Serial Killers in Alfred Hitchcock's Films

Uncle Charlie: "Are they? Are they, Charlie? Are they human or are they fat wheezing animals, hmm? And what happens to animals when they get too fat and too old?" (Shadow of a Doubt)



Bob Rusk (Barry Foster), the rapist serial killer in Frenzy.

The serial killer was not a favourite motif for Alfred Hitchcock – quantitatively speaking – but the films in which they occur are all remarkable.

Serial Killers in Hitchcock Movies

The Lodger

The Avenger is serial killer who targets young blonde women.

Shadow of a Doubt

Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten) is a serial killer known as the "Merry Widow Murderer". He seduces, murders and robs wealthy widows.


When his mother found a lover, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) murdered both of them. He then stole his mother's corpse and preserved the body. He takes her identity and acts, talks, and dresses as she would. In the final scene, the sheriff mentions the unsolved disappearances of two other young girls.


Bob Rusk (Barry Foster) is a fruit merchant who rapes and strangles women.



Strangulation in Hitchcock films

The Lodger, 1926/1927

Number Seventeen, 1931/1932

The bum is "strangled" in the bathroom by Sheldrake

Secret Agent, 1935/1936

The organ player in Langenthal is strangled.

Sabotage, 1936

The film the boy soon to be bombed is carrying is "Bartholomew the Strangler"

Young and Innocent, 1937/1938

Christine (Pamela Carme) is strangled with a rain coat belt.

The Lady Vanishes, 1937/1938

Jamaica Inn, 1938/1939

The thiefs try to hang Jem suspecting him of stealing from the goods

Shadow of a Doubt, 1942/1943

Notorious 1945-46/1946

Rope 1948

David is killed with a rope.

Stage Fright, 1949/1950

The murderer (Jonathan) almost succeeds in strangling Eve Gill in the theatre.

Strangers on a Train, 1950/1951

Marion is strangled by Bruno.

Dial M for Murder, 1953/1954

Margo is almost strangled during the murder attempt.

Rear Window 1953/1954

Thorwald tries to strangle Jeff when they meet.

The Man Who Knew Too Much 1956

Torn Curtain, 1965-66/1966

Frenzy, 1971/1972

The rapist serial killer uses a necktie.




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