ByJared Gregory, writer at
Self-Proclaimed nerd, lover of movies, video games and Batman. Always happy to talk, discuss or debate.
Jared Gregory

Since the birth of the horror genre, the stereotypical psychopath has long been a staple of scary movies. From Leatherface in Texas Chainsaw Massacre, to Jason in Friday The 13th, fans always seem to willingly subject themselves to the terror of being hunted by a masked lunatic in the middle of the night.

Lately, however, TV and film has adopted a much smarter, more sophisticated form of psychopath, one that doesn't appear in the traditional horror/slasher flick, but instead appears in crime dramas, and even superhero movies. The criminal mastermind that hides in plain sight, or perhaps doesn’t hide at all. Here’s my list of the top psychos in film and tv. Oh, and possible spoilers ahead.

1. Patrick Bateman, 'American Psycho'

In a film, and book, titled American Psycho, it’s hard not to get at least some sort of idea as to the mental stability of the main character. Portrayed by Christian Bale, Patrick Bateman is your typical Wall Street investor, a materialist with more money than he knows what to do with. As the movie progresses, Patrick starts displaying more and more psychopathic traits, and effectively begins to lose control of his mind. This film features one of my favorite movies scenes, in which Patrick murders a colleague with an axe, whilst dancing to 'Hip to be Square.'

The film does a great job of portraying a man struggling with his own very real demons, whilst trying to fit in with the Wall Street life that he’s gotten himself in to.

2. The Joker, 'The Dark Knight'

Now, while The Joker in Nolan’s The Dark Knight is more of a sociopath than a psychopath, I feel he’s crazy enough to be added to the list. He’s incredibly methodical, and calculating, and doesn’t show remorse for his actions, instead reveling in the chaos he’s created. Portrayed almost flawlessly by the late Heath Ledger, this iteration of The Joker is one of the most psychotic representations to ever hit the screens, big or small. While I feel that title will soon go to the long awaited The Killing Joke animated movie, or possibly Jared Leto's Suicide Squad performance, but for now that title belongs to Heath.

3. John Doe, 'Se7en'

This next psychopath is so elusive he doesn’t even have a name, and is referred to as a “John Doe” by the police officers investigating his case. Played here by Kevin Spacey, John Doe is a character that remains hidden for the majority of the film, and it works to great effect. The audience is left guessing on his motives throughout the entire film, with the only clue being that all of his killings are related to one of the seven deadly sins. The climax of the film is stunning, simply because of the complex nature of Spacey's character, and it brings about a rather satisfying ending to the film, as well as one of my favorite quotes in movies.

4. Jim Moriarty, 'Sherlock'

Jim Moriarty goes to Sherlock like The Joker goes to Batman: if you think of one, you almost instantly think of the other. Played by Andrew Scott in the BBC drama, Moriarty is your ultimate psychopath. He has an obsession with Sherlock Holmes, even going so far as to create a case for him, in order to attempt to distract him from Moriarty, all so that Moriarty can "Watch him dance." After Sherlock threatens to come after him, Moriarty begins to systematically dismantle Sherlock, and his reputation, until the climax of Season 2, that i'm absolutely not going to spoil due to how simply brilliant it is. Seriously, go watch it.

5. Norman Bates, 'Psycho'

You'd thought i'd forgotten, didn't you? Now, I realize this psychopath is simply a killer, and not a high-class criminal like the others on my list, but I feel it has to be included. Played by Anthony Perkins in the Hitchcock masterpiece Psycho, Norman Bates is one of the most interesting characters in film. Having killed his mother and her lover in a spat of jealousy, Bates masked their death as a suicide, and soon started to assume his mothers personality in order to mask his feelings of guilt. And you really don't want to make mother angry....

So there you go, my list of the top psychopaths in film and television. Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave a comment down below. Have a good day!

Who's your ultimate movie psychopath?


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