The other night at a dinner party, one of my friends asked why it is we’re all so fascinated with serial killers. After all, they’re evil. They’re twisted. They’re not anyone we would or should admire. We clearly are fascinated, however.. If there were as many serial killers out there as there are in books, on TV and in the movies, I don’t there would be many of us left.
I really didn’t have a ready answer as to why we’re so fascinated. There are a lot of theories about our fascination with serial killers. A lot of people refer to them as the rock stars of the homicide world and I suppose they do get a lot of news and media coverage, but I don’t think that’s it. I think they’re the rock stars because they fascinate us, not the other way around.
I read a few articles that posited a case that we are jealous of serial killers, of the boldness of their actions, of their willingness to do what we only think about doing. This worried a whole more about the people writing those articles than it did even about serial killers. Jealous? I don’t think so. Revolted by? More likely.
I think what fascinates me about serial killers is how easily they seem to live among us. The idea that such incredible evil might be lurking underneath the too polite exterior of the guy in the house down the street is both terrifying and mesmerizing. We all know the cliché. He was so quiet. He kept to himself. I have neighbors like that. Are there bodies in their basements?
As an author, I always want to understand people’s hidden lives. I don’t think there’s too much more hidden than the inner life of a serial killer. What is it about serial killers that fascinates you?