Source: Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer on Netflix

Topics | Subjects | Serial Killers | Tasks & exercises

Tasks & exercises

Monster or victim?


Click on the PDF-icon to download the Shirley Lynn Scott text.

Time perspective: 40 minutes
Working method: Individual work, pair-work or group work
Product: A wanted poster

The American writer and producer Shirley Lynn Scott discusses the nature of the serial killer in her text Monster or Victim? Furthermore, she raises the question whether the serial killer is, as the title implies, the monster or the victim. Read the text and create a Wanted-poster for the stereotypical serial killer based on the information presented in the text. You might be inspired by the Wanted poster for the Zodiac Killer.

Mark Kozelek - You Missed My Heart


Click on the PDF-icon to download the lyrics.

Time perspective: 40 minutes
Working method: Individual work, pair-work or group work
Product: A written analysis of a song

Analyse Mark Kozelek's You Missed My Heart using poetry analysis. You might also choose to answer the questions below instead.

1. Give a brief summary of the song. What happens in the song?
2. Comment on the form and structure of the song.
3. Characterise the narrator of the song. Does he have any motive for murdering?
4. At times, the text becomes more abstract. What physical and mental settings are present in the text?
5. The word missed is used as a zeugma. What different meanings does the word have?
6. The last verse features a sort of circular narrative. How so?

James H. Fallon's Ted Talk

Time perspective: 20 minutes
Working method: Individual work
Product: A theoretical overview, notes etc.

The video in the following task is a TED-Talk by American neuroscientist James H. Fallon. Watch the video and consider Fallon's use of the forms of appeal as well as his personal experiences. Your answer is not necessarily to be reviewed, but you must write down some of your reflections on the subject, and you must be prepared to share them in class or smaller groups.


Time perspective: 3 lessons
Working method: Group work
Product: 10-15 minute presentation
Aims of the exercise: Communication, research and analysis


These are instructions for an approximately three-lesson student-driven project on the subject of serial killers. In groups you are to prepare a presentation on a serial killer of your own choice. Your presentation must be at least 10-15 minutes long.


Research: Conduct a thorough research of your serial killer and remember to use as credible sources as possible and to cite the sources.

A problem formulation: You must create a problem formulation that is based on Bloom's taxonomy. Your problem formulation must seek to incorporate themes and terms related to the general subject such as good vs. evil/monster or victim, neuroscience, psychological motives, childhood trauma/abuse, cooling off period etc.

Presentation: The presentation must be at least 10-15 minutes long including video sequences, intros, breaks etc. and must of course be presented in English. All group members must participate verbally in the presentation.

Log book: After each lesson you must update a Google docs (please forward it to mikkelrosendal1988@gmail.com) that details your work during the lesson. It does not have to be thorough. Notes, scribbles, lists, ideas etc. are more than welcome.

Cue-cards: Try to bring printed or written cue-cards for your presentation, instead of your computers.

Dear Sheila

Time perspective: 40 minutes
Working method: Group work
Product: Applying theory to practice.

Description: This is a 16-minute podcast produced by Phoebe Judge and Criminal. Working as a reporter for a TV station in New Hampshire, Kevin Flynn was covering the capture and arrest of a female serial killer named Sheila LaBarre. As he grew more and more obsessed with LaBarre’s story, Flynn decided to write her a letter. She wrote back. Their correspondence became flirtatious, and eventually he went to visit her in person.

Task: You must conduct a group discussion (and supply notes) in which you discuss the following subjects:

How does the typical characteristics of a serial killer fit Sheila Labarre? Some of the characteristics are directly presented in the podcast, but for other things you might have to do a bit of research on Labarre and her crimes. Her Wikipedia page provides a quick overview.

Why do you think people, such as Kevin Flynn in this episode, becomes fascinated by serial killers?

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Song of Joy


Click on the PDF-icon to download the lyrics.

Time perspective: 40 minutes
Working method: Group work
Product: An analysis of a song.

Description: Song of Joy is a song by Australian artist Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds The song is taken from the record Murder Ballads (1996), which feature 65 victims dying on 10 songs.

Task: Listen to Song of Joy and analyse the song focusing on some of the concepts from poetry and song analysis. You must write down your analysis or at least keywords for your analysis, so that you are able to talk about the song and the analysis in class.

The song itself is also a bit of a riddle. Can you figure out who the murderer is?


Time perspective: 60 minutes
Working method: Group work
Product: A written analysis of parts of the film Se7en.

Instructions: There are six different tasks in this assignment, placed at different stations. You have ten-fifteen minutes for each task and you must write down your answer. After fifteen minutes you move on to the next task.

The Night Stalker


Click on the PDF-icon to download the excerpt from The Night Stalker.

Time perspective: 30-40 minutes
Working method: Group work
Product: A written answer to the questions.

Instructions: You must read the excerpt, chapter one, of the American writer Philip Carlo's novel The Night Stalker - The life and crimes of Richard Ramirez from 1996, and afterwards answer the questions below.


1. Give a brief summary of the text.

2. This is, as previously mentioned, an excerpt of a novel called The Night Stalker about the American serial killer Richard Ramirez. Do a quick research of Richard Ramirez and his murders.

3. Creative non-fiction (also called faction) is a mixture between fiction and non-fiction. Which elements of the text are non-fiction?

4. Which elements are fiction?

5. How would you describe the fictional elements?

6. What is the effect of combining those two genres?