Sometimes we’re in the mood for some high body count slashers with stylized deaths from beginning to end with a splattering of gore thrown in for good measure! But other times, you’re looking for something more chilling. Maybe you’re introducing your young kids to some classic horror, or watching some horror movies with your parents over the holiday.

Whatever the reason, if you’re looking for some good clean killers that keep the kills low but the terror high, here’s a list of 10 Killer Who Didn’t Need to Spree for Suspense!


10. Joyride (2001)

This film stars the late Paul Walker (Tammy and The T-Rex) and Steve Zahn (War for the Planet of the Apes) as brothers on a road trip across the country. The trouble starts when they prank a trucker over the CB radio in the car. It quickly becomes apparent that this trucker is not the type to be messed with when he violently attacks a man he believed was them. What ensues is a dangerous hunt that spans state lines. Although we don’t see many kills, the horror comes from what we don’t see and the lengths that the psychopath behind the sixteen-wheeler will go to terrorize the brothers.

Kill Count: 1


9. Don’t Breathe (2016)

Speaking of messing with the wrong person, Don’t Breathe stars Jane Levy (Evil Dead) as a burglar who along with her boyfriend and his friend break into a blind man’s home, played by Stephen Lang (VFW). These burglars thing they are in for an easy score, but things go wrong fast when they realize they are dealing with a grizzled war veteran with a grudge. The film is claustrophobic and tense as the blind man hunts the kids throughout his own home. For such a contained film, the terror level is very high.

Kill Count: 2


8. Night of the Hunter (1955)

Robert Mitchum (The Night of the Hunter, 1955)

This classic film would possibly be considered more of a thriller, but despite being from 1955 the terror level is very high. Hollywood legends Robert Mitchum (Scrooged) and Shelley Winters (Lolita) star with Mitchum playing a religious serial killer who learns of a wealthy widow from his cellmate in prison. Upon his release, he sets out to seduce the widow and make off with the wealth, but his plans are complicated with he meets her two kids. Night of the Hunter intensifies as the plot progresses and Mitchum’s performance is phenomenal.

Kill Count: 1


7. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Stanley Kubrick’s acclaimed film about a gang of youths who perform “ultraviolence” in a futuristic dystopian Britain. In typical Kubrick fashion, the film reveals more on each subsequent watch. It’s a lot to unpack, but the film stars Malcolm McDowell (Halloween) as Alex, the leader of the gang. After one of their “ultraviolent” evenings goes too far, Alex is thrown in prison where he voluneers for an experimental “rehabilitation” that has some unintended side effects. The terror here comes from the outrageous actions of these gangs and the torturous treatment Alex receives.

Kill Count: 1


6. Misery (1990)

Another horror staple, this Stephen King adaptation follows author Paul Sheldon, played by James Caan (Elf), who after a violent car accident is “rescued” by Annie Wilkes played by Kathy Bates (American Horror Story) in one of her best roles. Annie, it turns out, is Sheldon’s “biggest fan,” and her overprotectiveness becomes suspect when she refuses to let Sheldon leave. Her psychopathy is revealed throughout the film and the focus becomes Sheldon’s fight for survival. Although Annie is revealed to have a dark past, we’re focusing on “on-screen kills” here which lands this film a spot!

Kill Count: 2


5. P2 (2007)

This film is a yearly watch for me around this time of year. It takes place in an office parking garage on Christmas eve where a young professional, Angela, played by Rachel Nichols (The Amityville Horror) becomes the obsession of the garage parking attendant played by Wes Bentley (American Beauty). His idea of a perfect date is taking her hostage and taking revenge on a coworker that tried to sexually assault her. He, along with his dog, proceeds to terrorize Angela and hunt her throughout the parking garage. This guy really has his priorities mixed up but at least his kill count is low!

Kill Count: 1


4. ATM (2012)

Keeping with the Cold-Blooded Killers theme we’ve got going on the site this month, ATM stars Josh Peck (Red Dawn), Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker), and Alice Eve (Before We Go) as three coworkers after an awkward holiday work party who make a stop at an ATM booth before getting a late-night meal. The mood of the evening takes a turn for the worse, though, when they notice a hooded figure standing outside the booth.. menacingly! As they try to figure out a way to get past the man he quickly kills a bystander establishing his threat level to the group. From this point on stakes climb higher and higher until the group must act. This one is a great New Year’s Eve watch!

Kill Count: 3


3. The Strangers (2008)

One of the films that kicked off a slew of home invasion films, The Strangers takes the terror to a different level. Starring Liv Tyler (Armageddon) and Scott Speedman (Underworld) as a couple who stay at a family cabin in the middle of the woods. The night goes from bad to worse when they are harassed by three strangers who seem to have no motive other than boredom. Because we only follow two of the main characters the kill count stays pretty low, but the terror is intense nonetheless.

Kill Count: 2


2. Cape Fear (1991)

Another invasion of personal space, this 1991 remake starring Robert De Niro (Taxi Driver), Nick Nolte (Affliction), Jessica Lange (American Horror Story), and Juliette Lewis (From Dusk Till Dawn) really plays on the theme of stranger danger. When Max Cady, played by De Niro, is released from prison, he seeks out the prosecutor that put him there and subsequently begins to terrorize his family taking a special interest in his teenage daughter played by Lewis. His tenacity and patience makes Cady a true psychopath and the lengths to which he goes to harass and terrorize the family are truly terrifying.

Kill Count: 3 (and 1 dog!)


1. Psycho (1960)

norman bates

There isn’t much to say about this horror classic but if anyone fits the bill of Cold-Blooded Killer it’s definitely Norman Bates. Hitchcock’s classic slasher starring Anthony Perkins (Friendly Persuasion) as Norman Bates keeps the kills to a minimum but the tension to a maximum, but you can’t really expect anything else from the master of suspense. Though Bates has a confirmed body count of 11 due to sequels, we are focused only on the ones we see here in the original.

Kill Count: 2


These killers kept the count low but you probably know some that we missed. Tell us what you think over on Twitter, in the Nightmare on Film Street Subreddit, and on Facebook in the Horror Movie Fiend Club!