1) Patrick Bateman, American Psycho
Some performances just never leave you, and Bale's here is one. A complex, Chauvinist, Homophobic, arrogant monster. Bateman is essentially demonised masculinity at its worst. Saying American Psycho is a feminist statement may be a bit of a stretch, but the argument is there to be made.
2) John Doe, Se7en
With about 8 minutes of screen-time, Spacey creates what may well be the most chilling character ever committed to cinema. The genius move was to do religious mania so subtlely and thus creating one of the great multiple murderers cinema has to offer.
3) Norman Bates, Psycho
Not the oldest serial killer on the list, but pretty much the benchmark for all serial killers post 1960, which is an awful lot. Seeing the boy next door become the cross-dressing killer we all know and love is as scary now as it was then. There would be no Brian De Palma without this guy. Also Anthony Perkins is the bomb and deserved a better career.
4) Rev. Harry Powell, Night of the Hunter
One of the great unappreciated actors, Robert Mitchum excels in what to me is his finest role in this tremendously original and to this day frightening movie. A great movie for a great serial killer.
5) Charlie Meadows, Barton Fink
An unusual choice granted, but Meadows final scene is so astounding that he earns his place on this list. All those Roseanne fans will never look at John Goodman again in the same way, such is the ferocity and power of his performance here. Whilst most characters on this list do the feeble creep thing, Goodman goes the other way to memorable effect .
6) Billy Loomis and Stu Macher, Scream
Just for sheer insanity, these ultimately inept but nonetheless impactful killing duo make the cut. Ulrich's Billy is the better of the two, lending a maturity and chilling sheen to nicely counter-act Matthew Lillard's mugging nutjob.
7) The Scorpio Killer, Dirty Harry
If not the most despicable character you've ever seen, he's most definately up there. This movie isn't the best thing you'll ever see, but Andrew Robinson's nutter and Eastwood's iconicism give it its' longevity
8) Hans Beckert, M
Before Peter Lorre went into caricature, he was a frightening bastard. None more so then as the child molesting/murdering Killer Hans Beckert. A very thoughtful movie, with a lot of characters but Lorre's will be the only one to stay with you.
9) Henry, Portrait of a serial killer
Does exactly what it says on the tin. Michael Rooker's white trash killer's graphically violent exploits are stuff of home video legend. A better film then you think it will be though, helped greatly by Rooker's performance.
10) Mark Lewis, Peeping Tom
The film that destroyed Michael Powell. The puritanical British press didn't much appreciate the twisted nature of this film, but in time it has had its victory. The killer himself is often over-looked for the overall movie, but he creeps it up with the best of them.