Portrait of a serial killer: intertextuality and gender in the portrait film

Karen Boyle, Jenny Reburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


This article presents a feminist analysis of the serial killer portrait film—a cycle of contemporary low-budget films featuring serial killer protagonists. Although unusual within serial killer cinema for their frustration of identification and suspense, portrait films remain locked into wider popular discourses around serial murder, particularly in their intertextual aspects. In the portrait film, this results in a tautological construction of the serial killer (he kills because he is a killer, he is a killer because he kills) that places him not only beyond understanding but also outside society and, so, unconnected to normative constructions of masculinity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-207
Number of pages16
JournalFeminist Media Studies
Issue number2
Early online date8 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2015


  • Peter Sutcliffe
  • gender
  • genre
  • serial killer cinema
  • intertextuality


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