Top 10: Movie Psychopaths

Off the heels of my review of Psycho  where I went in depth about my love of movie psychopaths I thought it could be interesting to do my top 10 movie psychopaths list. The criteria are they have to have appeared in a movie but can have appeared in other media and must conform to this definition of a psychopath “a person with an antisocial personality disorder, manifested in aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behaviour without empathy or remorse”. With all those formalities out of the way lats kick it off! (Warning spoilers)

10) Annie Wilkes (Misery)

ImageThe only female entrant on my list (because it’s very rare a woman acts insane) is Annie Wilkes, the obsessive super fan of novelist Paul Sheldon. Played by Kathy Bates, who earned an Oscar for the role, Annie is on the surface a lonely yet cheery woman who saves her favourite author from a car crash and plans to nurse him back to health. However as her bi-polar nature and possessiveness become alarmingly apparent Sheldon soon starts to realize he is not a guest but instead a prisoner. Once you see this movie you will never be able to look at a hammer without flinching again.

9) Jack Torrence (The Shining)

ImageThis delusional dad and his manic actions are the bi-product of writers block, cabin fever, and a haunting. This manifests itself in him hunting down his own family through an abandoned hotel and a truly terrifying maze aswell as the axing down of poor ol Dick Hallorann. It also resulted in one of cinemas great quotes “HERES JOHNNY!”. Jack (superbly portrayed by Jack Nicholson) is a unique entry in this list as he is not initially psychopathic but instead descends into his maddening rage.

8) Max Cady (Cape Fear)

ImageNext up, we have Max Cady (Robert DeNiro) , a tattoo clad convicted rapist who upon his release begins a psychological war with his former lawyer and his family. Probably the psychopath with the most profound sense of righteousness Cady is just as comfortable quoting scripture as he is raping and murdering. A lot more intelligent as he may first appear, Cady’s war on Sam Bowden is extremely calculated as he brings to light his infidelities, his fraudulent  practicing of the law and seduces his teenage daughter all in an attempt to tear his family apart before his historic assault on the Bowden’s house boat.

7) John Doe  (Se7en)

ImageJohn Doe,played by the always brilliant Kevin Spacey, is a truly unique psycho. His murders are incredibly well thought out representations of the seven deadly sins. A well spoken, usually calm man, his crimes are committed in the name of god and all he wants us to be. His actions are insane but his logic and reasoning is unflinching and all the evil sins he commits are all in order to communicate a very important message to his fellow man. “Wanting people to listen, you can’t just tap them on the shoulder anymore. You have to hit them with a sledgehammer, and then you’ll notice you’ve got their strict attention.”

6) Patrick Bateman  (American Psycho)

ImageYou cant have a list of psychos without the American Psycho Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale). Although his mentality yields the same results as our previous entry John Doe, they couldn’t be more divergent. Patrick Bateman is the antithesis of Doe’s “selfless” actions: he is greedy, vain and only cares for himself. Bateman is just like every other wall street elitist except he needs to constantly satisfy his urges to rape, attack and of course murder others. The most self obsessed and narcissistic on this list Bateman’s jealousy, vanity and pettiness are only surpassed by his charm, charisma and impressive knowledge of Phil Collins trivia.

5) Vic Vega [AKA Mr Blonde] (Reservoir Dogs)

ImageQuentin Tarantino is world renowned for his ability to write violent people and give them a real but still stylized voice and rarely is this more apparent than his first screen psycho Mr Blonde. One of the members of a failed bank robbing squad we quickly learn how multi-layered this character is. Unlike most of our entries he is no raving lunatic, calmly confident and cool as ice Mr Blonde is a man of a few choice words. However, he is the very definition of a psychopath, acting out actions of extreme violence with no sense of empathy or guilt. If your stuck in the middle with Vic Vega “All you can do is pray for a quick death, which you ain’t gonna get.”

4) Alex (A Clockwork Orange)

ImageThe second Stanley Kubrick directed psychopath on this list is a young British man by the name of Alex, living in the not too distant future. Alex spends his days ditching school to enjoy sexual adventures, outings at milk bars, leading his own gang, attacking others, raping women and the occasional murder, oh and of course listening to Beethoven. Alex is different to most of our other entrants as for long spells of the movie he is portrayed as the victim when the government undertake brainwashing experiments in order to fill the void his lack of sympathy has left in his mind. Fantastically charismatic and a true showman Alex just wants to enjoy the finer things in life: Beethovens 9th and Ultra-violence.

3) The Joker (The Dark Knight)

ImageOne of the most talked about and praised film topics of the new millennium is undeniably Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker. When Jack Nicholson took the role in Tim Burton’s original Batman many people felt no one would ever be able to top that portrayal of the clown prince of crime, then Heath Ledger presented us with a different and far more terrifying iteration of the arch-villain but still had plenty of the manic charm we come to expect. Mega-quotable, chaotic and a genius level anarchist, the Joker’s crimes are too lengthy to list here and if you disagree with his high ranking here all there is to ask you is “Why so serious?”

2) Norman Bates (Psycho-1960)

ImageThe inspiration for me compiling this list and most likely part inspiration for the creation of all these characters, Norman Bates is the original psycho. He is the young and lonely operator of the Bates motel. For most of the film Norman appears as an unusual, sheltered yet charming young man who only wants to tend to his guests and care for his elderly mother. As the story progresses his innocence is slowly shed as he tries to cover his mother’s murderous actions up and keep her violent impulses at bay, By the time the film has finished Norman Bates certainly earns the moniker of psycho.

1) Hannibal Lecter (The Silence Of The Lambs)

ImageScratching his way into the number one spot is the incarcerated and cannibalistic psychiatrist with possibly the most terrifying presence in cinema history, Dr Hannibal Lecter. Masterfully played by Anthony Hopkins (who took home the Best Actor Oscar for his performance) , Lecter aids Clarice Starling through her hunt for wanted psychopath Buffalo Bill. This is no change of heart however as he only agrees as to get time alone with the young agent in order to explore her mind and bring her hidden fears to light. Infamous for his many unmistakable quotes, mannerisms and three great films, Hopkins turn as the sinister doctor is easily one of the greatest characters we will ever see grace the silver screen. Since watching this film I can honestly say the lambs haven’t stopped screaming.

Well I hope you enjoyed my list, again this is MY top 10 list so I know a lot of you may disagree. Comment below with psychopaths you felt should have been included or any thoughts based on the article at all.

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