ByMichelle Siouty, writer at

What exactly is a psychopath?

"A person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behavior."

An extreme psychopath can kill and/or severely mutilate their prey all without a flicker of remorse. Hannibal Lector from The Silence of the Lambs comes to mind, but he actually isn't the most realistic one you might see in real life.

In 2014, the Belgian psychiatry professor Samuel Leistedt decided to hit up ten of his fellow psychiatrist friends and watch around 400 films over a span of three years to figure out which serial killers found in films is most like ones found in real life.

Samuel Leistedt
Samuel Leistedt

They chose films that were released from 1915 to 2010, and the team discovered 126 psychopathic characters with 105 of them being male.

Below is a list of characters that were deemed the most realistic by Leistedt and pals.

1. Anton Chigurh from 'No Country for Old Men'

"He seems to be effectively invulnerable and resistant to any form of emotion or humanity."

Javier Bardem's Anton can murder a person with such ease. He seems so casual when he lifts his pistol and fires, much like brushing his teeth or brushing his hair.

2. Hans Beckert from 'M'

"Lorre portrays Beckert as an outwardly unremarkable man tormented by a compulsion to murder children ritualistically."

While he might be more likely a "pseudo-psychopath," which is more of a psychopath, his violent tendencies show mannerisms of psychosis. He most definitely was a child predator.

3. Henry Lee Lucas from 'Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer'

This film is loosely based on the true story about Henry Lee Lucas, who killed hundreds of people all over the country.

A few traits show how he was a psychopath: he doesn't plan his murders ahead of time, he has terrible relationships with his family, and his personal/social life is severely lacking.

The Unrealistic Serial Killers

Legendary psychopaths like Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, Hannibal Lecter from The Silence of the Lambs, and Norman Bates from Psycho may be captivating to watch, but they don't depict real-life serial killers.

"In our specific topic of interest, it appears that psychopathy in the cinema, despite a real clinical evolution remains fictional. Most of the psychopathic villains in popular fiction resemble international and universal boogeyman, almost as 'villain archetypes.'"

It seems that at the end of the day, only a few of these characters would actually be diagnosed as a psychopath; the rest aren't quite realistic and don't meet the proper criteria.

[Source: Tech Insider]


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