The Human Fascination with Serial Killers

Serial killers, they take your breath away both literally and figuratively. There is something about them that draw people in. Though many are intrigued by murder and those who commit it, we seldom know why. Personally, I have felt the same strange pull. Watching television shows gave me enough contact with them to want more. American Horror Story, for example, enchanted me from the first season. Casting a charming young man as a psychotic school—shooter naturally caused me to gain interest, Usually, this is the psychotics’ biggest advantage They are charming, enchanting even, and tend to remain unsuspicious.

it is obvious that we always search for more information, but we still are not certain to why. Some people believe it is the media’s fault. Excessive coverage and stories based on bizarre and inhumane happenings seem to bewitch us. Society treats them as movie stars, a shiny new toy, sirens to the mind. Maybe it is how they’re portrayed in film and shows.

Actors have the ability to take something so distorted and macabre, then give it a casing, masking them in a human shell.

The mind is confused by the broken boundaries between what is and isn’t normal. Seeing a familiar and attractive face on screen can blind us to the danger ahead It seems, though, that we avoid the most obvious angle; we are too embarrassed or frightened to admit that our magnetism is based on our own minds. Society is most attracted to these monstrous beings because it feels like they are looking into the reflection of the darkest, deepest parts of themselves Superheroes do not exist in real life despite what we may have dreamed as children.

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Since childhood, we have searched for these figures who defied the mediocrity surrounding us in a way, serial killers have become the Clark Kent we wished to be and couldn’t. Daily life, for many, has become nothing but blending into the monotony of the crowds surrounding them.

People who are interested in superheroes often speak of striving for similar powers. Even Stephen Hawking has mused over these immense characters and thought that they are “everything [he is] not” (Stephen), Similarly, these murderers rise to heights we didn’t think possible for a human. They have the guts and cunning we could only wish to obtain; these are their powers Serial killers act upon instinct and do not linger on the reactions of other people or the consequences We all wish to live in a world without rules at least once in our lifetime, but our minds stop us from taking it much further than that It fascinates us to see one of our “kind” breaking out in the form of a serial killer. It terrifies and excites us to see another human obliterate the generic “reaction [of our society] to powerlessness in the face of nameless/faceless terror[s] and systemic injustice” (Victoria 390), Serial killers defy humanity and we want to know how Violence always seems to find a way into our culture. Since before we were able to understand what it meant, brutality has been prevalent in our lives. Yanking mommy’s hair and earrings, while viewed as comical coming from a new baby, earned us a stern talking to later in life.

Throwing toys or fists at siblings was once disregarded as playing, but now got you swatted on the butt, Force-filled and painful behavior such as these were stitched into our genes at a young age. Once something is so securely embraced by a being, it is hard to unwire it. Those thoughts of terror, though thoroughly pushed aside, are slowly brought buoyant when presented with the truth of serial killers. These people were those unable to stifle their urges and, in a way, we appreciate thati It is like the fondness an adult feels when seeing something nostalgic from childhood. No matter how hard we may try to ignore it, what we see when we look at serial killers, we begin to subconsciously recognize these ”fantasies and compulsions [that] represent values embedded in our culture” (Why), That is what their disturbing crimes are to us.

They are “reflective of our own innermost, unchecked passions”, however animalistic and uncomfortable those passions may be (Victoria 390). No, we do not all want to distort people’s bodies, but our undoubted familiarity with derangement does ring clear, Perhaps the most frightening feature of a serial killer is their ability to go about everyday life and stay undetected Before they are revealed and drawn to the public eye, they intertwine themselves with the rest of us and we see them as regular humans. To them, we are a completely different species. Psychopaths do not see us as fellow human beings, or even themselves as a person, We are simply a mouse to a owl; predator and prey, Serial killers have the “ability to conceal their true [psychopathic] personality” and blend in (Montaldo). Because they seem to conform to our general behavior, we have less of an ability to understand what they do, It is almost the “incomprehensibility of such actions [that] drives society to understand” the monster inside of these men and women (Bonn). We find the need to solve these puzzles and understand what makes them different, since it is so difficult to distinguish their traits in everyday life.

Drama in your life may have been left behind in younger years, but those working in media thrive on overdramatization. Despite my belief that this is not the key component to the serial killers’ fame, media has an impact on the public. Media has the “potential to shed light on the reasons why we have celebrity serial killers” and to translate previously hidden information to the public (Schmid). Television, movies, and news take the stories and facts behind the gruesome nature of these monsters and their crimes, then wind up twisting what is true with what we would rather hear and see. Entertainment is the main objective, and it skews the lines between where the humanity ends and begins in the situation. We, as an audience, get caught up in tales of these famous murderers, their schemes, and how their miniature empires ended. Media makes it hard to realize that they are dangerous and still out in the world; the predators are still hunting us, Instead of being featured as real, and living, criminals, “the serial killer takes his place alongside such figures as gangsters, vigilanres, and cyborgs” in media and film (Schmid).

Although this may hold authenticity, people tend to be more intelligent than that We know better than to embrace everything shown to us and to look beyond these opinions presented. Only puppets could fall into the false lure of what is published to us, Though, many opinions of ours can be based off of what is presented, this alone is not enough to Lake precedent in our minds. Those with a true interest in the topic will often pay more attention to the information being relayed to them by the media. Instead of falling victim to generalities that seem to glisten while falling off the screen, they use their own minds to distinguish a farce. Our minds are what is really in control. Looking at some popular shows, serial killers are often portrayed by attractive stars. By definition, psychopaths are often described as having “superficial charm” making us think hiring entertainers such as Evan Peters and Michael C. Hall to play them is a good idea (Montaldo) These actors actually create a blurred image of what psychopaths are actually capable of. They make viewers believe that serial killers harness all the alluring qualities of who is portraying them.

Though we may become interested in the certain actors or characters we see, our curiosity often leads us to the internet for more information. From there, we see the truth and understand what a serial killer is, In my experience, it was like feeding a Gremlin after midnight, Suddenly, we have a pleasant “fear of powerlessness and loss of control” as we do with celebrities (Why). The information I found only peaked my interest and created a completely separate killer- obsessed monster on it’s own; once again, the mind, We are in control of ourselves, even subconsciously With so much being disclosed to the public about them, true or not, it is easier to understand the confusion some feel towards their fascination. Even when our logic points us to our prime sources of input for an answer, we need to step back and look at ourselves. Human nature instantly magnetizes your focus to all things gruesome, despite our disgust in the matter. Feeling a suppressed connection to murderers might be a terrifying thought, but really, we are all only human.

Works Cited

  1. Bonn, Scott A, PhD. ”Here’s Why We Love Serial Killers.” Psychology Today Wicked Deeds, 22 Sept. 2014, Web. 11 Feb. 2015. Montaldo, Charlesi “Characteristics of the Psychopathic Personality.”
  2. Abouti Np, 7 Septi 2014 Web, 05 Mar, 2015. Schmid, David. “Natural Born Celebrities.” Natural Born Celebrities: Serial Killers in American Culture. N.p., n,d.:
  3. Serial Killers in American Culture by David Schmid, an Excerpt. University of Chicago Press. Web. 11 Feb. 2015.

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The Human Fascination with Serial Killers. (2022, Sep 13). Retrieved from

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