Thrill killing

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A thrill killing is premeditated or random murder that is motivated by the sheer excitement of the act.[1] While there have been attempts to categorize multiple murders, such as identifying "thrill killing" as a type of "hedonistic mass killing",[2] actual details of events frequently overlap category definitions making attempts at such distinctions problematic.[3]

Those identified as thrill killers are typically young males, but other profile characteristics may vary, according to Jack Levin, director of the Brudnick Center on Conflict and Violence at Northeastern University. The major common denominator with those who commit thrill killings is that they usually feel inadequate and are driven by a need to feel powerful. "To a certain extent, they [thrill killers] may make their victims suffer so that they can feel good," said Levin. "Sadism is fairly common in thrill killings. The killer might torture, degrade, or rape his victim before he takes his or her life."[4] They frequently have an "ideal victim type" who has certain physical characteristics.[1][5]

Thrill killers have been frequently romanticized in films.[6] A British tabloid headline inspired the name of the band My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b MacKenzie, Doris Layton; O'Neill, Lauren; Povitsky, Wendy; Summer Acevedo (2010-05-28). Different Crimes, Different Criminals: Understanding, Treating and Preventing Criminal Behavior. Routledge. pp. 217–. ISBN 9781437755428. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  2. ^ Vronsky, Peter (2004-10-05). Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters. Penguin Publishing Group. pp. 196–. ISBN 9781101204627. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  3. ^ Fox, James Alan; Levin, Jack (2005). Extreme Killing: Understanding Serial and Mass Murder. Sage Publications. pp. 51–. ISBN 9780761988571. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  4. ^ Robinson, Bryan (March 18, 2004). "What drives thrill killings". ABC News.
  5. ^ Holmes, Ronald M.; Holmes, Stephen T. (2009-07-21). Serial Murder. SAGE Publications. pp. 123–. ISBN 9781412974424. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  6. ^ Mayo, Mike (2008-02-01). American Murder: Criminals, Crimes, and the Media. Visible Ink Press. pp. 185–. ISBN 9781578592562. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  7. ^ Neil Strauss (September 1993). "Review: 13 Above the Night". Spin: 121–122.