The 5 Best True Crime Serial Killer Movies Like The Boston Strangler

Hulu has finally released director Matt Ruskin’s latest film, Boston Strangler, Starring Keira Knightley, Carrie Coon, Chris Cooper and David Dastmalchian. Based on the chilling true story, this film follows reporter Loretta McLaughlin as she battles the sexism of her time, as well as a corrupt and incompetent justice system, to investigate the murders of the title Stranger and help bring him to justice.

For those who enjoyed watching this brutal yet compelling true crime film, here are 5 similar biopics about real life serial killers that are worth a look.

The Boston Strangler (1969)

This isn’t the first time the Boston Strangler has had his own movie. Unlike the more recent biopic, which explores the possibility of multiple killers, the 1968 version portrays Albert DeSalvo (played by Tony Curtis) as the definitive Strangler and follows the head of the ‘Strangler Bureau’ (played by Henry Fonda ) investigating the murders. This film is also unique in the way it repeatedly uses split screens, which makes the film look like images from a newspaper, citing how many people followed the story of the Strangler at the time.

The Boston Strangler takes a lot of creative liberties with the story it’s based on. The most glaring change is how it portrays DeSalvo with dissociative identity disorder, making the film a disturbing journey into the mind of a serial killer. While this widely inaccurate film may not be top-tier biopic material, its distinct visual style and Curtis’ Golden Globe-nominated performance as the Strangler still warrants a watch.

Helter Skelter (1976)

A close-up of Charles Manson inside

Based on the book of the same name by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry, this TV movie chronicles the investigation of the shocking Tate-LaBianca murders committed by the Manson family in 1969. These murders shocked Hollywood and the country as a whole. as the Boston Strangler terrorized his city, so All at once it was understandably the most popular TV movie upon release.

Chilling music and disturbing visuals create a chilling procedural crime drama, evoking the terror caused by one of the worst serial murders in American history. While most of the acting in this film may not be realistic, Steve Railsback gives a compelling and terrifying performance as Charles Manson that will make you feel like he’s jumping off the screen.

Jack the Ripper (1988)

Frederick Abberline and George Lusk enter

This underrated TV movie presents a compelling account of the detective who led the investigation into the title killer while struggling with alcoholism. Like you Boston Stranglerthe Ripper’s actions instilled fear throughout the city, and yet his true identity remains up for debate decades later.

Likewise, the investigation into the Ripper shakes up the entire British system, with riots breaking out in the street and the killer possibly being a member of the royal family. Featuring a Golden Globe-winning performance by Sir Michael Caine, this crime film is a chilling and overlooked period piece that should appeal to audiences looking to return to a very different story.

The Good Nurse (2022)

Two nurses talk to each other in The Good Nurse.

This tense Netflix drama follows the true story of how nurse Amy Loughren (Jessica Chastain) helped uncover the truth that her colleague, Charles Cullen (Eddie Redmayne), was a serial killer who murdered his patients. Although it’s a very different story than Loretta McLaughlin’s, The good nurse still portrays the basic premise of a woman who overcomes the odds to help the authorities uncover a ruthless killer.

At the same time, Loughren struggles to support her family as a single mother with heart problems, similar to how Loretta McLaughlin deals with marital problems in the pursuit of the Boston Strangler. The good nurse it’s also packed with real star power thanks to the acclaimed performances of Chastain and Redmayne, which should give audiences a strong dose of true crime drama.

Zodiac (2007)

Robert Downey Jr.  and Jake Gyllenhaal in Zodiac.

This biopic directed by David Fincher takes audiences back to the late 60s to depict the dark and thrilling manhunt for the infamous Zodiac Killer. But similar to the Keira Knightley film, Zodiac follows Robert Graysmith as he transcends his role as a political cartoonist and tries to unravel riddles left by the killer in an obsessive attempt to bring him down.

With Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr., Zodiac keeps its audience on the edge of their seats as it delves into the terrifying mystery behind the real-life killer who continues to confound authorities and amateur detectives more than half a century later. As with me Boston StranglerFincher’s film has no definite conclusion, as the identities of both killers remain a mystery to this day.

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