This chapter discusses the images and stereotypes that permeate contemporary depictions of serial murder. The appeal of serial murder stories is not difficult to understand. The serial murder theme does owe some of its success to its sexual and sensationalistic content, but it also reflects ideas and mythological images that long predate the recognition of the phenomenon of multiple homicides. It might be argued that the killers were indeed sadistic, the crimes did involve rape and mutilation, and the women victims might have been lovely or beautiful; but this does not entirely explain why these themes are so strongly emphasized. Modern serial killers "are beasts of prey, in the most precise sense. They stalk through modern cities like a hungry tiger, completely indifferent to the fear and suffering of their victims". The cultural imagery applied to serial killers from the late 1970s had decisively shifted toward portrayals of monsters, savage animalistic beings at war with society.