Acting seems like the easiest thing to do, until you actually try it. Having said that, different types of acting have their own challenges. While comedy is about timing, drama has a lot to do with getting under a character’s skin. But one of the most challenging and disturbing aspects of the craft is playing a mentally unstable person.

In order to play someone who is a serial killer, barely “trying” to act menacing and evil just isn’t enough. You have to get close to the character by getting under their skin, deciphering why they do what they do and staying in that area for the duration of the shoot. In some cases, this intense approach to perfectionism has major negative effects, with actors putting their sanity at risk in exchange for giving fans a performance that will last them a lifetime and possibly beyond.

10 Ross Lynch – My Friend Dahmer (2017)

Rise movie

This isn’t the first time a movie has been made about Jeffrey Dahmer. And the educated bet would hedge that this wouldn’t be the last time either. what makes My friend Dahmer stand out from its peers Ross Lynch. Lynch, as the villainous serial killer Dahmer, is the lifeblood of the film, taking leaps and bounds from his Disney days. Following in the footsteps of fellow Disney star Zac Efron, Lynch’s film is deeper, darker, and far more sympathetic than Efron’s take on Ted Bundy in Extremely vicious, horrific, sinister and vile.

9 Michael Rooker – Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
Greycat movies

Based on the true story of serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, AKA The Confession Killer, John McNaughton’s movie is an exploration into the art of killing. appropriately titled, Henry: Portrait of a Serial KillerThe film sheds light on the everyday madness of a killer’s mind, as Henry and his roommate and fellow killer Otis are addicted to a life of dealing with death, while also navigating common feelings like attraction and belonging.

8 Gunnar Hansen – The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Bryanston Distribution Company

Gunnar HansenLeatherface’s performance is restrained by the mask of human skin covering his face, but that only adds to his harrowing appeal. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a cacophony of blood and gore that eventually culminates into a song of horror and screaming madness, where all you can hear is the screams and the roar of Leatherface’s chainsaw.

7 Choi Min-sik – I saw the devil (2010)

I saw the devil
Magnet launch

Kim Ji-won I saw the devil is a brokerage of violence run by the cop and criminal duo of Lee Byung-hun and Choi Min-sik. The movie plays an amazing merry-go-round that sees Special Officer Kim Soo-hyun (Lee Byung-hun) engage in a cat-and-mouse game with his fiancée’s killer, Kyung-chul (Choi Min Sik). Upon capturing an insane psychopath, Soo-hyun tortures and sets him free, causing a toxic cycle of torture and hope, eventually driving Kyung-chol to the point of insanity.

As creepy and obnoxious as he is, Choi Min-sik is the backbone of the film, going from creepy to fearful, giving audiences a sense of revenge and revenge.

Related: 12 South Korean Movies That Will Bother You For Days

6 Anthony Perkins – Psych (1960)

Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates in Psycho 1960
Paramount Pictures

Hitchcock’s affinity for the voyeuristic gaze perfectly sets the tone mental patientAnd As the movie opens with a peeping shot where Marion Crane is having an afternoon date with her boyfriend, Sam. Later, we reveal Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) peeped into Marion’s room at the Bates Hotel, before Hitchcock takes us on a journey to glimpse Norman’s insanity hidden beneath his medical condition.

Norman is deeply troubling because he is unpredictable, erratic, and clinically immature. In addition, his psyche is poorly formed, which causes him to endow himself with the sense of a child in a man’s body.

5 Charlize Theron – Beast (2003)

Charlize Theron in Monster
Newmarket Films

Charlize TheronAileen Wuornos’ portrayal of prostitute-turned-serial killer was appreciated by fans and critics alike, and Roger Ebert called it “one of the greatest performances in cinema history”. Theron hardly plays the part, embodying it, as she doesn’t kill the seven men for fun, but more on principle. Killing her is a form of rebellion, an attempt to break free from the clutches of fate and a quest to be a better human being than her destiny intended her to be.

Related: The best Charlize Theron performances, ranked

4 Peter Lowery – M (1931)

AD (1931) by Fritz Lang
nero movie

Despite playing a serial killer who preys on children, Peter LorreHans Beckert has something that draws the audience towards him in a very dark and twisted way. For most of the film, Beckert is in the shadows, on the fringes of society, going through his own inner flounder while enjoying the effect he has on the rich and powerful, as they are terrified at the thought of losing their children. But when he’s alone, he’s just a scared guy with a pathological need to kill. This double contrast is the steam engine that powers Fritz Lang M In cinema history books.

3 Kevin Spacey – Se7en (1995)

Kevin Spacey at Seven
New Line Cinema

in Se7enAnd so-and-so (Kevin Spacey) tells Detective Somerset (Morgan Freeman) and Mills (Brad Pitt), that in order to get people to listen to you, you have to hit them with a sledgehammer. And that’s exactly what Film Venture does. Sledgehammer assault. Complementing the narrative base of John Doe’s reason to kill and torture, Fincher flips the power dynamics to give Doe a strong appeal, while portraying Detective Mills as volatile and erratic, despite being on the right side of the law. This exchange of power breaks the traditional rule associated with cops and criminals, and dwells on the fact that the law, or lack thereof, has nothing to do with a man’s inner wiring.

Related: Every David Fincher movie, ranked

2 Christian Bale – American Psycho (2000)

American Psycho
Lionsgate Movies

23 years later, Christian BalePatrick Bateman is still relevant, as the ’80s culture has been replaced by modern wake-up culture. Fostering his transition from child actor to certified performer, Bell disguises many personas and masks within Patrick Bateman, fully simmering and tempering his emotions before reaching a boiling point that burns the entire house.

1 Anthony Hopkins – The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs
Orion Pictures

Funny to mention Anthony Hopkinsperformance in Silence of the Lambs As the best serial killer performance, despite not being the original killer in the movie. Not far from Ted Levine’s terrific performance of Buffalo Bill, Hopkins barely had any screen time in the movie, but managed to creep and captivate whenever he was on screen. The lopsided confrontation between Hopkins Lecter and Jodie Foster’s Clarice Starling is so uneven and unsettling that it feels even more terrifying than the original crimes of Buffalo Bill himself.


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