The dark side of our fascination: Why do serial killer movies and series captivate us so much? We will try to explain it in this article.
Literature has always exploited different dark and macabre characters. But cinema and television have not been left behind either and that is why so many serial killer movies and series have captured the attention and interest of millions of people around the world. From classics like The Silence of the Lambs (1991) to hit shows like Mindhunter and Dexter, the figure of the serial killer has become a cultural phenomenon. But why is this type of content so attractive to us? What is it that leads us to feel a strange fascination for society’s most ruthless predators?
In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind our collective obsession and the psychological aspects that contribute to our interest in serial killer movies and series.
The attraction of the forbidden.
One of the most intriguing aspects of serial killer movies and shows is their exploration of the dark and the forbidden. The criminal mind and its sinister motivations represent uncharted and mysterious territory that draws us irrationally. These stories allow us to delve into the disturbing minds of the murderers and explore the limits of morality and human psychology. Dexter is a perfect example.
The morbidity and the adrenaline.
The violence and danger that are presented in these stories generate an adrenaline rush in the viewer. Although we are horrified by violent acts, we also experience a sense of excitement and morbidity when witnessing extreme situations from the safety of our screen. This mix of conflicting emotions keeps us glued to the plot and keeps us coming back for more. Something that is very much reflected in the Mindhunter series.
The psychological aspect.
Serial killer movies and series often delve into the psychology of criminals, exploring their traumas, motivations, and mental imbalances. This allows us to reflect on the complexity of the human mind and question what factors can lead a person to become a predator. The depiction of detailed psychological profiles challenges us to understand the motives behind the most heinous acts and leads us to reflect on our very nature. Maybe that’s why Hannibal Lecter is so popular.
The resolution of mysteries.
This genre often presents intricate plots and full of mystery. Viewers are caught up in the thrill of unraveling the riddles and discovering the identity and motives behind the murders. This solving of mysteries gives us a sense of fulfillment and allows us to experience a sense of control and mastery over the chaos. Something that we can experience with all the Sherlock Holmes movies and series or the Criminal Minds program.
Identification and selective empathy.
Sometimes, the protagonists of these stories are complex and tormented characters who, despite their monstrous actions, manage to generate empathy in the viewer. This is because their pasts, traumas, or circumstances that have contributed to their transformation into murderers are often explored. This selective emotional connection allows us to see beyond their atrocities and explore the complexities of human nature. A very clear example is Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story from Netflix.
The fascination with serial killer movies and series is a complex phenomenon that finds its roots in various psychological and emotional aspects. The attraction for the forbidden, the curiosity and the adrenaline, the interest in the psychological aspect, the resolution of mysteries and the selective identification are just some of the elements that keep us captivated by these stories. Although these stories can be disturbing, they also challenge us to explore the darker corners of the human condition and allow us to reflect on our own morality and fragility. Serial killer movies and series will undoubtedly continue to generate controversy and fascination for years to come, fueling our relentless need to explore the far reaches of the criminal mind.
Do you like serial killer movies and series? What are your favourites? Leave us your comments below in the opinion section.