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7 Times Real Life Killers Were Portrayed Perfectly On Screen 

by Gypsy Play about a year ago in movie review
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Take a look at America's epidemy of evil, and the amazing actors that were brave enough to take on the role

For an actor, taking on a role of a real life person is incredibly difficult. With far less of the creative liberty an actor can take with a fictional role, and the responsibility the actor has to the antagonist and their family members, it takes a very skilled actor to bring that character to life.

Well, while that is a challenge of itself, imagine portraying a killer. Here we will break down the top 7 times actor broke the barrier, looked past their own feelings and morals, and were able to empathize and portray real life killers in the best way possible.

Edmund Kemper

The show 'Mindhunter' is a great one to start with because it presents to us the idea of not only being a killer, but becoming a killer. There are some gruesome individuals that are portrayed in the show, but the premise of the show is showing that our upbringing can make or break a killer. Ed is a great example of exactly that; he had grown up with an abusive mother who after her divorce deeply resented him and men in general. The anger that was building up throughout his childhood led him to become one of the most famous serial killers of the 20th century, murdering 6 hitchhiker girls, his own grandparents, and finally, his own mother (and a friend of hers). To add to his record of overall 10 murders, he also committed violent acts to the bodies like cutting the victims heads and sodomizing them. Eventually, he turned himself in when he realized he no longer wants to kill because killing his mother made all of his anger go away.

In the show we meet Ed (played by Cameron Britton) in prison. As viewers, we can see that something is definitely off with the guy, and that he is playing a dangerous game with the detectives. Britton is doing a terrific job, able to balance Ed's manipulative behavior and genius qualities (he had an IQ of 145). He is displaying to us Ed's kind personality and hospitality, and his dangerous psychopathic manners. Britton also nailed the clumsiness of Edmund, being called "The Gentle Giant" due to his incredible height of 6"9. Ed's physicality in the show is spot on, knowing that Ed never had a girlfriend, and had a lot of difficulty talking to girls. Alongside the physical attributes, Britton brings out Ed's incredible awkwardness, of the person who had to live with a mentally abusive parent, and only try to fit in.

Well done, Britton.

Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy is one on the most infamous killers ever known, due to the big amount of media coverage on the case, his multiple escapes from prison, and the fact that his trial was the first ever to be covered live in the media.

Ted was described as a psychopath sexual predator, who found a passion is abducting, assaulting, and murdering young women. He was arrested the first time with the help of a tip the police got from his then girlfriend, but managed to escape from prison twice, continuing his murdering spree. It is believed that Ted murdered 20-40 girls, but no one knows the exact number. Ted insisted he was innocent despite the evidences against him that were piling up. It wasn't until he was facing the electric chair that he started to confess, desperately trying to buy himself more time. Even though this might sound unbelievable, Ted's charm and good looks swept the nation, and he gained himself a big crowd of followers and fans (alongside enemies). His execution was escorted with a big round of applause and a big crowd of haters came to watch.

Even though you might have heard his name recently due to the recent movie made about him, starring Zac Efron as Bundy, this movie is not the reason Bundy made this list. It is Mark Harmon's performance that exhilarated so many in the 1986 movie 'The Deliberate Stranger' that made it one of the best serial killer movies of all times. Harmon captured Ted's behavior with incredible accuracy, his eyes, laugh, and of course his hypnotizing charisma. The movie remains controversial due to it's graphic content, although many believe that the only way to make some justice to the victims and their family is to portray the events as they were: "Extremely wicked, shockingly evil and vile".

Aileen Wuornos

Aileen's story became well known with the help of the movie 'Monster', and she became known as the first female American serial killer. Aileen's upbringing was far from ideal. She was abundant by her parents, grew up with her abusive grandfather who would rape her repeatedly for years, inviting others to participate including her own brother. At the age of 14 she became pregnant and the baby was put up for adoption. The anger that built up within her due to her assault made her aggressive and reckless, unable to be included in society. She worked as a sex worker, homeless most of her life, and was in trouble with the law since the age of 18. She met the love of her life when she was introduced to a women named Tyra at a local bar. They worked as a team, Ty would cover for Aileen for any type of illegal matter from theft to murder. Aileen was found guilty on 7 accounts of murder, after she confessed that she had killed 7 of her male clients, and added she would keep killing if she was ever released.

Charlie Throne is hardly recognizable as Aileen in the movie 'Monster'. She truly transformed herself for the role, gaining 30 pounds and completely changing her looks to portray the rigid murderer, and did an amazing job at it as well. Aside from her great acting, capturing Aileen's dangerous rage, Throne also captured her pain and even made us sympathize with her. By Showing us the women that society let down and pushed to the side, she was able to perfectly deliver the question the movie raises: A cold blooded killer, or a girl down on her luck?

Charles Manson

Charlie Manson might be the most notorious killer in America, although he didn't kill anyone. Even so, he belongs in this list because of the phenomenal performance of Steve Railsback as Charlie in the movie 'Helter Skelter'. Because of his mother's neglection Charlie was set up to a life of crime, and as a result spent his early life in and out of jail and federal institutes , and never had a real home. During his time in those institutes he was constantly abused and sodomized. By the age of 36 he had spent most of his life behind bars, was obsessed with the Beatles and was determent to make it in the music world.

Charlie was a master manipulate and had a way to control and deceive people. Not long after his release he had a following of almost 20 girls, and as the "family" grew they moved to the infamous ranch in LA. All his followers were children of the streets, and had nowhere else to go. Charlie would keep his followers loyal by feeding them lies, giving them drugs, and manipulate them to warship him.

Charlie's anger and frustration for not succeeding in the music world began to turn into violence. He ordered his followers to commit petty crimes on the Hollywood stars as revenge until finally he ordered the murder of record producer Terry Melcher, that led to the horrible event of the gruesome murder of Sharon Tate and three others, Due to a mistake in the address.

Naturally, following the panic this shocking event spread in Hollywood, Charles story was covered heavily in the media and after his conviction there were multiple talented actors that portrayed him on the screen. However, the performance of Steve Railsback in the 1976 movie 'Helter Skelter' shadows everyone else's, with his remarkable physical similarities and his surprisingly gentle manner, that perfectly captures Manson's manipulative, "over the top" personality. A great example of that is his terrific speech at the end of the movie, when Manson realizes he was sentenced to death (although he was never actually executed).

Jeffery Dahmer

Jeffery Dahmer is one of the most abhorrent and foul serial killers ever lived. He was an alcoholic from a very young age, and he killed his first victim when he was only 18 years old. After his first few murders Jeffery realized that killing is a sort of "passion" he had and would actively go out to search for victims.

Over the course of 13 years, Jeffery would kill 17 young man, strangle them, drug them, sexually assault them, and dismember them. His victims were all young man ages 13-32, and all of the murders involved either rape, or had some type of sexual nature to them. He would usually keep the body parts as trophies, putting the severed heads in a jar, and on some occasions he would even eat the body parts of his victims. He later mentioned that some of the killings were solely done as an experiment to try to preserve the skull perfectly in acid or bleach solution.

Jeffery's crimes were extremely gruesome and had no empathy or respect to human life or the human body. He would still be in prison today if it wasn't for an attack led by one of his inmates in the prison, causing Jefferies death within one hour.

There are hours upon hours of content on the internet about Jeffery Dahmer, but the performance of Jeremy Renner in the 2002 film 'Dahmer' is definitely the most memorable. The movie itself is extremely accurate to the true events, gruesome and shocking to watch, and Renner brings it all to a new level. Despite acting a bit more confident than Jeffery might have actually been, Renner shows a deep understanding of the sexual nature needed in playing the sick man Dahmer was, and delivers a marvelously disturbing performance.

Ted Kaczynski

Ted is the Unabomber, a name he got from the FBI when his killings got more methodical, standing for "University and Airline Bomber". He was born to a loving family in 1942. Even Though it was said that Ted was a loner and struggled socially as a kid, he excelled in school and was always ahead of his class academically. He graduated High school at the age of 15, and with an IQ of 167, 16 year old Ted enrolled into Harvard school on a scholarship.

After 2 years as a teacher in Berkeley University of California, he moved to a small town and build a cabin in the woods with no running water or electricity. Ted felt connected to nature, and living off the grid is where he found peace. He detested technology and believed humanity was progressing in the wrong way. To stop those kind of developments he began to send bombs in the mail to people and companies (including airlines) that to him, represented the peak of the evil industry. In the span of 17 years, he sent out 16 bombs, injuring 23 people, and killing 3 more. He later sent a manifesto to the media called "Industrial Society and It's Future", claiming that industrial society and technological developments are destroying human freedom. With The manifesto came a threat to publish it immediately, although publishing it is what eventually led to his arrest due to his own brother recognizing the language he used in his article.

In the Netflix show Manhunt , the actor Paul Bettany is able to bring out Ted's inner conflict beautifully. He gently welcomes us into his inner world and fear of modern day society. Ted might be the least violent serial killer on this list, having never met his victims face to face, and Bettany delivers that complexity in the best way possible.

Gypsy Rose Blanchard

The story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard is one of the most horrific ones that you will hear, and one can question if she belongs in this list, alongside gruesome notorious killers. Although she had killed her mother and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, the details of her story might make you cringe so much, you won't help yourself but feeling sorry for her. Due to the fantastic performance of Joey King in the Hulu show 'The Act', she belongs in this list.

Gypsy Rose Blanchard grew up with her mother, Dee-Dee Blanchard, who made numerous claims about Gypsy's health since she was only a baby, which resulted in a series of diagnoses and medical interventions. However, Gypsy wasn't actually unwell: Her mother had been lying about her symptoms, making her to be the poor sick child that everyone wanted only the best for. Dee-Dee wanted to be a caretaker, so she feigned and induced illness in her daughter. Dee-Dee's lies would result in the diagnosis of her daughter with leukemia, muscular dystrophy, learning disabilities and multiple others. Gypsy, being bound to a wheelchair since she was 5, was the subject of a mental and physical abuse from her mother for years. Dee-Dee would heavily sedate her with meds everyday, would beat her and chain her to her bed. Gypsy later said she even wasn't sure about her own date of birth.

The mother-daughter duo were local celebrities due to Gypsy's multiple illnesses, which grabbed the attention of local hospitals, newspapers, and charity organizations, and brought some cash to Dee Dee's pocket. The truth about Gypsy and her mother only came out after Gypsy arranged for her online boyfriend to murder Dee-Dee in 2015. Police arrived after a strange post on Dee-Dee's Facebook was noted, saying "That b***h is dead", and the two were caught a few hours later.

The Hulu TV series 'The Act' shows the viewer Gypsy's the horror reality pretty well, and the star Joey King who plays Gypsy definitely stole the show. The two look extremely similar, and King magically copies Gypsy's physical mannerism such as her shoulder tension, her fragility, and her signature high pitched cartoon-like voice. Although some might argue that it is an "easier" job to portray a girl who murdered her mother only to escape, there is no doubt that taking a role like that and delivering it with such tremendous accuracy and compassion is something worth noting.


That's it for today story time kids, I hope this was an interesting read for you! This story was inspired by the one and only Bailey Sarian and her murder mystery videos on YouTube, where she's diving in depth into the lives of all the killers in this list.

Check her out here

Another memorable mention is Simon Whistler and the YouTube channel Biographics, that his videos helped me a lot in researching these criminals, and in passing the time on the subway or long showers.

Check him out here

Thank you for reading, stay save out there.

movie review

About the author

Gypsy Play

Here is my story... Just sharing thoughts and putting myself out there. Thanks for joining along as I get over my imposter syndrome <3

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