveyard conversation in chapter 1, The Crooked Saint seems to be a locally infamous serial killer. There are few details given about him, but it is implied that the bodies of his victims were heavily mutilated.
* ''Webcomic/TheDragonDoctors'': The Doctors confronted a magical serial killer in their "Messenger of Death" chapter. The murderer killed several shamans using summoned spirits of his own; finding out what spirits were used to determine the character profile of the murderer was the main focus of the plot.
* ''Webcomic/{{Achewood}}'': Nice Pete, who combines type 1 (visionary) and type 4 (power/control) with a thoroughly creepy dead-eyed stare.
* ''WebComic/{{Jared}}'' features four serial killer characters. Mary and Shia are more Headonistic, while Lilac seems to like the power. Jared is more of an antisocial killer.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'', Vriska Serket and [[DirtyCoward Eridan Ampora]] were both serial killers well before the story even started (although both [[IDidWhatIHadToDo had their]] [[HorrorHunger excuses]]). Much later, [[spoiler:[[TheStoner Gamzee Makara]] goes AxCrazy after a major crisis of faith and ends up killing a couple minor characters.]]
* ''Webcomic/TheGreatestGift What Happens In Hayagas'' presents a chilling version in [[spoiler:[[BigBad Venus]] (or rather Jupiter, who took her twin sister's name). She spends the story arc trying to personally murder Inidouh's entire family, starting with Hazel. At first we think [[WomanScorned she's doing this because Inidouh rejected her]], but then we find out that her '[[ItsAllAboutMe when I don't get what I want, ponies suffer]]' comment was far worse than it seemed. The investigation of her mansion after she's killed reveals that she had a list of ponies, all of whom that had been checked off were dead or missing. What makes her so chilling is the fact she outright says killing Hazel (actually a decoy) wasn't as ''satisfying as she thought it would be'', all the while keeping a completely serene look on her face.]]
%% * ''WebComic/{{Precocious}}'': ...or at least, [[http://www.precociouscomic.com/archive/comic/2009/03/13 POTENTIAL Serial Killer]]...
%% ** Which becomes even more disturbing in the context of [[http://www.precociouscomic.com/archive/comic/2011/04/08 a later strip]]
* Dongsoo Seon from ''Webcomic/{{Bastard}}'' has been serially murdering women for years, going so far as to use his son Jin to help him do it, initially as [[WoundedGazelleGambit bait]] and later, when he's older, as [[TrappedInVillainy an unwilling accomplice]].
* ''Webcomic/EverydayHeroes'': In Jane's origin story, it's revealed that [[spoiler:Jane's boss, Wrecking Paul, was a female-targeting killer, who used their heists as cover for murdering female guards and heroes. And, as Jane tragically found out, his own henchwoman, in a pinch.]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Clockwork}}'': Arcadia has been plagued with at least one, perhaps several in recent years. Their aristocrats have been ruthlessly targeted, and they can't seem to catch the killer(s).
* In the ''Webcomic/MysteryBabylon'' prequel comic ''Kick Girl'', Kill Boy is wanted as a serial killer known to the press as the Stalker of Babylon. He is a supernatural killer of the hedonistic / antisocial type.
* ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'':
** Several people have called the mercenaries serial killers over the years; the mercenaries usually just ignore them and keep doing their jobs. Occasionally they leave behind the corpses of the murderers that they just saved everyone from.
--->'''Tagon:''' We could just leave that here as a reminder of how to put power behind the voice of the people.
** On a (slightly) more serious note, Tailor, a robot given to Captain Tagon by his father, is worried that Tagon is going to destroy him, and brings up his concerns with the doctor.
--->'''Tailor:''' His eyes promise only death, and his words are worse! Is he some kind of serial killer?\\
'''Bunny:''' A ''serial'' killer? No, if anything, he's ''[[FalseReassurance massively parallel]]''.\\
'''Tailor:''' ''[deadpan]'' Oh. Okay.
** When Para's freed robot LOTA comes into possession of an incredibly powerful, unblockable superweapon, [[DeusEstMachina Petey]] warns LOTA that he is building his own weapon in case LOTA becomes a massively parallel serial killer.
** Notably book 11, the book where LOTA gained control of said superweapon, is titled "Massively Parallel."


[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Podcast/TheMagnusArchives'': the episode "A Father's Love" is narrated by a serial killer's daughter, who describes spending her childhood under his care as, unbeknownst to her, he commits his murders.
* [[spoiler:Terrence]] of ''WebVideo/KateModern'' is revealed to be a serial killer in "Precious Blood".
* Unexpectedly used in ''Roleplay/SurvivalOfTheFittest''. Johnny "Mordread" Lamika of version one and Walter Smith of version two were both serial killers despite being high-school age teenagers. Johnny was explained as having initially never left enough evidence for the deaths to be considered anything but an accident, but was eventually caught and sent to a mental institution after a successful insanity plea on the part of his defense. Walter got away with his actions because his father was a Senator, and used his influence to cover up Walter's actions and get him out of trouble on the few occasions he was suspected. In return, his father would sometimes bring him political enemies to torture and/or dispose of.
* ''WebVideo/CauseOfDeath'' is [[http://causeofdeath.weebly.com/ all about this]]. The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUEFxSOVd6A very first episode]] shows the nameless killer [[spoiler:bust into the victim's house and kill him... with a granola bar.]] There seems to be some mystery behind [[spoiler:who the woman is in the picture]], but the story is ongoing.
* A PlayedForLaughs version from ''WebVideo/EchoChamber'': In ''TerribleIntervieweesMontage'', there was one terrible interviewee known only as [[NoNameGiven "???"]] who ''might'' have been one. He had a large knife, seemed AxeCrazy, and talked about a large freezer...
* Every lich in ''Literature/AngelOfDeath'' is in the Supernatural category.
** Cody, however, is notable for how well known he becomes to the Public.
** As is [[spoiler:Valthakar]] when he [[spoiler:begins to kill innocent civilians, (unlike Cody, who only killed criminals,) in order to hurt Cody's public image.]]
** Then there's the Blue Butterfly, who, despite [[spoiler:also being a lich]] seems to have every desire to kill in any case.
** Despite the series' name, none of the characters introduced so far are actually Angels of Death as defined on this page.
* The Alice Killer from the creepypasta of the same name has killed a total of five people, leaving playing cards with the word "Alice" written on them as part of his M.O.
* There is a PlayedForLaughs version in the LetsPlay/{{Yogscast}} miniseries "Yogtours". LetsPlay/{{Turpster}}, the host, will go around various offices and give the audience a tour of that office in each episode, only to kill the owner of that office when the episode reaches its end. Every person involved has died, bar Turps, although LetsPlay/HatFilms [[DefiantToTheEnd fought back]] and LetsPlay/DuncanJones has been shown to [[BackFromTheDead appear alive again]] [[UnexplainedRecovery with no explanation]].
* ''Literature/{{Worm}}'' features the [[TheDreaded Slaughterhouse Nine]], a gang of thrill killers with high-end superpowers who rampage across North America attacking cities and subjecting random people to [[CruelAndUnusualDeath hideous torture and carnage]]. They likely have a higher body count than the rest of this page combined; their visit to Brockton Bay kills hundreds inside of a week, and they've been active for more than ten years.
* WebOriginal/JeffTheKiller. He was driven insane and killed his family before going on a killing spree. Arguably the most well known creepypasta example of this trope.
* ''WebVideo/RedLetterMedia's'' Mr. Plinkett is a 119-year old serial killer who murders women in his creepy basement. He's also a very opinionated movie critic.
* ''WebVideo/TheVeronicaExclusive'' has Jane, a [[TeensAreMonsters teenage serial killer]] as its main villain. She's also the protagonist's girlfriend. [[DestructiveRomance This turns out]] [[LoveHurts about as well as you'd expect]].
* Episode 3 of ''WebVideo/AnimeCrimesDivision'' features a serial killer.. of Gundam figurines.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In an ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' HalloweenEpisode, Stan, in order to upstage his neighbor's awesome haunted house, brings in five of the most vicious serial killers in the Eastern Seaboard to act as attractions in his own. Havoc predictably ensues.
--> '''Stan:''' "Head for [[DontGoInTheWoods the woods]], its [[GenreBlind always safe there!]]"
** In the same episode, Klaus claims that after university he traveled around Italy, stabbing students.
* A couple of ''WesternAnimation/BeavisAndButthead'' episodes dealt with serial killers, in "Most Wanted" the duo hunt for a serial killer with a tattoo on his forehead of the word "KILLER" whom we later find out is named Tom, so they can collect the prize money. They end up encountering him in their backyard and he attempts to kill them but due to their stupidity they think he is also looking for the killer. He becomes friends with them because Beavis is just as crazy as he is and as a reward he gives them tattoos of butts on their butts, we see him in a later episode calling a dating service to invite women over to his jail cell so he can kill them.
** Another episode "A Great Day" they encounter another serial killer whom resembles real life killer Jeffrey Dahmer after following a trail of blood to his house he gives them 20 bucks to forget what they saw, later on he can be seen loading a dead body into the trunk of his car and the duo present him with the body of a canary presumably belonging to the victim that had been stabbed to death he again tells them to forget what they saw and gives them another 20 bucks.
** The crazy old farmer from the episode "Cow Tippin'" is probably one, considering how he decides to chop up a cow that fell on Beavis with a ''chainsaw'' while muttering "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away..."
* In his first appearance on ''WesternAnimation/CourageTheCowardlyDog'', Katz ran a HellHotel where he fed his guests to spiders for no discernible reason other than to just do it -- yet another horrifying trope this show played straight and seriously.
** In his second appearance, he turned his victims into machines to have them battle to the death for his amusement. He also tried to blow up a submarine with all aboard and, despite having a motive this time, still relished in killing a huge number of people. His only appearence where what he's doing isn't a front for commiting murders is his candy shop. Then again, he seemed to [[FridgeHorror be well versed in]] [[HumanResources turning people into candy]]...
** Benton Tarantella and Eroll Von Volkheim. Amatuer film directors who managed to slay 12 people before their deaths. Then they came back from the dead to ''keep doing it!''
** An example of a supernatural one is the Great Fussili who tricks people and transforms them into puppets for him to play.
** Schwick is implied to have lured many people to their deaths by taking them to an underground "rehearsal room" feed them to his monster behind the door.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' dealt with the "Fat Guy Strangler", who [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin strangled fat men]]. It turns out to be Lois' brother Patrick (voiced by Creator/RobertDowneyJr), who was sent to an insane asylum as a child after being traumatized by seeing Jackie Gleason having sex with his mother, and from there concluded that all fat people were evil and so went on a killing spree.
** An earlier episode had The Mass Media Murderer, who specifically targeted members of the press. Another episode briefly featured a Quahog encyclopedia of crime, which mentioned such figures as "The Berserk Hobo" and "The Golden Autumn Day Strangler".
** Stewie has killed many people over the course of the series.
* [[AxCrazy Flippy]] from ''WebAnimation/HappyTreeFriends''.
* On ''WesternAnimation/JimmyTwoShoes'', this was Heloise's original characterization, before they decided to make her a MadScientist instead. She's still pretty AxCrazy.
* A ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' short entitled "Bye Bye Bluebeard" involved Porky Pig being paranoid about a serial killer named Bluebeard who raids houses to kill the residents and steal their food, a mouse hearing the news decides to impersonate him eventually Porky sees through his disguise and soon comes face to face with the real Bluebeard.
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' has (at least) four episodes involving serial killers.
** "Cartman's Incredible Gift" features the Left-Hand Killer, who is a better example of a typical serial killer in comparison to later examples, though not by much. He's mostly a parody of Francis Dolorhyde as depicted in the newer ''Film/RedDragon'' film, with a few other tropes thrown in.
** "Hell On Earth 2006" shows the "antics," of Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy and Jeffery Dahmer. Said "antics," are called so because they become a parody of sorts of Film/TheThreeStooges after their initial introduction.
** The [[AxCrazy obviously insane]] Hat [=McCullough=] from "Free Hat", though his defenders claim he killed those twenty-three babies in self-defense.
** "Merry Christmas Charlie Manson".
* The Tattletale Strangler from ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants''.
* The ''WesternAnimation/TotalDramaIsland'' episode 'Hook, Line, and Screamer,' dealt with this: the contestants had to watch a horror movie about a [[OverlyLongGag psycho killer with a chainsaw and a hook]] (the whole thing said every time.) As quoted above, Duncan found it hilarious, until [[spoiler:a real killer confronts Gwen, and everyone rushes to save her. Thankfully, she manages to kick his butt.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/Ben10Omniverse'' villain Khyber is an EgomaniacHunter whose trophies include the skulls of sapient aliens. His current target is Ben.