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The Science of Serial Killers: The Truth Behind Ted Bundy, Lizzie Borden, Jack the Ripper, and Other Notorious Murderers of Cinematic Legend by Meg Hafdahl and Kelly Florence Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Authors and podcast co-hosts Meg Hafdahl and Kelly Florence take readers on a twisted and horrifying journey into the inspirations and sciences behind the true monsters of some of Hollywood’s most iconic horror films in their book, “The Science of Serial Killers: The Truth Behind Ted Bundy, Lizzie Borden, Jack the Ripper, and Other Notorious Murderers of Cinematic Legend”.


The Synopsis

Discover the real-life inspirations behind history’s most infamous serial killers: John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, and so many more.

Gothic media moguls Kelly Florence and Meg Hafdahl, authors of The Science of Monsters, The Science of Women in Horror, and The Science of Stephen King, and co-hosts of the Horror Rewind podcast called “the best horror film podcast out there” by Film Daddy, present a guide to the serial killers who inspired the movies and media we all know and love. Delve into the brutal truth behind horror’s secret: many monsters portrayed on the silver screen are based on true murderers. Uncover the truth behind the real monsters of horror, answering such questions as: 

What is the science behind serial killers’ motivations like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy? 

How did detectives discover the identities of criminals like the Boston Strangler and the BTK Strangler?

Has science made it possible to unmask Jack the Ripper and the Zodiac Killer? 

What is the science behind female versus male serial killers? 

Through interviews, film analysis, and bone-chilling discoveries, join Kelly and Meg as they learn about the horrors of true crime through the decades. 

The Review

I absolutely loved this read. As someone who has been fascinated with true crime and in particular the psychology behind the few individual criminals who can be classified as “serial killers”, and as a big-time fan of horror films and books, I was instantly drawn to the authors and their work. The amount of detailed research and history each put into these killers and crimes, and yet were able to craft it into a concise and very readable book, was astounding to read. 

What really stood out though was the author’s work to identify the fascination and inspiration these true-life killers had on some of the most iconic horror films of our era. From Jack the Ripper’s inspiration for the film From Hell to the murders of the DeFeo family that inspired the Amityville Horror film series, both authors did such an amazing job of breaking down each film and project that these killers were responsible for and showcased how the intricate details of their crimes lead to some of cinema’s darkest and most memorable horror moments. 

The Verdict

Haunting, visceral, and engaging, authors Meg Hafdahl and Kelly Florence’s “The Science of Serial Killers: The Truth Behind Ted Bundy, Lizzie Borden, Jack the Ripper, and Other Notorious Murderers of Cinematic Legend” is must-read nonfiction read! The in-depth analysis of both film and true crime will have horror fans enthralled by the information the authors share. With the wide array of different criminals, from the prolific to the under-the-radar crimes that will absolutely shock you, this is one collection readers won’t want to miss. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Authors

About Meg Hafdahl: 

Bram Stoker Award nominated Meg Hafdahl is the creator of numerous stories and books. Her fiction has appeared in anthologies such as Eve’s Requiem: Tales of Women, Mystery and Horror and Eclectically Criminal. Her work has been produced for audio by The Wicked Library and The Lift, and she is the author of three popular short story collections including Twisted Reveries: Thirteen Tales of the Macabre. Meg is also the author of the three novels; The Darkest Hunger, Daughters of Darkness, and Her Dark Inheritance called “an intricate tale of betrayal, murder, and small town intrigue” by Horror Addicts and “every bit as page turning as any King novel” by RW Magazine. Meg, also the co-host of the podcast Horror Rewind and co-author of The Science of Monsters, The Science of Women in Horror, The Science of Stephen King, The Science of Serial Killers, and the upcoming The Science of Witchcraft lives in the snowy bluffs of Minnesota. 


About Kelly Florence: 

Kelly Florence teaches communication at Lake Superior College in Duluth, MN and is the creator of the Be a Better Communicator podcast. She received her BA in theatre from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and her MA in communicating arts from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. She has directed, produced, choreographed and stage managed for dozens of productions in Minnesota including Carrie The Musical through Rubber Chicken Theatre and Treasure Island for Wise Fool Theater. She is passionate about female representation in all media and particularly the horror genre.