Thirteen of the Most Memorable Movie Psychopaths

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I’ll be honest.  My severe triskaidekaphobia made it hard for me to not limit this list to just 10 psychos, or even to not expand it to 11, 12, or 14, but these 13 just felt right.  Each psycho on this list, in one way or another, is so far removed from what society deems normal.  Their immoral behavior and lack of empathy have helped to ingrain these maniacs into the minds of audiences.  Some are scary, some are funny, and some are both.  Here are, in no particular order, the 13 most memorable movie psychopaths:

1. The Joker – The Dark Knight

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The Joker, a self-described “agent of chaos,” is about as psychopathic as one can get.  He doesn’t care about how he looks, ritualistically smears makeup across his scarred face, and relishes any scheme that undoes order.  Nicholson’s Joker was a clown, but Ledger’s Joker was a frightening, unpredictable terrorist.  The Joker’s abandonment of all societal norms, coupled with his violent, disruptive behavior makes him one of the more memorable movie psychos.

2. Hannibal Lecter – The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal

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The infamous Dr. Lecter is a genius with a taste for flesh and brains, an unnerving paradox of sorts that helps cement him in the mind of anyone who happens to cross his path.  Being a serial killer is psychotic enough, but Lecter’s got cannibalism on his resume, too, raising the bar for psychopaths everywhere.  Simply put, Lecter is one dangerous S.O.B.  Also from Silence of the Lambs, Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gumb is a memorable psycho, but his mangina doesn’t hold a candle to Lecter’s psychopathic tendencies.

3. Patrick Bateman – American Psycho

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If there ever was a lovable psycho, it was the privileged elitist Patrick Bateman.  With good looks, wealth, and a remarkable sense of style, Bateman personifies the 80s Wall Street yuppie.  The irony that is Pat Bateman, though, is that despite being a psychopathic killer, he’s more in touch with emotion and reality than his superficial, materialistic peers.  We can debate whether Bateman really did kill people or if it was all in his head, but either way you look at it, Bateman is one sick puppy.  If you’ve read the book, by the way, you know that the book version of Pat Bateman makes the movie version look like a saint.  Don’t just stare at it, eat it!

4. Norman Bates – Psycho

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Perhaps associated with the term “psycho” more than anyone else in this rundown is Norman Bates from the movie, um, Psycho.  There’s no question about Bates’ sanity in Hitchcock’s classic: the dude keeps his mother’s corpse as a memento and fancies dressing up in her clothes when he’s slashing one of his victims.  I defy you to watch this movie and then shower comfortably right after.  The dressing up in Mom’s clothes part, though?  Par for the course since I went through puberty.  Does this blouse bring out my eyes or what?!

5. Mr. Blonde – Reservoir Dogs

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“Are you gonna bark all day, little doggie, or are you gonna bite?”  Tough guy Mr. Blonde had no problem feeding lead to innocent civilians, but even knowing that bit of information couldn’t prepare you for how he’d treat one of the boys in blue.  Just as Norman Bates forged an association with showers, Mr. Blonde will forever be linked to Stealers Wheel’s “Stuck in the Middle.”  It’s impossible – if you’ve seen Reservoir Dogs – to hear that song and not think about a razor slicing through your ear.

6. Anton Chigurh – No Country For Old Men

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Sure, Anton has a structured code by which he lives his life.  The thing is, Anton’s code doesn’t exactly integrate smoothly into normal society.  And neither does Anton, with his Dutch Boy haircut and Harvey Dent-esque coin flips of fate.  Javier Bardem won an Academy Award for his portrayal of the terrifying Anton, conveying fear and tension every time his character was on screen.  No Country for Old Men is a tremendous film, in terms of both scale and tone, and a significant amount of this can be attributed to the warped and intriguing character of Anton.

7. John Doe – Se7en

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John Doe’s plan to turn each of the seven deadly sins against the sinner is brilliant, coming to fruition only because of the wrath of Detective David Mills.  Doe believes he is on a mission from God, making him the worst kind of crazy.  But does John Doe know that he’s crazy?  I think Detective Mills phrased the question best when he asked Doe – and I’m paraphrasing – “When someone’s crazy, as you clearly are, do they know they’re crazy?  I mean, do you sit around reading Guns & Ammo, masturbating in a pile of your own feces and say ‘Wow.  It is unbelievable how f*cking crazy I am?'”  Doe doesn’t think he’s nuts, and despite Mills’ claims to the contrary, Doe is much more than a movie of the week or a f*cking T-shirt.

8. Alex – A Clockwork Orange

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The ultraviolent narrator of Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange is psychotic to his core.  After murders, rapes, and drinking drug-laced milk with his Droogies, Alex is finally imprisoned and subsequently subjected to experiments designed to eliminate his violent nature.  The experiments work – sort of – but after Alex attempts to commit suicide, the process is reversed, returning Alex to his bloodthirsty, psychopathic old self.  Which is a good thing: Alex rules.  Viddy well, my little brother.  Viddy well.

9. Annie Wilkes – Misery

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Annie is a crazed fan of author Paul Sheldon, but her obsession is not that of a normal person.  Whether her intentions of keeping Paul a prisoner in her home are to keep him as some sort of trophy pet or to expedite  the creation of his next novel, Annie is a horrifying, demented woman.  I’ve said it before – I adore the “hobbling” scene in this movie.  It’s not so much for the hobbling process itself, but for Annie’s cold, calm demeanor when she slugs Paul’s ankles with a sledgehammer.

10. Dez and Edele Hansel – Running Scared

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With the oft-criticized Paul Walker as the lead, I’m guessing lots of people passed on Running Scared.  It’s their loss.  Running Scared is one of those underrated, visually dynamic and wholly engaging movies that fly under the radar.  There’s many memorable and seedy characters throughout the movie – which doubles as a contemporary fairy tale for adults – but none are more fear-inducing than the pedophilic couple of Dez and Edele Hansel.  The scene with Dez and Edele was perhaps the most disturbed I’ve ever been while watching a movie.  The sinister couple lure children into their home, molest them, and then torture and kill them.  Oh yeah, and it’s all recorded for their future viewing pleasure.  Each video is then rated on a “star system,” presumably based on the “quality” of the video.

11. Max Cady – Cape Fear

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Max Cady somehow believes that the “she was asking for it” defense is appropriate to counter accusations of rape.  I’ve seen like 2.5 episodes of Law & Order, and even I know that just ain’t the case.  In Scorsese’s Cape Fear, Robert DeNiro portrays the psychopathic rapist, a job he did so well that it earned him a Best Actor nomination.  Cady’s determination and willingness to brutally abuse and rape women much weaker than himself earn him a spot on this list of memorable movie psychos.  “Come out, come out, wherever you are!”

12. Alex Forrest – Fatal Attraction

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Alex Forrest has a brief affair with a married man and soon becomes obsessed with him.  OK, seriously, just that bit of information alone should send a chill down your spine.  There’s nothing worse than a smothering woman.  Alex, however, is far, far worse than “smothering.”  She kidnaps her obsession’s child and – in the now infamous scene – boils a bunny in a pot on the stove.  Wow.  The guys who read this site (both of you) will probably agree: psycho bitches are way scarier than any male maniac with a weapon.  Just ask John Bobbit.

13. Aileen Wuornos – Monster

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Former prostitute Aileen Wuornos was a real-life killer, and Charlize Theron portrayed her impressively in Monster, winning an Academy Award for her effort.  After being raped by a client, Aileen kills him, catalyzing later and more brutal murders.  Soon enough, Aileen is murdering men who aren’t even clients of hers.  Theron gained 30 pounds and wore prosthetic teeth for this role, helping to create the monster that was Aileen Wuornos.

So there ya go: the thirteen most memorable movie psychopaths.  Did I miss anyone?  Should Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver had made the cut?  I don’t think he’s a psychopath.  I just think he’s got watermelon-sized testicles.  Maybe I’m wrong, though.  Feel free to comment and let me know if I missed anyone, as well as notifying me of what objects you’d like me to shove directly into my rectum.  Thanks for reading!


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  • iStick

    Joker sucks balls.

  • Fapperooni

    How did Jack Torrence not make the list ( The Shining )?

  • Madison

    @ Fapperooni

    I love Jack in The Shining (easily one of my favorite movies), but I don’t think he’s a psycho, per se. The Overlook Hotel itself is playing games with him – through “shining” – and where you can argue that Jack goes insane, I don’t think he’s a psychopath/sociopath like the others in my article.

    He is pretty friggin nuts, though.

  • Nick

    Dexter Morgan?

  • Bro

    Dexter Morgan is a book/t.v. character. this is a list for movie psychos.

  • Laika

    No Mickey and Mallory Knox? Not the best movie, but a great interpretation of Ottis Toole and Henry Lee Lucas.

  • Madison

    @ Laika

    Mickey and Mallory totally slipped my mind – great call. I definitely would have included them had I remembered.

  • Frank Booth

    Man I was really hoping I’d see Frank Booth from Blue Velvet on that list.

    Kakihara from Ichi the Killer?

    The chick from Audition? (ya, i know that’s two from Miike movies, but still…)

    Good list, otherwise.

  • Carl

    How about the Firefly family from house of 1000 corpses/devils rejects? If you have seen these movies there’s no denying that they are completely insane.

  • Why not JD from Heathers? I’d say he’s right up there with Joker.

  • R W O

    Hey, do you know who Jigsaw is ?

  • Madison

    @ R W O

    Which one? The guy from Saw, or the guy from Punisher War Zone, which I just saw this weekend and was maybe the worst movie I’ve ever seen in a theater.

    The guy from Saw is a pretty good call. The other one? I just want to forget.

  • anon

    the priest from the old movie night of the hunter was one creepy, psychotic S.O.B

  • Joker sucks!

    But awesome great man!

  • ekstrakt

    Not bad, but you missed one. Maybe the best, tops with Alex (A Clockwork Orange):

    Stansfield from Leon.

  • Brian

    Eric played by Jean-Hugues Anglade from the movie Killing Zoe

    Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) Nightmare On Elm Street

    Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) Robocop

    Mr Hyde (Jekyl And Hyde)

  • jamie

    This is a lesser known one, but still one of my favorites: Joseph Cotten’s character, Uncle Charlie, in Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt:

    “The cities are full of women, middle-aged widows, husbands, dead, husbands who’ve spent their lives making fortunes, working and working. And then they die and leave their money to their wives, their silly wives. And what do the wives do, these useless women? You see them in the hotels, the best hotels, every day by the thousands, drinking the money, eating the money, losing the money at bridge, playing all day and all night, smelling of money, proud of their jewelry but of nothing else, horrible, faded, fat, greedy women… Are they human or are they fat, wheezing animals, hmm? And what happens to animals when they get too fat and too old?”
    -Uncle Charlie

  • John

    Ed Norton/Brad Pitt in Fight Club.

  • David

    Amon Goethe from Schindler’s List infamy makes these guys/gals look like Mister Rogers!

  • Brian

    Mr Skin from Highway 61

    Carlton Leach from Rise Of The Footsoldier (Based On A True Story)

  • sman

    I don’t know if this should count or not but what about Tommy (Joe Pesci) from Goodfellas?

  • Demon

    Lecter should be #1, far far FAR above the rest. The joker is a fucking joke.

  • Brennan

    Jigsaw!!!

  • Snea

    travis bickle anyone?

  • TooGross

    you mentioned that reading about Patrick Bateman made the movie psycho look like a saint, how about Annie Wilkes? what a movie wuss! calm and cool hitting his foot with a sledge hammer was nothing to using a hacksaw to cut it off, then cauterizing his ankle with a blowtorch… I didn’t see Misery until it came on television, because I was so terrorized by the book

  • Will

    Gangster No. 1? Angry nutcase.

  • Madison

    @Demon

    Guess you missed the part where I wrote that these were presented in no particular order. Don’t sweat it; I’m used to people commenting without reading. It happens all the time.

  • joe

    wut about chucky??????

  • Josh M

    Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci) @ Casino

    great list, Dez and Edele Hansel were intense!

  • jigsaw

    jigsaw, jigsaw, jigsaw

  • thevoiceofreason

    Michael Rooker as Henry Lee Lucas in Henry:Portrait of a Serial Killer. That movie messed me up for life, and is the very definition of psychopath, batshit crazy and unpredictable.

  • Fred Shaffner

    How ’bout Keyser Soze from The Usual Suspects?… or Stripe, the evil Mogwai, from Gremlins?

  • Grind

    what about those guys from funny games? cant remember their names lol but they were fucked.

  • BILL

    Billy Zane character from Dead Calm?

  • crap

    This list is garbage, joker is number one because you just saw the dark night, and American Psycho had me rolling on the floor laughing rather than being scared. Bateman would make one hell of a comedian, if not on purpose.

  • Madison

    @ BILL

    Yes, Billy Zane’s character is so memorable that you can’t even remember his name when notifying me that he was left out of this article.

  • Madison

    @ crap

    The article says, in the introduction, that the psychos are presented in no particular order. Get a clue.

    And these are the most memorable psychos, not the scariest. Bateman was pretty friggin memorable.

    Do me a favor. Don’t come to this site anymore. You’re clearly too unintelligent to participate.

  • Gunnar

    I would have put Sweeney Todd up here. Even though it’s not that old of a movie, he was still extremely psychotic.

  • BILL

    OK, sorry. Actions speak louder than words, though, and he really stuck in my mind.
    Hughie Warriner is the name.

  • Madison

    @ BILL

    No worries. I like Billy Zane as an actor, actually. He does play a pretty convincing psycho. And you have to love him as himself in Zoolander.

    Thanks for reading.

  • oddthings

    these werent in any particular order so dont complain about the joker ‘being in the number one slot’

    these were pretty good, a few of em i havent seen, like a clockwork orange…but alex looks pretty badass haha

  • Layne420

    how about leatherface……..or cyrus the virus…..or micheal myers

  • porcelino

    and where`s is micky and mallory knox?

  • itemforty

    Great list. Why is everyone hating the Joker?

  • Maureen angelina

    American Psycho starred Christian Bale, not Patrick Bateman.

  • Madison

    @ Maureen angelina

    How do you manage to even breathe?

  • mr. brooks

    mr. brooks missing!

  • Alfred

    I really enjoyed the list, and I agreed with every point. However, one thing stuck in my mind. At the end of the Alex description, you said, “Viddy well.” I don’t mean to nitpick, but in the book, viddy meant see. Can you elaborate on what you mean by that? I just feel like I’m missing something.

  • Madison

    @ Alfred

    Glad you enjoyed the article. Viddy does indeed mean “see,” or “view,” or something along those lines. You’re not missing anything – I just felt like putting in an Alex quote that would (somewhat) resonate with Clockwork Orange fans.

    Thanks for reading!

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  • I dont know if these are worthy of the list because i could not remember their names without Googling them, but I do remember the characters they played:
    • Willem Dafoe as Paul Smecker in The Boondock Saints
    • Vincent D’Onofrio as Gomer Pyle in Full Metal Jacket
    • Brad Pitt as Jeffrey Goines in Twelve Monkeys

  • Frak’

    Nobody should hate on the joker. He was a great character. I would like an explanation on why some thought he was a joke. What was so bad that you had to slap one of the greatest depictions of villainy in our lifetime.

  • Hunter

    Love the list, not a one that I’d disagree with in there. As for any suggestions – why not
    -Henry and Otis from Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.
    -Mark Lewis from Peeping Tom.
    – (I can understand if this is debatable) Billy Brown and Layla from Buffalo 66

  • April

    I love the list! These people scare the sh*t out of me. These people could be your next door neighbors!

  • monkey

    Nice list!

    I did like Joker in the Dark Knight, and Ledger’s performance was really good IMO. But Joker’s plans were way too complex, impossible even.

  • goldenrule

    You want psychopaths, try the original “Cape Fear”. Now that is someone who really does not like mom.

  • As much as I loved his performance, you can’t say The Joker is the most memorable movie psychopath a year after the movie has been out. I mean He is the most memorable to you by default, He was the most recent. Sure in 20 years He still might be #1, but come on you can’t say a recent memory is the most memorable, it needs time to build that status. That is like saying ‘I remember something like it was yesterday’ and it was literally yesterday.

  • Madison

    @Maul

    I agree. You could have saved yourself some time if you actually bothered to read the article:

    “Here are, in no particular order, the 13 most memorable movie psychopaths:”

  • Braids

    uhhh.. Tom Cruise? He plays an unbelievable psychopath everyday..

  • sweeney todd

    i agree with whoever said sweeney todd should be up there. that’s one messed up dude.

    great list, i’ve heard of all of them but haven’t seen most of them. shame on me.

  • Brad

    Excellent list, I definitely agree with all of them, but I haven’t seen American Psycho. I liked a couple of the suggestions, such as Mickey and Mallory Knox and the firefly family from house of 1000 corpses, but its hard to choose with only 13 spots like you said. Also, Daniel Day-Lewis’s character of Bill “The Butcher” in Gangs of New York would have been a good one, along with Forest Whitaker’s depiction of Idi Amin. Both very memorable characters.

  • Relph

    Brick Top from Snatch,

    I’m not sure if it’s exactly a psychopath, but he sure is scary

  • Relph

    Sorry for the double post, but one that has not been susgested:
    Nurse Ratched

  • Jake

    I really liked the list, and I liked your reply to Maureen :D.

    One movie psycho that has really stuck in my head that’s not in this list is Carl Stargher from the cell, the way he thinks of women as dolls for him to play with coupled with his disgusting ways of playing with them really creeped me out.

  • Marie

    Billy Loomis from the first Scream movie was pretty great too, shame he is so easily over-looked. Skeet Ulrich’s performance was amazing.

  • Bukator

    I don’t think any of these people are crazy….maybe that makes me crazy…smart characters going to extremes…I guess thats crazy…I would consider a guy like John Hammond a little crazy for bringing dinosaurs back to life haha

  • This list is boss!

  • swedishdwarf

    Bukator: That’s what is so scary about psychopaths. They aren’t unaware of the difference between right and wrong, they just don’t believe such a distinction actually exists, or they don’t care. A common misconception is that psychopaths are irrational, however they tend to be the exact opposite– highly intelligent and nearly devoid of genuine emotion. They are quite literally beyond evil.

    Of the characters on this list, #1,2, and 5-10 would most likely be diagnosed as psychopathic, although they all exhibit the immoral and antisocial behavior characteristic of psychopathy.

  • Gb

    What about Jigsaw from saw?

  • zelle

    I think you should include Mae from the movie Mae. She was very disturbing and creepy. Look into that if you haven’t gotten a chance to see the movie.

  • trickie

    Aileen Wuornos was a serial killer sure but she was not a psychopath, she didn’t hunt down men with the intent to kill them her murders were most likely a manefestation of Post Traumatic Stress which is accurately portrayed in the film, she is hardly as terrifying as any of the others listed

  • l.a.matt

    The Stepfather!!!

  • TimF

    Alex is my favorite, and the Walter Carlos soundtrack just gives you that otherworldly feeling. I was 14 when it came out in 71, and you younger guys have no idea how shocking and unacceptable this film was for must people at that time.

    Kubrick rules!!

    “One thing I could never stand was to see a filthy, dirty old drunkie, howling away at the filthy songs of his fathers and going blerp, blerp in between, as it might be a filthy old orchestra in his stinking rotten guts.” ~Alex

  • Hannibal

    I will change place 1 and 2, by far Hannibal Lecter is the MOST scary psycho….

    Ask yourself wich one of then you fear the most at midnight in a dark street the Joker or Hannibal?

    Of course The Joker is the most popular now, Because of Ledger death….

  • Braimes

    I can’t believe nobody mentioned Begbie from Trainspotting! That guy wigged me out hard.

  • Cody D

    Easily lil’ Ze in City of God. By far the most ruthless psycho ever.

  • John

    i dont know if anyone has seen this, but i think the pair from funny games deserve at least an honorable mention… the cool, calm demeanour throughout the entire film add the the eerie effect, as well as the general weird-ness of the thing.

  • good list but running scared was a terrible movies.

  • Joey

    I thought that the general from the movie Pan’s Labyrinth was definitely a psychopath.
    The scene where he crushes the poor guy’s face with a wine bottle was by far the worst of his actions, but he also tortured a stutterer with his own stutter before actually torturing him. Even while doing all this, his top priority is that his wife bears him a healthy son, regardless of whether or not she dies in the process.
    Still, your list was pretty well thought out, and I’ll have to check out some of those overlooked movies you mentioned.

  • Trav

    Two words….Hard Candy.

    OMG most disturbing movie ever. Highly recommended.

  • ishouldbedoingamillionotherthings

    I think your list is great. I might add:
    Shelley Winters as Ma Barker in Bloody Mama.
    Catherine Keener as Gertrude Baniczewski in An American Crime
    Also Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek in Badlands
    These were all based on real people so I hope they still count
    I would agree with you that Travis Bickle was not a psychopath. He was more like…. really protective..I have always had a spot for Travis– maybe he warrants starting a new list of memorable post traumatically stressed war veterans?

  • Kevin

    I second Stansfield from Leon (The Professional). That has stuck with me much more than the Joker ever will.

  • tashiana

    sweeney todd and mrs. lovett theyre both very creepily and calmly nuts

  • Aysii

    Sweeny Todd annnnnd Mrs. Lovett. That bitch was crazy. Sure slicing necks to pass the time to get to one person is physco. Buuut grinding human flesh and bones into meat pies and serving the meat pies to humans is insane. WTF?!?

  • Blindy

    Agreed. Frank Booth is one of the most un-nerving Psychos on film.

  • nemo

    You left out non-american movies? by chance or by ignorance?

  • Basco

    Just wanted to let you know that I appreciate your willingness and finesse in telling people that they need to actually look at something before they bad mouth it and to leave the site forever. That is commendable. Also, very nice job with this list as well as the other articles on the site.

  • Madison

    @ Basco

    Thanks. If I’m wrong about something, I welcome corrections. And if someone has a different opinion, that’s great, I’d love to hear it.

    Unfortunately, some of the commenters are pretty lazy.

    Thanks for reading; glad you enjoy the site.

  • KingLegolasG

    Paul Bettanys character from Gangster No. 1 easily should have been in this.

  • s.dennis

    Worth a mention, Definitely Psycho, Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest. I still wont use a wire hanger!!

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  • Taker

    I dont know if i t could be counted but Tyler Durden/Narrator from Fight Club? Or Jefferey Gomes form 12 Monkeys.

    Good list though ever thought of making a second?

  • Fin

    I think this is a pretty good list, but a few could be added.
    I’d put in Leatherface (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Jigsaw (Saw series), Sweeney Todd, and possibly Jason Voorhees or Freddy Krueger.

  • juxdapose

    Gaear Grimsrud from fargo
    Trevor Reznik from El manquista or the machinist
    Mars from hostage
    Otis from house of 1000 corpses
    love the list

  • peosh

    Mandigo from Sublime
    Mr. Ripley
    Beverly Mantle from Dead Ringers

  • Will

    What are you saying!? Running Scared was one of the worst movies in the history of cinema

  • Dildo Breathe

    Where’s Leather Face or maybe that whole damn family? but joker is the fucking numba 1!

  • Rick

    Good list. I would have included Jessica Walter’s crazed fan from “Play Misty for Me” and Robert Mitchum’s murderous loon from “Night of the Hunter”.

  • Psycho

    What about Paul and Peter from Funny Games?
    Wasn’t the best movie ever but still… They were f*cking crazy…

  • Anon

    WHOA……………. WHAT about protagonist from ‘Teeth’ 2007?

  • Austin

    Peter and Paul from Funny Games would make the top of my list. Crazy, and yet aware they’re in a movie. When he looks at the camera and talks to the audience, I about shit myself. And jigsaw is just a rip off of John Doe from Se7en, punishing people for their sins and turning them on themselves. He doesn’t deserve to be mentioned.

  • Laura

    I actually saw Running Scared and wow…that couple was DISTURBING. A few months back I happened to scroll through the channels and found it on and gave it a chance. It really was pretty good. And I remember watching American Psycho like 7 years ago at a friend’s house, and a bunch of us 15 year old girls thought the DVD cover looked scary and man, we had NO CLUE what the hell we were in for. Truly freaky.

  • Maudlfc

    Good list but here are a few portrail’s of psychiopaths that are definitely worth a mention also:
    Robert Mitchums Harry Powell in Night of the Hunter – 1955 (breathtakingly disturbing)
    Dennis Hopper’s Frank Booth in Blue Velvet – 1986
    Also worth mentioning that Robert Mitchum’s performance as Max Cady in the original Cape Fear in 1962 is far more terrifying in my opinion but I won’t contest that De Niro’s performance is probably far more memorable, largly due to the fact that it’s a more recent movie
    Good list though

  • Kyle

    if someone is pyschotic there insane. Pyschopaths aren’t insane they are just evil. In other words they are bad not mad.

    So when the people on your list that you say are psychotic the either your wrong and their not psychotic or your wrong and their not psychopathic

  • Hannibal Lecter is THE scariest. On first impression Hannibal is so refined, educated and gentlemanly that you would allow him to babysit your kids while you ran to the store.
    If you meet up with the others, you already know they are evil psychopaths.
    My vote goes to Hannibal.

  • Kyle

    Why the hell is psychotic still being used in the descriptions?

    To anyone who knows something on this subject you look stupid saying a psychopath is psychotic.

    Psychopaths can enter rage states where they get very reckless and suicidal but they are still sane.

  • SemanticIvy

    Third nomination right here for Stansfield.

    Best psychopath/movie villain ever. That scene in the bathroom with Natalie Portman when he leans in close with the gun and starts stroking her face is just so incredibly terrifying.

  • Ohnoes

    What about Lil Ze

  • Abhijeet

    Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd?
    Ed Norton in Fight Club?

  • Jacks Medula Oblongata

    Brad Pitt in Kalifornia….?

    Just a thought.

    As far as the people who mentioned Jigsaw…. ha ha ha….
    He’s about as believable as the tooth fairy.

  • Jacks Medula Oblongata

    Also liked the comment about Ichi the Killer… that movie was messed up..

  • Jacks Medula Oblongata

    And after reading again…. I’ll fourth the Stansfield… I like anything Gary Oldman does… he’s brilliant.

  • Hedelex

    Great list! But what about Kakihara from the movie Ichi the Killer? You don’t often see that kind of self-mutilation >.<

  • sin

    There are some psychos in Sin City.

  • Jaycel

    I agree with the list…. well done!… In a bigger one, you should add:

    Captain Vidal – Pan’s Labyrinth ….

    Master Betty – Kung Pow (joke :P)

    The little kid gang on Hostal… remember the rock on the guys face?.. Those are bad ones!

    All the guys related to Alone in the Dark (the movie)… that director should be declared Psychopath… what a crap movie!

  • rachael

    everyone who dislikes the joker (heath ledger)-
    YOU’RE WRONG!
    he was so far beyond amazing.
    definitely should be #1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • cepor21

    What about “John Ryder” from 1986 “The Hitcher”?
    Kinda memorable I think. Rutger Hauer was scary on that one.

  • mokgohan

    I second the Begby (Trainspotting) nomination. He may not have killed anybody but you got the feeling he could’ve, and would’ve, at the drop of a hat without flinching.

  • racher

    jeeeeeeeeegsaaaaaaaw.

  • SumDumPvt

    You know, I lik that you put The Joker on the list. Given, yes he is the new guy, but I feel people don’t truly understand the state of mind he was in. To be psychotic doesn’t require being “scary” (Although if he were real, I’m sure he would be a quite an imposing person). Nice job on the list. I didn’t quite read all of the comments, but I think a good one is the General from Pan’s Labyrinth. I think anybody who beats in an old man’s face with a bottle should, at the least, be recommended for psychotic.

    Nice site, by the way.

  • Madison

    @ SumDumPvt

    I didn’t hesitate with The Joker. 20 years from now, he’ll still be a relevant movie character, like Lecter or Alex DeLarge.

    The General from Pan’s Labyrinth is definitely a good one. What a bastard that guy was.

    Thanks for reading.

  • derek

    “it puts the lotion on it’s skin, or else it gets the hose again!”

  • Madison

    @ derek

    Hey…are you about a size 14?

  • AMD

    if we can agree that being a hitman doesn’t immediately make a person a psychopath, then we’re in business. i’d argue that 6. Anton Chigurh – No Country For Old Men isn’t really a psychopath, just a rational, calulating, hitman doing his job. sure he fucks with convienience store clerks every once in a while, he’s gotta do something to make the day memorable beside all the people he kills. doesn’t make him a psychopath.

  • Madison

    @ AMD

    No, Anton’s murderous ways don’t make him a psycho, but his adherence to his strict code (which is destroyed at the end) does.

  • Gary Sargent

    Two oldies – I’m just giving director and title since it’s been too long since I last saw one, and (I’m fairly certain) the other never nanmes the psycho:
    — Alfred Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train”, a seminal scene (popping a child’s balloon fits popular image of psychopath although it’s not accurate.
    — Fritz Lange’s “M”, I’ll never hear “Hall of the Mountain King” the same again.

  • Uberhack

    I nominate Sgt. Barnes from Platoon (Tom Beringer). Maybe not straight up psycho. More made that way by the war.

    I lol’d at Master Betty.

  • Madison

    @ Uberhack

    If we want to go down the road of “warmade” psychos, how about Animal Mother from Full Metal Jacket?

  • Uberhack

    @ Madison

    Animal Mother definitely was a freak, but didn’t he save the “Alabama Blacksnake” character in a battle? My memory is rusty on the second half of that movie.
    Love the exchange with Joker:

  • Madison

    @ Uberhack

    Classic.

    Most people are hazy on the second half of the movie; it’s not just you. A lot prefer the first half and just stop watching after Private Pyle blows his brains out.

    But Animal Mother was by and large a good soldier and a great guy to have on your side. He simply relished battle and killing, though, so you kind of have to question his sanity. Again – he’s war made – just like our friend Private Pyle.

  • Uberhack

    Jeeze while we’re on the war-made offshoot, how can we overlook Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now (Brando). Hadn’t watched that for so long I almost forgot.

  • Stephen

    If you’ve never seen the movie Otis released in 2007 then you’ve missed out on a very psychopathic character. Also, I agree that Mickey and Mallory Knox should be on the list.

  • Great list – restrengthened my resolve to finally get around to seeing A Clockwork Orange.

    And I know how you feel about people not reading – I get that on my site occasionally too, and it is hilarious. How are you going to be smug about something that is not even kind of correct? lol

  • Madison

    @ Ruby

    Clockwork never, ever gets old for me.

    Great site…I hope I don’t end up on it sometime. My sense of fashion is non-existant.

    Thanks for reading.

  • Axel

    Clockwork orange’s Alex has me checking my milk for drugs. I know he wasn’t on the list but I can’t stand to read IT by Stephen King. Also I can’t remember if there was a movie for it. Sorry if it sounds stupid.
    Love the list.

  • Madison

    @ Axel

    There was a TV miniseries for “It” actually. Pennywise the clown was terrifying; I assume that is to whom you are referring.

    Thanks for reading.

  • carlos

    U are so gay, Joker… 1st place……
    what about icchi the killer?
    or atleast the JOKER but with jack nichleson (jack pwns ledger.)

  • Madison

    @ carlos

    Congrats on becoming part of the exclusive group that comments without reading. You all seem very, very bright.

  • Rich

    How about Catherine Tramell? I still refuse to have an ice pick in the house.

  • C. March

    What about Frank played by Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet? Truly disgusting.

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  • mR.iNsAnE

    Look, I really can’t say that the Joker is the greatest psychopath in film, because that is like trying to debate over who should be the best horror villain of all time….you’ll always have people knocking the number one in favor for their number one…..but people, the joker was the most psychotic and violent film role I’ve seen in a few years.

    Think about this, if he had showed up in another film besides a Batman one….and his names was Taffy….would you honestly say that the character was still non up to par with the term psychotic, because I’d say him being called Taffy or whatever and being in a non-comic book movie would’ve made him ten times more psychotic then he actually was.

    The fact that people say that he blows or is a joke are people who are merely missing the key element to the character’s core…which is the guy was out of his flippin’ mind!

    So chill with the nagging about him being the so called number one…gez…the list was in no real order, so if you want you can say he was number 13 since the list in itself has a psychotic nature, which the Joker would enjoy…look at the chaos caused by his placement on here…I’m laughing, you should be too.

  • Madison

    @ Mr. Insane

    The people who are opposed to The Joker being on this list either didn’t read properly and assumed that he was #1, or they are being contrarians simply to do so.

    Thanks for reading, and thanks for the comment.

  • Brandon Taber

    What the hell? Freddy Krueger. Psycho+Memorable= Memorable Psychopath. It’s math.

    And for the record if you think he’s NOT memorable try mentioning him to almost ANYONE and see if they know who you are talking about.

  • Madison

    @ Brandon Taber

    I agree he’s memorable, but I tried to avoid the supernatural/monster movie/horror types. That in and of itself could have been a list. And yes, I’m aware he was a psycho before he was burned.

  • I’m sure you are aware. And I understand your hesitation in going for the supernatural. But guys like Jason and Mike Meyers probably wouldn’t count. Since Mike Meyers just seems to be a supernatural force for evil (therefore not psychopathic by choice) and Jason is just a Zombie who doesn’t know any better.

    I’ve never seen their film series but I know that much about them. Chucky is kind of iffy, but how often do people dress as Chucky for halloween? – Not very. So essentially, I think Freddy could have been on the list anyway.

    Anton Chigurh is a character who is surprisingly close to being a supernatural character, and people argue about whether he is or isn’t (although I think that was the point of the car crash at the end). Patrick Bateman (maybe) only kills people in his head, so does he almost not count? And Alex is from a future that doesn’t exist. So given those little nitpicky things (and the inclusion of Running Scared – Ridiculous movie IMO.) Made me wonder why Freddy didn’t make it.

    Although Max Candy is surprisingly close anyway.

  • OOPS! I wrote ‘Candy’, I’m sorry I thought that was the creepy guy’s name. It’s sleazy sounding enough.

  • Madison

    @ Brandon

    Anton’s not supernatural; the car crach at the end of the film simply served to disrail his code and perhaps show him that his credo of fate was severely flawed.

    Bateman’s an interesting case, because as you said, it’s not clear whether the murders are actually happening. In the book, they certainly are, so I tend to lean in that direction.

    Alex being from a fictional world doesn’t help distinguish him from the rest; they’re all from fictional worlds. The future makes no difference.

    Again, I grouped Freddy in with Jason, Mike Meyers, etc., and I’m confident that most people would have done the same. After all, we have Jason and Freddy crossovers, not Hannibal and Freddy.

    Thanks for the interesting comment.

  • joe

    I ll tell you who was a pshyco. Rocky balboa. i mean cmon would you ever get into the ring with clubber lang unlessy u had a death wish. Rubbing his mohawk during a fight, i still get chills. Keep up the good work the best part about reading your stuff is your responses to the illiterete.

    Joe
    aventura

  • Bert

    You know, in the spirit of all the recent “remakes” going on in Hollywood, it might be interesting to see American Psycho redone with more emphasis on the comedy. And the lead? Patrick Bateman as played by…Jason Bateman.

    Come on, you’d watch it.

  • Madison

    @ Bert

    I absolutely would.

  • spoon

    reading through the posts I’ve got to ask what about the good/innocent crazy’s in films dare i bring another comic book-turned-live character: Rorschach from watchmen (well good intentions) and hell even Wayne could be considered psychotic

  • Jeck

    I don’t think Jigsaw from saw’s a psycho, he’s just a man with good morals, and a good reason.

    I think the saw films are bloody excellent, Jigsaw is a good person.

    (:

  • Madison

    @ Jeck

    I’m sure a court of law would come to a similar finding.

    Thanks for reading.

  • Guida

    What about the guys in Funny Games? don’t think they have a name…

  • ed

    I think we are all forgetting the first psychopath ever: Ed Gein

    (made into two or three movies, should count)

  • Necro

    Joker is #1 only because Heath died. Give me a break, you know that shit doesn’t deserve to be on top…what a joke.

  • Madison

    @ Necro

    I don’t even know why I bother responding to people who criticize the list without even reading the damn article.

  • ed

    are you kidding? watching people make retards out of themselves is hilarious!

  • JigsawLV

    Why does not Jigsaw on the list he should be at first place acording to me.. he is a genius psycopathic killer and his games is a legacy… how could they forgett the best of them all ??

  • maya

    Excellent list! But when it comes to psychopaths, you picked some great ones, especially De Niro in Cape Fear (which I think is underrated), but you missed a few of the best! What about Carrie? That prom scene has to be one of the best bloodbaths ever made, and even if she doesn’t count as psycho (I guess she was more supernatural) then her mom definitely does. That scene where she drags Carrie into the closet was terrifying. Another great one was Asami from Audition. I still freak out every time one of my friends goes “kiri-kiri-kiri-kiri-ki”. Finally, what about Frank from Blue Velvet? Or Henry, from Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer? Some people were made for a role, and that was theirs.

  • trav

    frank booth and the dude in the shining. leland/bob from twin peaks: fire walk with me

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  • Mike

    Joker at #1. God could you be a bigger irritating fanboy?!?

  • Madison

    At this point I just have to think that people are messing with me. I mean, can this many people really be that dumb as to comment without reading the article?

  • Hannah

    The Jack Nicholson Joker from the first Batman is pretty creepy.

  • Michael Pham

    Uh hello, where is Gollum on the list??

  • Dr. Gonzo

    Great list. Also there were some very good suggestions from the others.

    I would have liked to have seen Capt. Howdy (Dee Snider) from “Strangeland” (1998) on the list. But it’s kinda hard with only 13 spots.

    Clockwork Orange was one of the greatest movies. Mr. White, Lecter, Joker, John Doe, and Annie Wilkes were all great picks too.

    And screw those other people who don’t know what the hell they are talking about.

  • Daniel

    You completely forgot Funny Games

  • john v.

    @ Madison:
    I had never seen Running Scared before reading this list – actually it’s the only one I hadn’t seen. Finally caught it last night. Man, you were dead on: underrated, visually dynamic and wholly engaging. The storyline is a little… eh, far-fetched or implausible maybe… but from the opening scene I was hooked. I threw in on kinda late, thinking, if it sucks I’ll just go to bed – that was a mistake. I’m not sure why this one flew under the radar.
    Great call on the Hansels too…. nasty.

    @ Daniel:
    Yeah, those guys were pretty memorable. That’s a brutal movie – especially those last few scenes.

  • kiko

    how about marlond brando as col. kurtz in apocalypse now?
    when we finally get to see his camp, all the bodies hanging around plus the heads, the way he talks about it and acts so nonchalant, pretty awesome. what do you think?

  • Actually, Anton Chigurh is not a psychopath. He is a sociopath. I do, however, agree he should be within the ranks of these others though in the ranks of notoriety. He is not, however, a psychopath.

  • Madison

    @ Judais Harlem

    You’re probably right, but yeah, I think we can fit him in anyway.

    You’re pretty good on the drums, btw.

  • Dr. Hurt

    I love Hannibal Lecter, Patrick Bateman and John Doe

    Ledger’s Joker is f*cking OVERRATED

  • JD

    LOL people keep saying that the Joker shouldn’t be number one. That’s a matter or perspective either way, but the article specifically states that these aren’t ranked in any way. They just happen to be the numbers they are.

  • Nebs

    Mark “CHOPPER” Reid played by Eric Bana, sick fuckin’ guy

  • SomeGuy9834

    the movie hadn’t been released when this list was made but Colonel Hans Landa a.k.a. the Jew Hunter of Inglourious Basterds definitely deserves a spot on this list if a similar character like Anton Chigurh foots the bill for a psychopath. i don’t know that the two are really psychopaths but simply a couple of guys whom have questionable moral values and know how to fuck with people’s heads. Peter and Paul from Funny Games also definitely deserves spot on this list. That was one of the most underrated movies. i guess people tend to not like it for the slow, calculated pacing and the way it tends to condescend to the viewer about how he/she should feel stupid for wanting to be entertained by a movie where people are tortured. it was really a very well made film. i think alex and patrick bateman are the two most memorable on this list simply because the viewer was stuck listening to their thoughts for the duration of their respective films. i’d like to have known what mr. blonde was thinking. he’s probably the most enigmatic of the bunch. on the subject of enigmatic psychopaths, charlie from barton fink, anyone?

  • Love the Joker, but I never would have thought of the couple from Running Scared, but yeah, great choice.

  • Meh.

    I wouldn’t consider Kakihara from Korosiya Iti to be really psychopathic… Kakihara actually gives a crap about some people (like his late boss, hence the plot of the film). He’s just really, really determined to make some people’s lives hell, and is very sado-masochistic. Iti himself is just one messed-up psychotic dude, but Zizii may be more to blame for that. Maybe -he’s- the truly psychopathic one, for “training” Iti to be what he is? Maybe the film had a different take on him from the manga. Eh, forget it, I know nothing.

    On the topic of Mr Miike, I agree with the others: the chick from Audition, Asami, needs to be on there. She fits the bill quite nicely, with some extra gore thrown in for good measure.

    I love Hannibal… He’s one guy whom you’d love to have tea with, just so long as you don’t accidentally insult him.

  • Greg

    Capt. Howdy from Dee Snider’s Strangeland. Also Kazuo Kiriyama from Battle Royal, and Malcolm Rivers from Identity.

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  • grayce

    i realize that you wrote this list a while ago… but i think that you should add the Basterds from Inglourious Basterds. if not all.. then just the character that eli roth plays… the bear jew.
    he hits a dude square in the head with a baseball bat which breaks the mans neck and continues to beat him to a bloody pulp… you have to be some sort of psycho to pull that off…

  • Jeremy

    Good list. Bunch of good add ones in the comments too, only one I didn’t see that should get mention is Kazuo Kiriyama played by Masanobu Ando in Battle Royal. Dude was just bad ass.

  • Madison

    @ Jeremy

    I’ve read the book but have never seen the movie…I need to see that movie!

  • What about Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th? Since no one else mentioned him, I thought there was some reason everybody but me knew that he is not a psycho, but from the tiny bit I have seen of that movie, he is pretty darn messed up.

  • Will

    I’m disappointed noone has pointed out Henry Evans in The Good Son. Macauley Culkin plays this little badass kid who does some seriously psychotic things the entire time.

  • Jeremy

    I’d say the reason no one has mentioned him is because hes played by macauley Culkin. Any chance of a decent psycho went out the window with that casting.

  • herur

    wow i must know your e mail madison i could talk this all day

  • Ralph

    Mommy & Daddy played by Everett McGill and Wendy Robie in the Wes Craven film “The People Under The Stairs”… those were a totally screwed up messed up brother and sister psychos. Particularly “Daddy” who also was into cannibalism in a big way. One scene where he’s eating dinner by the fire and spits out buckshot from the “steak” he was eating… then later with him eating the raw stuff from inside a dead Ving Rhames’ body clearly brought your mind back to the fireside dinner realizing that the steak had human origins. His also dressing up in that all black zipper suit while hunting for the kid in the walls.
    Mommy was scary too in her own way.

  • Gemma

    totally agree with everything you said about ‘running scared’ its a rare gem and Dez and Edele Hansel are defo 10 on the creepo factor!!

  • Nepistol

    I miss one of my favorites there…. prob couse it is not so mainstream movie. Boxing Helena (1993) and Dr. Nick Cavanaugh playing by Julian Sands =)

  • Victoria

    I thought this list was pretty decent, so thanks for that.

    I have to say the best part of this entire list though, is all of the comments. I laughed my ass off at just how many people kept arguing that Joker shouldn’t be number 1. I mean, if you want to argue, at least get some background information before making yourself look like an idiot.

    “Here are, in no particular order, the 13 most memorable movie psychopaths…” Right at the top folks.

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  • Madison

    @ Victoria

    Thanks for the comment. I’ve considered collecting all the comments that show the commenter clearly didn’t read the article, but that would take much too long.

  • Nigel

    Dennis hopper from David Lynch’s classic Blue Velvet. My favorite crazy person

  • Connoisseur of Crazy

    Strangeland man, nuff said …

  • Mobus

    The Hitcher: Rutger Hauer

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000442/

  • Warfalplaum

    Eager, driven, she pushed up to her knees and swung her leg over his hips. His throat worked to swallow, and a fine sheen of sweat shimmered on his skin. To a raedjour, that could be as effective as a douse of icy cold water. He really was afraid. Eyes closed, she concentrated on breathing. Miraculously, no one seemed to notice. But then, they had time. Laughing, Gala waved a hand in the air. Maybe she should run and change. Her being uncomfortable was part of her atonement. What more do you want me to say? Ive gotten better at controlling it. It would be strange if she did. He wasnt talking to her. It sparked the flame, and she dropped to scream into the mattress. I can live with that. I have all the time in the world for you. She couldnt help her smile. For the rest of the life Ive been given. He wrapped strong arms about her waist, crushing her against him as he stood.

  • Prince

    jig saw is undoubtedly the no 1 …….

  • FleurBlair

    Al Capone in The Untouchables?! I watched that with my dad when I was about 9 and that scene with the baseball bat terrified me!

  • E, SF

    Madison, I’m asking you seriously, have you read many Batman comic books? The Joker is SUPPOSED to be very clownish. He is crazy and demented and a true psychopath, but hilarity is one of his defining characteristics. Heath did a great job in executing his vision of the Joker, but that vision was not truly the Joker in the first place. He didn’t even laugh but once in the entire film. I think he was 90% of the way there, but to readers of the Batman books, that missing 10% is huge.

  • Madison

    @ E, SF

    Yes, I have – I own the Miller one (Dark Knight), as well as the Long Halloween. My point was that Ledger’s take added some depth. Jack’s was good, but his Joker just wasn’t scary and felt too much like a clown. Like, in a Death in the Family, the Joker is terrifying…and that’s what Heath brought that Jack didn’t – he made you actually scared of the Joker.

  • ashley

    So I had seen some comments that mentioned psychopath and sociopath. For those who may be interested the word “psychopath” is just a slang word for the clinical term “sociopath”. A sociopath is someone who does not believe the world they live in is not the true reality, kind of like a dream world. So when they do anything there are no consequences in their eyes. A good example would be to read the book “IT” by Stephan King. Not for the clown, but one of Henry Bowers’ friends.

    What I like about the list is that it does not include supernatural killers. Jigsaw would not count because he believes what he is doing is a way to get people to wake up and live. Although I do have to say the only good saw movie was the first one.

    One thing to watch for is the difference between sociopathic and violently schitzphrenic.

    Great list

  • Dave

    After reading the artical and the comments section, heres my take:

    First, to all of you complaining about the Joker at #1, read the intro – “Here are, in no particular order, the 13 most memorable movie psychopaths” – PLEASE LEARN TO READ BEFORE POSTING.
    Note to author, perhaps next time list them as A thru M to avoid the moronic comments from the illiterate.

    Now regarding the Joker… this is my only criticism toward the author. I think you were not consistent, at least, in you comments. The list was called most memorable and you backed that in a comment saying, “And these are the most memorable psychos, not the scariest. Bateman was pretty friggin memorable”.
    But in another comment, you had written, “Jack’s was good, but his Joker just wasn’t scary and felt too much like a clown”, which contradicts the other comment you made that defended this list as most memorable.
    I think Heath Ledgers Joker was fantastic, but if I was to pick one based on being most memorable, I’d still have to go with Jack. I still remember many of the great lines he had…
    “This town needs an enema!”
    “Winged freak terrorizes? Wait’ll they get a load of me.”

    As for a couple of my own missed picks, I definitly have to go with one I saw mentioned by others and that would be Jeffrey Goines from 12 Monkeys.
    And if a good guy role can be psycho, then how about Martin Riggs?
    And on a fun note, who could be crazier than Saddam Husein in the South Park movie!!

  • Lenny

    I can’t believe how many people are against having Heath Ledger’s ‘Joker’ on this list! Pure psychopathic gold, that one. And as long as Mr. Blonde’s on the list, I can’t find much fault it. Although I’d have replaced Aileen Wournos with Col Kurtz or M & M Knox or Col Hans Landa (although I DO realise, you’d have to time travel for that 🙂 )

    Also have to mention a personal favourite – Jean Baptiste Grenouille from Perfume

  • damrat

    Where’s John Ryder (Rutger Hauer) from “The Hitcher” (the original, of course, not that wretched remake with Sean Bean). Ryder has absolutely no reason for the horrible things he does — he just does them — and Rutger Hauer’s portrayal makes him scary as hell. For my money, one of the scariest villains ever.

  • Blue Velveteen Rabbit

    Frank Booth as said by others would have rounded out the list nicely. too many pop culture ones and not enough of the real nasties.

  • Sushi

    Adding my two cents: Don Logan in Sexy Beast played by Ben Kingsley. A dangerous, dangerous man.

  • brock

    what about edward nortons character in amrerican history x.
    given he ended up being not so psycho in the end and he seemed pretty calm and collected most of the time, that curb stomp scene was viscous though. and even though they’re kind of corny i still think micheal meyers and jason vorhees should have at least gotten an honorable mention. other than that though good list.

  • brock

    i forgot to mention ash’s mirror twin from army of darkness. i know its not a horror movie and he can be kind of funny sometimes but hes still pretty crazy.

  • J-Dub

    One glaring omission I couldn’t help but point out: Harry Powell in Night of the Hunter. Dude was a preacher that went after two children because they had a doll that had money hidden in it by the kids father, who had robbed a bank. Also, Powell seduces and then marries the kids’ mom, then later kills her. And all the time, he’s claiming to be a man of the Lord. Powell was played by Robert Mitchum and he was never creepier than in this movie, save for his performance as Max Cady in Cape Fear (the original one, not the remake.) You kids did know the Robert DeNiro version was a remake, right?

  • J-Dub

    Also, Madison (and anyone else into the whole psychopath thing) I have a reading suggestion: Osamu Tezuka’s MW. Yes, the same Tezuka who made AstroBoy also made this psychological thriller about a serial killer who was affected by a poison gas known as MW when he was young, rendering him intelligent but completely incapable of emotion or empathy. He also cross dresses and is completely merciless, as well as manipulative. Also, he plots to release the gas over a crowded city. I know it’s not a movie, but it’s too perfect not to mention here.

  • Annoying Psych Major

    Strictly speaking, the women you mentioned are not psychopaths. Alex Forrest and Annie Wilkes portray erotomania, and Alex in particular has symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder. Aileen Wuornos is more debatable, but she demonstrates empathy and remorse in the film. Her attachment to her girlfriend is also uncharacteristic of psychopaths.

    Also, Norman Bates and John Doe are more likely schizophrenic.

    I know this information is not interesting or useful. But I payed a lot of money to learn it, let me have my fun!

    True female psychopaths include Mallory Knox, Jane from What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and… i don’t know. They’re pretty rare. The girl from Swimfan. Many of John Waters’ characters would qualify.

    I miss Henry (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) on this list.

  • Annoying Psych Major

    And the Girl from The Bad Seed. She’s very list-worthy.

  • Azrael

    Great list and to all those who would complain about the Jason or Freddy not being on the list or whether some of its occupants meet text-book Psychopathy just appreciate it for what it is. Come on people this isn’t supposed to be a dissertation on the Sociopath vs Psychopath or some immutable catalogue of film villainy. Its is exactly what it says it is a list of memorable psychopaths. Everyone on the list is remarkable for the depth of their depravity and the impact left on the viewer. I thought this list was carefully thought out and very poignant. A good read! Thank you Madison.

  • brock

    you make a valid point azrael however this list is called the most memorable movie psychopaths and im pretty sure that nobody has or ever will forget micheal meyers, jason vorhees, or freddy krueger.

  • Madison

    @ Azrael

    This list was made for enjoyment and entertainment, that’s it – so I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading.

    @ brock

    True, but I wanted everyone on this list to be like a real person, not something supernatural.

  • brock

    @madison

    valid point but what about micheal meyers in the first halloween or jasons mom in the original friday the thirteenth they werent really supernatural or anything.

  • Madison

    @ brock

    Good point – Jason’s mom is particularly creepy.

  • ashleyashley

    I think this list is near perfect. I definitely agree that Mallory and Mickey Knox could be added but well done regardless.

    Must be tough having all these fools commenting incorrectly without reading what you wrote about the order and not understanding the difference between scary and a real psychopath.

    Love the list though!

  • mr. 0

    Kane from poltergeist 2
    sam neill at the end of event horizon

  • Melyssa

    Love the list.it even gave me a few to check out.
    I’m just disaponted that you didn’t list Chucky(Chucky movies), Jigsaw(saw movies), Freddie Krueger (nightmare on Elm street), or Jason(Friday the 13th)

  • donald

    Esther from a French film In My Skin. Anyone who eats herself has to be Psycho.
    Also Henry from Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer has to be #1.

  • RUSerious?

    I know this is an old post and everyone bitches about the ranking but one thing I saw on the comments list (I read the entrie article) is that nobody mentioned how fucking scary Norman Bates was. If there was ever a top three psycho list, Norman Bates would be on that list. Until I first saw the movie (the original not the shitty remake) a few days ago, I thought ‘This guy isn’t scary! He’s just a guy that dresses in drag!’. When I saw the scene where he tries to murder Lila, I nearly crapped my pants. The look in Bates’ eyes when he saw his victim was terrifying. A lot of people saw that the shower scene is scary. Yes, but not to me. The scene where he murders Abrogast on the stairs is scary but no scene is more memorable to me then when Bates’ has that glitter in his eye when he tries to kill Lila. The only scene which could be possibly scarier would be the end during the monolouge when Bates’ looks into the camera and smiles…

  • Hmmmmmmm

    This looks like a very mainstream list.

    When you have a chance please watch

    – Angst
    – Old boy
    – Antichrist
    – Bronson
    – Chopper

    And open your mind to the truly psychopathic

  • sammomy

    Very nice list, but what always got me about most of these psycho’s is that most of them are or have been victims themselves. It’s hard not to feel sorry for them.

    Then you got the other kind…
    Take Harry Lime, entrepreneur and chief villain in the third man. Respectable, loved by friends and family, selling bad medicine. His worldview is one of total disregard for anyone and he doesn’t enjoy the suffering he causes, worse… he’s not even interested.

    Or take the police inspector in the original Leon…. creepiest guy on this side of the law I’ve ever seen.
    In any case, great website.

  • Dustin

    Ted Bundy, from the movie Ted Bundy. Killed, and then raped (in that order) over 100 women–all the while keeping the illusion of being a normal human being.
    This movie was the most brutal, calculated, vile thing Ive ever seen. And hollywood couldnt even make it up.

  • Skiigge Boi

    Ugh..I can’t believe The Joker was number 1. Lecter is superior to him.

  • Devotchka

    I love this list. as you can tell Alex is my favorite. I find it sick that I want to be his girl friend lol. But Umm I would say that you forgot the chick from Audition (she scared me silly) and Chuckie/Tiffany, the other ones I had have already been mentioned by ppl so no need to repeat! Thanks for the list anyway

  • Have a Mia-Thai on me

    Good call on Dez and Edele.

    Also, people who hate on The Joker are missing a chromosome, or are pretentious as fuck.

  • Reauxnin

    I think Sid-627 was a pretty fucked up psychopath. From virtuosity with denzel and Russell crowe

  • SoapBox

    Great list….and I’m still laughing at all those people that failed to actually pay attention to “in no particular order”. I was thinking though, have you seen either The Collector, or Repo The Genetic Opera? The Collector was a creepy as hell character! As for Repo, what could be more frightening than a doctor who removes your organs….while you’re still alive! What do you guys think?

  • British Citizen

    Hannibal Lecter was just plain insane and not a psychopath

  • crazypomp927

    I think you could’ve included another Silence of the Lambs character in addition to Hannibal Lecter…Buffalo Bill!!

  • jackjackjack

    EXCELLENT list! September, and still going strong! Good sign of *the WIN*. The question- if you had to choose, would it be better to be a psychopath (random, violent nihilist) or a sociopath (unfeeling social manipulator)? Emotion or economy? Given that you wouldn’t be able to enjoy the second (no emotional ability), or maintain the first (no objective ability)?

    Not that anyone may ever read this far down the comments, but I’d absolutely say that “The Hitcher” deserves a mention for Great Psychopaths. Yes, maybe not the most memorable (minus points) but avidly and in every way exemplary of “clinical” psychosis (from a filmic p.o.v.): he is self-motivated to abnormally violent behavior without any hint of personal gain outside of the act of violence. And since this is about extreme psychopaths, I’d say The Hitcher is about as extreme as you can get- to the point of him having lost any discernible self *beyond* the psychopathy. Possibly the exact quality that makes him less memorable as a character- he’s essentially just a chain of actions- What we would define as human is almost entirely lacking in the Hitcher character (one step above Terminator level- someone should make a chart).

    Compared to the Hitcher, even classic psycho Norman Bates had a deep veneer of assumed personality- heck, two. With no other defining personality traits, the Hitcher is about as close to manifest psychosis as I can think- Anton and John Doe come close, but Anton’s got his “code” and John Doe has his arts & crafts hobbies, and love of interior design (ha!).
    I would say that the Hitcher does display some slight sociopathic traits as well- he is certainly manipulative- but that manipulation is strictly aimed at the goal of additional violence, rather than some other motive (say, material gain).
    On that, I don’t entirely agree with Ashley’s post, or even Annoying Psych Major- there’s a lot of debate about the two terms, and it seems to be swinging in the direction Ashley stated, and I think A.P.Major is correct in the particulars- but I would say discrimination is very helpful- if only as a narrative tool. That is, the defining trait of psychopathy is violence (violence as an objective in itself), while the defining trait of sociopathy is manipulation (towards a subsequent goal). Possibly two sides of the same conscienceless coin, an inability to feel empathy or conscience.
    But that may not be entirely true for the psychopath. It’s certainly possible to imagine a psychopath gaining emotional satisfaction from a victim’s suffering (sadism, which implies empathy, if not sympathy), whereas a sociopath is entirely unmotivated by emotion, merely achievement of personally-defined objective. And I’d say that everyone on the list appears to fit the bill for psychosis-
    With the possible exception of Anton, who appears entirely objective-driven. Anton sure doesn’t seem to get much emotional satisfaction from any of the violence he commits- or anything else. Except that there are many sociopathic characters who are shown feeling emotional enjoyment for at least outsmarting their opponents. ON the other hand, movies wouldn’t be as much fun if every single sociopath or psychopath displayed the same affectless personality of Anton. Extremely dramatic characters like Sweeney Todd clearly don’t make either list, he was motivated by revenge.
    So, for fun comparison and in no particular order, my list of *Memorable Sociopaths* (unfeeling-social-manipulators as opposed to random-violent-nihilists):

    Keyzer Soze (The Usual Suspects)
    Dr. Strangelove (You know it! & Gen’l Jack Ripper deserves passing mention as Psychopath)
    JD (Heathers)
    Harry Lime (The Third Man)
    Harry Powell (Night of the Hunter)
    Various Hitchcock characters films (can’t pick just one, not including Psycho obv.)
    Stansfield (The Professional)
    Hughie Warriner (Dead Calm, clearly motivated by personal gain)
    Tyler Durden (Fight Club- objective planner, even the mass bombing is meant to lead to a further objective)
    Hans Gruber (Die Hard)
    Don Logan (Sexy Beast- debatable, certainly, but ultimately objective-driven)
    Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity)
    Richard Gere character in Unlawful Entry ? (haven’t seen it, but heard good things)

  • Waxlion

    I’m very surprised that no one has mentioned Hans Beckert (Peter Lorre’s character from M) or maybe I’m not, old movies and foreign movies are often overlooked… and old foreign movies… forget about it.

  • Kierston

    This isnt necessaraly one that should be on the list of top psycho’s of all time, but I recently watched an independant film starring Casey Affleck called “The Killer Inside Me”. Absolutly amazing look at the mind and life of a killer. Just wanted to suggest it to any who are interested in this genre.
    Fair warning though…Its has some parts that are highly offensive. But ofcourse, that should be suspected with these types of movies anyways.
    Enjoy!

  • Flee gray

    Leatherface ?

  • Dina

    Hayley Stark from Hard Candy.. She did some frightening shit to that photographer.. Who was also a pedophile. And she did it all at 14 years old.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_Candy_(film)

  • Prester Zane

    What about Scorpio from Dirty Harry? I still get creeped out seeing that actor in completely different roles due to his psycho turn.

  • Eric

    Why is Michael Myers not on this??!?

  • Dollface

    Edward Blake from Watchmen.

  • Al

    Colonel Walter E. Kurtz

  • werr

    ren and stimpey?

  • Wilhelm

    What about Kakihara from Ichi The Killer? He might not be as straight up insane as the Joker but he goes around torturing people for no particularly good reason for god’s sake… that and he’s creepy as hell

  • james

    i reckon u left out the aunt from Jack Ketchums “The Girl Next Door”

  • audrey

    wait, you missed michael myers and freddy krueger! what the heck!!

  • Jack

    What about Peter and Paul from funny games.

  • Tom

    the family in house of a thousand corpses…

  • Rich5665

    A great list, I have to agree that people need to learn how to read. As for the Joker. Heath Ledger’s Joker was nearly dead on to that of the DC Character. A character that kills just for the sheer pleasure, tortures people because it’s fun.

  • etrash

    To anyone saying Anton isn’t a psychopath, not sure I agree.

    There were some scenes where he was wild eyed crazy.

    1. His 2nd killing (old man in white car). His smile when talking to the guy is one of the creepiest scenes in film.

    2. Talking to Wells just before killing him, he seemed like he wasn’t all there.

    Can someone be both at the same time or drift between the two states? I think Bundy did.

    Anyway, some great comments above, enjoyed the read.

  • TheCreeper901

    Where are Reverend Kane from Poltergeist, Peter Stegman from Class of 1984 and Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

    Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers, as well, obviously.

  • Too much love obsession can make a psychopath reveal itself: “Star 80;” “Ten To Midnight.” I also think Laurence Fishburne in “King Of New York” graduated to a psychopath laughing while being killed, bullet after bullet at point blank range. And, let’s not forget “Serial Mom.”

  • Oh yha, the guy in love with driving “Christine” (1958 Plymouth Fury) in John Carpenter’s movie. About time for a remake of that isn’t it?

  • Do programed psychopathic robots count as all time best? It’s not supper natural and its futuristically possible: “Terminator” and “Hardware.”

  • In answer to “jackjackjack” above, “The Hitcher” is excellent, but as far as self-motivated to abnormally violent behavior without any hint of personal gain outside of the act of violence, it aint’ got nothin’ on “The Hills Have Eyes” by Wes Craven.

  • Manwunnikarl

    Dude, stop calling it “Heath Ledger’s” or “Christopher Nolan’s” Joker, when it is clearly FRANK MILLER’S Joker AND Batman!

    Frank Miller is the master who lay down the lines for lesser men (Ledger/Nolan) to carry out. No Miller/Year One, no cool-ass bat and Joker. It was Miller who took the clown out of the Joker, not Nolan or Ledger. Give the man props!

  • Check out my list of the Top 20 Movie Psychopaths:

    http://www.brandonmichaelblack.com/lists/top20moviepsychopaths.htm

  • Glory

    In Fatal Atraction. She’s not psychopat, she’s borderline, but not psychopat Don’t get confuse.

  • Joe

    I just read through this list. While I haven’t seen all of these movies, I have to say that you are WAY off on many that I have seen. While a few on the list are legitimate psychopaths, such as Mr. Blonde, most are not psychopaths at all. Several are psychotic (not the same as psychopathic), and several have Borderline Personality Disorder.

  • me

    GOOD GOOD GOOD, i dont know you and probably never will, i tho this was great, def liked your style finded it by google, heh, GRATZ ! keep going!!

  • Miriam

    Madison, wonderful list, thank you for taking the time to put it together…

  • John W

    Man I don’t even remember the whole Dez and Edele story line.