Popular Culture: Images of the Serial Killer
DOI link for Popular Culture: Images of the Serial Killer
Popular Culture: Images of the Serial Killer book
This chapter traces the development of the cultural images, and especially the steady shift away from the portrayal of multiple killers as creatures of individual psychopathology, and toward more moralistic and even supernatural interpretations of terrifying and dehumanized monsters. It is difficult to know whether the bureaucratic law enforcement attitudes toward serial murder preceded or followed changes in popular culture, and whether the specific image of the "monster" developed in the media before it was popularized by police agencies. The horror genre was resuscitated by the work of author like Stephen King and Peter Straub, who employed both secular and supernatural themes, and who often made use of extreme and violent images. The popular culture depictions of the problem placed massive emphasis on the heroic role of the mind-hunters, rather than the ordinary police officers and detectives from local agencies, who are virtually always responsible when serial killers are apprehended.