The killings and the minds of a serial killer have long fascinated the public both fictional and non fiction. It gives the public the sense of fear, scaring the population and questions if they are going to get caught while it is also repulsing to think someone has died by a person’s own hand. A serial killer is considered as someone who has committed more than three murders within a certain time frame. They are also usually white male with a high average intelligence.
Although serial killers are unique and different in the way they kill, there are similar stances that they all have, or at least a similar pattern they follow. Whether it is a serial killer in real life or in movies, it can be frightening to exam a killer or even know whether that person is a killer or not. In most cases, the serial killer and the victim do not know each other at all or have barely met, giving the killer time to carefully plant their attack. My goal in this paper is to focus on serial killers from movies and television shows and how their mind is perceived as a real serial killer.
Serial killers comes in different shapes and sizes, whether big or small, innocent looking or not, there are serial killers, and movies portray serial killers based on real life killers such as Ted Bundy, Ed Gein, and the Clown killer. A serial killer is mostly thought of “a loner, and therefore as always potentially dangerous. ” (Federman 44). There are four characters that portrays this killing personality. Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs, Norman Bates, Psycho and the television series Bates Motel. Dexter from the television show Dexter and John Doe from Se7en.
All of these characters have a need to kill, whether it is for their own pleasure, sexually aggresive, or believing they have a mission to get rid of the evil. With these killers, they all have pattern they follow for each murder that they have accostumed to and felt its comfort to kill in a similar pattern. In Richard Dyer’s article Kill and Kill Again: This may be the same basic pattern in each act – the same selection of victim, the same method of killing – or it may be the way that a pattern emerges out of all the killing seen as a sequence.
The commonest form of the first kind of pattern is explanation of the second kind of pattern – that virtually only exists in fiction – would be a series of killings based upon some numerical or alphabetical sequence. QUOTE Dyer has stated that there is a pattern involved or at least selling the pattern that captures not only the killers interest but ours as well because it is the same procedure occurring that we can identify that it is a certain killer. For example, Buffalo Bill’s pattern is choosing women as his victims. He carefully chooses them based on their weight, clothing size, and possible their skin tone.
He then tricks them by portraying helpless and captures them by physically hurting them making them unconciousd. Second, he traps them in a well for a couple of days and tortures them until he is ready to kill. Third, he shoots his victim and cuts off their skin, dumping the body in the water. This is his pattern, his fantasy or a ritual performance for him to give self satisfaction. A second character is Norman Bates. He is portrayed in Hitchcock’s film and also is portrayed in a television show as a teenager. Norman pattern is simple yet dangerous.
His victims are usually women who he finds attractive, thus giving him a sexual feeling. Because of this sexual feeling, it has been implanted in his mind that it is wrong (the reason will be discussed in the next paragraph) and that he needs to get rid of the source. His next step is forcefully killing his victim either by his own hands or using a weapon that is close by. However, in his case, he blacks out as he does not know or remember committing the act. Third character, Dexter Morgan is a regular person working at a police department during the day, yet kills his victims at night.
His selling pattern is picking his victims based on their record. (He has more access for working at a police station, he has files to many different criminals). Second, he gets to know his victims by following and even befriending them by acting as a different person. Third, he captures them by injecting them with animal tranqualizer and wrapping them to a table in his “kill room”. Fourth pattern is talking to hiss victims about their crimes and killing them, ending their life. Lastly, he cuts up their bodies into pieces and dumps them in a bag that is then dropped into the ocean, with the water current moving the bag.
Lastly, John Doe. Though we do not know much information about him through the film, there is an idea of his killing pattern. Though we do not see him until towards the end of the film, he choose his victims based on the seven deadly sins, and creates the sin within the victim and leave them there to die on the spot. He repeats this until all of the sins have been completed. With all this information from watching them, they all share a common trait: they are “exceptionally skillful in their presentation of self so that they are beyond suspicion and thus are difficult to apprehend. Fox 413)
With a killer having a constant pattern, a question that comes to mind is why do they kill, why do they pick the people they choose, and why torture them? There can be many reasons this question; feeling of rage inside, a broken childhood, being dehumanize towards their victim, not being able to understand their gender or the perception of masculinity and feminism, a poor parent child relationship or no relationship at all, needing to feel superior to those he feels are below him, and possibly for revenge.
These are just a couple of reasons but it may be a trigger as to why they act the way they do. While on the range of triggers and reasons, another possiblilty can be of a disorder they are suffering from such as a split personality or thinking they are someone else stuck in the body they are currently in. A character that can be related to this would be Buffalo Bill: we know that he skins his victims, and that he uses it to create a “woman suit” for himself. More importantly, it may be because he is suffering from a gender dysphoria, believing he can resolve his problem by doing what he is doing.
Buffalo Bill symbolizes the problem of a kind of literal skin dis-ease but all the other characters in the film are similarly, although not necessarily pathologically, discomforted. Skin, in this movie, creeps and crawls, it is the most fragile of covers and also the most sticky. Skin becomes a metaphor for surface, for the external; it is the place of pleasure and the site of pain; it is the thin sheet that masks bloody horror. But skin is also the movie screen, the destination of the gaze, the place that glows in the dark, the violated site of visual pleasure. (Keats 165)