The List: Top 10 fictional serial killers

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From the February 27, 2014 edition

With “Hannibal” and “Bates Motel,” both starring two iconic movie murderers, having second season premieres coming up, it’s time to get excited about (fictional) serial killers. So we’re counting down the top 10 serial killers in pop culture, because that’s not twisted in the least.

10. Dexter Morgan

“Dexter” was one of the series that put Showtime’s original programming on the map, mainly because Michael C. Hall’s performance as a serial killer who kills other serial killers was one for the ages. Sure, the series got tedious (and ridiculous) at the end, but Dexter was always a killer you could feel good rooting for.

9. Mickey and Mallory Knox

Quentin Tarantino may have disowned director Oliver Stone’s adaptation of his script about serial killers in love on a cross-country tour of wanton murdering, but the duo (Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis) sure was fun, in a bat s--- crazy way. The couple that slays together stays together.

8. Buffalo Bill

Which is the creepiest part of Ted Levine’s super-creepy turn as the serial killer in “Silence of the Lambs”? The “Goodbye, Horses” dance or, “It puts the lotion in the basket”?

7. Freddy Krueger

We gave Krueger the nod over other iconic ’80s slasher movie icons like Michael Myers and Jason because of his charisma, but we docked points for his fashion sense. Horizontal stripes are not slimming.

6. Sideshow Bob

The only way to stop this fantastically coifed “Simpsons” (attempted) serial killer? Rakes. So many rakes.

5. Anton Chigurh

That most of the violence committed by this (also fantastically coifed) killer was done off-screen actually makes Javier Bardem’s Oscar-winning performance in “No Country for Old Men,” which also won Best Picture, even more haunting. Oh and let’s not forget, the dude carried a freakin’ cattle gun!

4. John Doe

Kevin Spacey requested that his name be left out of the opening credits, so when his “Seven” serial killer turned himself in to the detectives, it was a real shocker, as was pretty much every scene he was in after that. (“What’s in the box?”)

3. Norman Bates

Hitchcock’s “Psycho” is still terrifying, mostly because of how unnervingly normal (but a little off) Anthony Perkins’ Norman was the whole time. Until he wasn’t.

2. Patrick Bateman

“Do you like Huey Lewis & the News?” Christian Bale turned the antihero of Bret Easton Ellis’ novel “American Psycho” into an icon, a narcissistic Wall Street exec driven to panic/murderous rage by something as simple as a business card with a watermark.

1. Hannibal Lecter

There’s a reason Hannibal has been the menacing presence in four movies and now a television show. It’s not his sunny personality. It’s that he eats people, occasionally with fava beans and a nice Chianti. A serial killer the foodies can love.

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