ByJancy Richardson, writer at
To avoid fainting, keep repeating 'It's only a movie...It's only a movie...'
Jancy Richardson

Imagine you see a guy attacking a group of kids with a chainsaw. There's only one thing for you to do. Kill him, right? This is the RIGHT thing to do, obviously - the world will be a better place without this lunatic.

So, you kill him. This situation happens twice more. Now you're a SERIAL KILLER. A lot of killers - for whatever twisted, crazy, delusional reasons - think they are making the world a better place. Step into the world of serial killer ethics, and watch where you tread...

1. Saw (2004)

Attempted to improve the world by: Making people value their lives

Problematic because: There can be no discussion of demented serial killers trying to change the world without mention of Saw. Despite the obvious flaws in his logic, Jigsaw certainly believes he's operating under a valid set of beliefs as he traps, terrifies and mutilates those he's trying to 'help'.


2. The Ruins (2008)

Attempted to improve the world by: Saving the world from an ancient evil

Problematic because: The killer Mexicans guarding the Mayan pyramid in The Ruins may well slaughter every tourist who touches its stones, but seeing as they're protecting the Earth from its evil clutches, this slaughter is kind of justified?


3. Shame The Devil (2014)

Attempted to improve the world by: Increasing Honesty

Problematic because: Honesty - as everyone who's ever told a white lie knows - is not always not the best policy. In Shame The Devil, the perpetrator wires his hapless victims up to a lie detector, savagely killing them if they lie.


4. Dexter (2006 - 2013)

Attempted to improve the world by: Eliminating bad people

Problematic because: Of all the vigilante killers operating on their own private 'ethics', Dexter is by far the most legit. He works within the police, killing only people who he has proven to be bad (unless he's killing for self-preservation). He's so good at what he does, Dexter is actually - worryingly - kind of hard to argue with.


5. The Abominable Dr Phibes (1971)

Attempted to improve the world by: Implementing revenge

Problematic because: Revenge is not the purest of desires, but Dr Phibes believes that his wife was killed by medical incompetence, and that he's saving others from the same fate by taking the bunglers out...very, very creatively.


6. The Human Centipede (2009)

Attempted to improve the world by: Advancing science

Problematic because: I am in no way condoning the sewing of one person's butthole onto another person's face, but you gotta admit that Dr. Heiter is highly dedicated to his professional interests. He achieves what he sets out to do - create a 'Siamese Triplet' - albeit in a rather revolting and unsanitary fashion.


7. Frailty (2001)

Attempted to improve the world by: Ridding the world of demons

Problematic because: The killer in Frailty is full-blown cray-cray, of course, but if you genuinely believed that God was telling you to rid the world of demons, you'd go ahead and do it, wouldn't you? He may chop up plenty of innocents with his axe (named 'Otis'!) but his heart is in the right place.


8. Paradise Lost (2006)

Attempted to improve the world by: providing organ transplants for those who can't afford them

Problematic because: Affordable healthcare is a noble aspiration, but unfortunately, the Brazilian organ harvesters of Paradise Lost slightly hamper their good intentions by butchering unwitting American tourists for their supplies...


9. Teeth (2007)

Attempted to improve the world by: ridding the world of rapists

Problematic because: If you discover that you have the rare congenital condition Vagina Dentata (that's teeth in your lady-bits), there's hardly a more apt career choice than castrating all of those rancid sex offenders. Gruesome, but it's hard to feel much sympathy for Jess's 'victims' who try to molest her.


10. Seven (1995)

Attempted to improve the world by: Punishing mankind by showing us how awful we are

Problematic because: John Doe enacts the titular Seven deadly sins in the most gruesome way possible. He mumbles a lot of stuff about God telling him to 'punish the wicked', but it's hard to be convinced by a guy with that much crazy scribbling in his room...


Can you think of any other movie serial killers who try - or, at least, thought they were trying - to make the world a better place?


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