VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
WRITTEN BY: George Pacheco
These shocking interviews will leave you shaken and disturbed. For this list, we'll be ranking the instances where accused murderers chilled our bones with statements or body language during interviews. Our countdown includes John Wayne Gacy, Charles Manson, Aileen Wuornos, and more!
Top 10 Disturbing Interviews with Killers
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Disturbing Interviews with Killers.
For this list, we’ll be ranking the instances where accused murderers chilled our bones with statements or body language during interviews.
Did any of these moments freak you out? Let us know in the comments!
#10: John Wayne Gacy
The recent Netflix documentary, “The John Wayne Gacy Tapes,” did a lot to point out the notorious serial killer’s sociopathic tendencies when it came to shifting blame for his accused crimes. This wasn’t the first time evidence to that end has come out, however, as documented by this piece from CBS News 2 Chicago, back in 1992. Interviewer Walter Jacobson doesn’t need to do much talking in his encounter with Gacy, as it quickly becomes clear that the former “Pogo the Clown” is trying his best to present alibi after alibi for his innocence. Gacy himself is composed for the most part, although there is a moment where he demonstrates his infamous “rope trick” with a shoelace that echoes the methodology of his horrible crimes.
#9: Ted Bundy
Time can change many things about a person, including how they behave while being interviewed. The Ted Bundy featured in a 1977 jailhouse interview from KUTV News appears more in line with the suave-yet-cold-blooded reputation Bundy had amongst other notorious serial killers. He smiles a lot during the piece, and possesses body language that appears relaxed and almost happy. Bundy keeps eye contact with his interviewer throughout most of their conversation, and it’s easy to become lulled into a false sense of security… which was exactly Ted’s intention. Fast forward to the night before his execution, and we see a fearful and pensive Ted Bundy, a man seeking to shift blame for his crimes during his interview with Christian conservative evangelist James Dobson.
#8: Richard Ramirez
The Night Stalker, Richard Ramirez, may be one of the most frightening serial killers of all time, not only due to the brutality of his crimes, but also the projected aura of what many perceive to be, “pure evil.” It’s easy to see why during some of Ramirez’s more notable interviews over the years, including one conducted with author Mike Watkiss. Richard’s somewhat tense responses to Watkiss’ questioning imply a coiled rage, an anger that’s also exemplified by The Night Stalker’s breathing as he seems to become annoyed with Watkiss. Ramirez is comparatively more relaxed during a piece with “Inside Edition,” although that interview also hammers home The Night Stalker’s obsession with Satanism, evil and the occult.
#7: Edmund Kemper
There’s something truly bone-chilling about the matter-of-fact way in which The Co-Ed Killer, Edmund Kemper, describes his past in the 1981 documentary, “The Killing of America.” Kemper’s impressive intellect and well-spoken nature belie the brutality of a life that committed its first murder at the age of fifteen. The killer even makes a self-referential joke to his modus operandi of picking up hitchhikers by putting on a pair of glasses, and asking the camera whether they would get into a car with him. Kemper’s mental state comes across as perpetually active, like a bubbling pot of water about to boil over, while the documentary's exploitative narration pushes the creep factor of this one over the top.
#6: Jeffrey Dahmer
There’s no barely-repressed rage within the demeanor of Jeffrey Dahmer as he discusses his history with interviewer Stone Phillips. Nor are there aren’t any wild, headline-grabbing theatrics. Instead, Dahmer’s quiet and soft-spoken recounting of his horrible crimes lends the piece that much more power. There’s the power of shock as he discusses the failed attempts at creating “living zombies” with the remains of his victims. There’s also the power of how Dahmer’s moments of shocking violence are undercut by the killer’s regret for the decisions he made, and the futility of what seemed to be a date with infamy and destiny.
#5: Gary Ridgway
Gary Ridgway, a.k.a. The Green River Killer was one of the most prolific of all American serial murderers. Ridgway was also perhaps one of the most unrepentant, a sentiment that’s placed front and center during any of his interviews. Take, for example, one he did with FBI psychopathy profiler Mary Ellen O’Toole, where he very calmly describes how he would gain the trust of his victims. O’Toole manages to get Ridgway talking in-depth about his past, his upbringing, and the dozens of victims attributed to The Green River Killer’s rampage.
#4: Charles Manson
There’s been a wealth of interview footage of Charles Manson released over the years, much of which can be used as evidence for the man’s often-unhinged persona. And there’s a lot of that here from this 1987 interview with “Today” correspondent Heidi Schulman. However, there’s also this intent to shatter the myth of Manson as a leader, and this is aided by the visual of Manson’s scattershot presence during the interview. Although the occasionally violent outbursts by Manson have been well-documented in this piece, it’s the more soft-spoken soundbites that reveal more about the man’s own admitted failures and shortcomings.
#3: Ottis Toole
This interview with Ottis Toole is the stuff of nightmares. There are a lot of reasons for this, too, not the least of which is Toole’s explosive bursts of laughter, and absolutely chilling smile. Additionally, there’s the explicit nature of how Toole describes his past crimes, and how the former associate of fellow killer Henry Lee Lucas seems to easily disassociate the value of human life. The grainy and blown-out A/V quality of this interview footage only seems to add to the feeling of grime and filth left over by Toole’s gleeful accounts and delivery.
#2: Issei Sagawa
Unlike the majority of our other entries, Issei Sagawa isn’t technically a serial killer. However, this interview footage from Vice’s “Interview with a Cannibal” is too disturbing NOT to make our list. Sagawa’s history of cannibalism, bestiality, and murder is detailed in the documentary, while Issei himself describes the premeditated shooting and devouring of his classmate Renée Hartevelt (hrrrenee harta-felt) while he living and studying in France. Sagawa’s obsessions are also detailed in the piece, as well as the legal loopholes that allowed the killer to escape prison time for his actions. Sagawa’s quiet and fragile demeanor undercuts his words, all spoken in equally hushed and inoffensive tones. It’s a frankly horrifying and unbelievable story.
#1: Aileen Wuornos
This interview with Aileen Wuornos on the eve of her execution is disturbing for a number of reasons. For starters, there are the crimes for which Wuornos was convicted, but there are also the stories Aileen tells about her treatment in prison. Her accusations of sonic torment and food tampering speak to her paranoia and mental state during this time, a state that gradually reaches a fever pitch during the interview. Wuornos’ face as she directly addresses the camera is chilling, and the audience can only stare back into her eyes as the condemned killer accuses society of “railroading” and “sabotage.”