A psychopath is characterized by enduring antisocial behavior, a lack of empathy and remorse, and sometimes an ability to imitate empathy without genuinely feeling it. Many psychopaths are highly intelligent, which has sparked debates recently that many high level CEO’s, business people, and politicians are actually functioning psychopaths. Meaning, not everyone with some characteristics of a psychopath is a maniacal killer with no control over their actions.
But in the movies, a character who is a psychopath is often as crazy as possible. The movies shows the extreme version of psychopathy that rarely exists in the real world. Real life psychopaths (although it is difficult to diagnose with 100% accuracy) have included Ted Bundy and Dennis Rader, both prolific serial killers. Some of their characteristics may even have inspired characters in movies. Here are 15 of the craziest movie psychopaths.
15. Patrick Bateman – American Psycho
Patrick Bateman, a wealthy investment banker who moonlights as a serial killer, was created by Bret Easton Ellis for his novel American Psycho. Christian Bale portrayed the character in the film adaptation which has become a cult classic. Bateman embodies the ultimate yuppie stereotype of greed, materialism, and lack of regard for anyone but himself. He kills because he doesn’t care about people, he just uses them for what they’re worth and tosses them aside. He’s a rapist and murderer, and his self-loathing leads him to kill anyone who makes him feel inadequate, which is basically everyone.
14. Michael Myers – Halloween
Michael Myers killed his sister when he was six years old. If that isn’t a warning sign for a psychopath, then what is? His creator, John Carpenter has described Myers as “almost a supernatural force – a force of nature. An evil force that’s loose.” His mask makes it so he never has a facial expression. He’s just an evil being who’s only purpose is to murder people, and his dark holes for eyes portray his complete lack of feeling or remorse. Myers is also unkillable, and can’t be stopped, making him one of the scariest movie psychopaths of all time.
13. Alex Forrest – Fatal Attraction
Thanks to Glenn Close‘s portrayal of Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction, men everywhere think twice about who they choose to have an affair with. Or at least they should be. After the married man she sleeps with rejects her, Alex starts to stalk him, threatening to hurt his wife and daughter if he doesn’t continue to see her. When he refuses, she kills his daughter’s pet rabbit, and puts in a pot to boil. The character shows how unstable and obsessive people can get about love, and why having an affair probably isn’t worth it.
12. Leatherface – Texas Chainsaw Massacre
As far a crazed serial killing monsters go, it doesn’t get much more terrifying than Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise. He chases down his victims with a chainsaw and wears the skin of the people he’s killed as a mask to cover his own deformed face. And it’s based on real life serial killer Ed Gein, who wore a mask made of human skin. One the scariest things about Leatherface is that he’s a killer slave sent to do the bidding of his inbred family. That means you can’t reason with him (not that you can reason with most psychopaths), and he will do whatever he’s told.
11. Norman Bates – Psycho
The iconic role of Norman Bates was first portrayed by Anthony Perkins in the 1960 film Psycho, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Norman suffered severe emotional abuse at the hands of his mother who taught him that sex was wrong and all woman (except her) were whores. After killing his mother, he develops dissociative identity disorder, and assumes his mother’s personality, keeping her corpse in his house, and continuing to run the Bates Motel. Even though she’s dead, Norman can’t escape his mother’s control and he kills, believing she’s the one doing it the whole time.