Humanity has been fascinated by murder ever since Cain killed Abel, and the movies have been happy to oblige this fascination. It might be hard for you to find a movie that ISN'T about murder in one way or another, but here are six movies that place a particular focus on the subject. You didn't need to get any sleep for a while anyway, right?

"Dial M for Murder"

Alfred Hitchcock rarely made a movie that didn't have a murder as the central plot device, but here's a movie with "murder" right there in the title. Ray Milland plays a chillingly cunning husband to Grace Kelly, whom he plans to have killed in such a way that leaves him completely above suspicion. The murder goes bad, though, and Kelly ends up dispatching her attacker with a pair of scissors. The movie twists and turns from there, making it one of the most gripping thrillers Hitchcock ever made.


"Crimes and Misdemeanors"

Woody Allen is another filmmaker who has long been fascinated by murder (although this isn't as obvious as with Hitchcock). His best film on the subject is almost certainly "Crimes and Misdemeanors," a movie cut in two: Martin Landau is a wealthy doctor who turns to murder, and Woody Allen is a writer who struggles balancing creativity with commerce (he's the "misdemeanor" of the title, and the more comedic role in the film). Landau's decision to murder his mistress after she becomes a problem is chilling - and the fact that he gets away with it even more so.


"The Big Sleep"

Another film with a reference to murder right in the title, Howard Hawks' noir classic might haunt your dreams simply because the plot is so complex. There are more murders here than you can shake a .45 at, and even the writer of the novel Raymond Chandler admitted he had no idea who was guilty of at least one of them. Maybe you could figure it out, though.


"Deep Red"

Dario Argento is famous for his horror movies about stylish murders, and this is probably his most brutal film. He strove to give audiences murder sequences they could really "feel," so instead of showing people simply being shot or stabbed, he shows them being killed in ways that might seem more familiar to most people in the audience: One victim has his face smashed into a hard counter several times, and another is plunged into a scalding hot bathtub and poached to death. Ouch, right?



Murder is a pretty sickening concept, but it becomes extra-queasy when it's the result of one stupid man doing something very stupid, as in "Fargo." That stupid man is William H. Macy, who pays two criminals to kidnap his wife so they can split the ransom money from her rich father. Since this is a Coen brothers film, it all goes terribly wrong, and two people end up murdered. The killings spiral out from there, and there's no telling who will be next.


"The Player"

Robert Altman didn't generally do thrillers, and when he did they were usually funny rather than nightmarish. "The Player" is no different, and yet it remains a chilling look at the way that some people are so lucky they can literally get away with murder. Tim Robbins is just such a guy, a smarmy studio executive who's so slick it's a wonder he was ever worried about getting caught in the first place. Not even a detective played by Whoopi Goldberg can catch him!