Hollywood has churned out psychopaths one after another to send chills through the spine of audience, who want to experience the fear over and over again. The psychopaths on screen have made the hearts race in anticipation of their next move only to be shocked with the twist the movie takes. Psychopaths often show unstable emotional state and are caught up with various games their minds plays. It is very difficult to compile a list of just 10 notorious psychopaths of Hollywood as hundreds of them vie for the honor. Anyway, here I try to pick top 10 notorious psychopaths (without any supernatural elements to support them) of Hollywood movies who have given me sleepless nights.
10. Charles Rane (Passenger 56):
Bruce Payne’s portrayal of sadistic, smooth talking, sleek and ruthless international terrorist who hijacks the jet Passenger 56 is worth the mention for the great performance by the actor. The stunningly dashing Rane, with his blond flowing locks and grammatically perfect sentences sends a chill down the spine of the audience when he throws those armor piercing stares as he sadistically kills people without any remorse. The contrasting characteristics of articulate, charismatic, sleek person combined with the brutal, ruthless killer are what make the character creepily notorious.
9. Leatherface (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre):
Leatherface is a scary psychopath with disturbed childhood who loves to wear the torn–off faces of his victims as a mask. The name of the movie is a sure indicator that he wildly wields a chain saw to massacre his victims. The scariest scene is when he forces his victim Sally to attend dinner with his family who are inbred cannibals and no lesser psychos than the Leatherface.
8. Alex Forrest (Fatal Attraction):
A career minded high flying publishing executive, Alex Forrest (Glenn Close) has another psychotic side to her. Though the character portrayal did not go down well with the feminists, the performance of Glenn Close is known to have driven many men back to their marriage. When Dan Gallagher indulges in a momentary indulgence with the powerful woman, he does not realize that she would go to great lengths to take him away from his family and have him to herself; which includes a creepy scene of her burning a pet rabbit.
7. Annie Wilkes (Misery):
Kathy Bates won an Academy for her amazing performance as a fanatic fan who discovers her favorite author in a car wreck. The badly injured Paul Sheldon is kept locked up in her home, at times being subjected to her fanatic ways. The scene where Annie loses her cool discovering that Sheldon has killed off her favorite character had left a great impact on the audience.
6. The Caller (Phone Booth):
An extreme moralist holds an arrogant New York City publicist who has been cheating on his wife with a woman named Pam as a hostage in a phone booth. All through the movie, the psychopath makes everyone sit at the edge of their seat without ever making his appearance. Supported by a powerful performance by Colin Farrell as Stu, who becomes victim of the mind games played by the moral preaching, murderous psychopath. After creating a huge drama and killing many people in public; the killer psychopath finally walks away free after warning Stu to behave. How scarier can it get?
5. Max Cady (Cape Fear):
The talented actor he is, Robert De Niro gave a powerful performance as a convicted rapist which had him nominated for both the Academy Award for Best Actor and the Golden Globe for Best Actor – Drama. The cool calculating Max Cady gathers knowledge of law and its numerous loopholes while serving his sentence. He uses this to have his revenge against former public defender as he blames him for his conviction.
4. Norman Bates (Psycho):
Backed by genius director Alfred Hitchcock and great performance by Anthony Perkins, the character of original psycho –Norman Bates has left an everlasting impact in the genre of psychological thrillers. Bates is a mentally disturbed owner/manager of the motel who looks completely cool, creating no doubt in the mind of Marion Crane who lands there after embezzling money from her employer. Known for its famous shower scene, the movie is recognized as Hitchcock’s best known film.
3. John Doe (Se7en):
John Doe (Kevin Spacey) as the sadistic serial killer who painstakingly plans and kills his victims in the most gruesome manner for surrendering themselves to the 7 deadly sins of gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, pride, lust, and envy is very frightening. The punishment he metes out to the sinners of Sloth and Lust is not just scary but quite sick, though the audience does not get to witness much of it. The scariest thing about John Doe is the way he sermonizes about the sins and justifies his killings without any remorse.
2. Patrick Bateman (American Psycho):
Patrick Bateman is a blue blooded, Ivy League pedigree gentleman with elite credentials who appears to be exact opposite of a psychopath. He is a wealthy investment banker whose life revolves around having fun parties. Christian Bale dedicated himself to the movie to bring out a powerful creation of psychopath who looks at the people around him as though they are from another planet. He lives an alternate life of a psychopath, who rapes and kills mercilessly. He is not convicted even when he confesses to his crime which proves how perfect his camouflage is.
1. Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs):
Though many would argue as to who should be rated the second best psychopath of Hollywood movies, there is no doubt that Anthony Hopkin’s portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, is the best. Hannibal Lecter sent shivers through the bravest hearts even when he was locked behind the bars which is quite amazing considering he is quite calm, cool, collected and smart psychologist. You wonder what is freaking you out, which talks a lot about the great performance by Hopkins.