Zodiac and the 9 best real life serial killer movies

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - OCTOBER 03: Jake Gyllenhaal attends the 'Stronger' premiere at the 13th Zurich Film Festival on October 3, 2017 in Zurich, Switzerland. The Zurich Film Festival 2017 will take place from September 28 until October 8. (Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images)
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - OCTOBER 03: Jake Gyllenhaal attends the 'Stronger' premiere at the 13th Zurich Film Festival on October 3, 2017 in Zurich, Switzerland. The Zurich Film Festival 2017 will take place from September 28 until October 8. (Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images) /
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3. Badlands

The crimes of Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate weren’t like those of other, more infamous killer couples such as Fred and Rose West or Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. Fugate appeared to have no hand in any of the murders and Starkweather was nothing but a dim-witted hothead unable to think further than one day in the future.

Starkweather (changed to Kit Carruthers in the film) was 19-years-old when he killed 11 people between December 1957 and January 1958, and for ten of those crimes, he was accompanied by his 14-year-old girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate (changed to Holly Sargis in the film). The couple met in 1956 and it was two years later on January 21, 1958, when Starkweather murdered Fugate’s entire family.

It’s unclear whether Fugate was a hostage or an accomplice. She denied having killed anyone and allegedly ran into the arms of a police deputy that arrived on the scene at one of their crimes. Once caught, Starkweather was executed and Fugate served 17 years in prison, getting released in 1976.

The film Badlands, written and directed by Terrence Malick, changes a lot about the story, aside from their names. Starring Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek, it makes the girlfriend more of a willing accomplice and her hot-headed lover a dark Romeo-ish type of character. But even with all the changes, Badlands perfectly captures the cold cruelty of Starkweather and the hopeless love story he played a part in.

In addition to Badlands, the Starkweather-Fugate spree inspired the films The Sadist (1963), Kalifornia (1993), Natural Born Killers (1994) and The Frighteners (1996).