A killer is someone who is responsible for the murder of one or more people. The term killer can also refer to a person who commits a violent crime against a particular group of people, such as children or the elderly. The crimes of a killer often cause fear, anger, and anxiety in society, as they can be difficult to understand or comprehend.
A serial killer is a person who kills three or more individuals over a period of time, with a significant amount of time between each killing. There are a number of theories as to what leads a person to become a serial killer, but most experts agree that there is no single cause or circumstance. There are many factors that can contribute to the development of a serial killer, such as childhood abuse or neglect, substance abuse, or a history of head trauma or brain damage.
Most serial killers operate within a defined area of comfort, which is usually based on where they live or work. A few serial killers are known to travel interstate to kill, including those whose jobs require them to move from place to place, such as truck drivers or members of the military. The murders of serial killers have drawn a great deal of public attention and interest, often prompting debate over social issues such as the tendency for police to be less thorough in investigations of murders committed against poor or lower-income citizens.
Many of the murders of serial killers are motivated by sex, although other motives include drugs and money. The murders of serial killers have often been accompanied by extensive sexual assaults and other forms of violence, which can cause psychological and physical distress for victims. Some victims have been known to suffer for weeks or even months after a murder.
In the 20th century, several cases of serial murder received widespread media coverage, and some killers became infamous for their crimes, with lurid nicknames like the Boston Strangler, the Dusseldorf Vampire, the Monster of Florence, or the Killer Clown. The topic of serial murder has also served as the basis for numerous popular books, ranging from highly literary and serious novels to thrillers and pulp fiction, such as the works of Jack the Ripper, Charles Ng, and Jeffrey Dahmer. Serial murderers have also inspired countless movies, from critically acclaimed dramas to blockbuster action films.
In the minimalist Netflix noir The Killer, Michael Fassbender plays a nameless assassin who is hired to kill a man in a Chicago penthouse. But, after two hours of meticulous bloodshed, the movie’s main character comes close to completing his job—and then decides not to pull the trigger. It’s a twist that illustrates an important aspect of serial killing, which is that many of these criminals are very careful and methodical in their actions. They may even have Chekhov’s Gun, the firearm that you see in the first act and just know is going to be fired by the end.