Psychopaths are one of the most fascinating characters seen in movies. Their mad and troubled lives attract our morbid curiosities. The psychopaths in these films are unhinged and unleash their inner chaos in the outer world. They commit crimes with impunity. These crimes are often gruesome and disturbing but are prime content for movies. Over the years, lots of films have been based on the origin stories and lives of psychopaths. We see how troubled individuals descend to madness and give in to their darkest impulses. They truly are one of the scariest antagonists on the big screen.
Forget monsters, aliens, ghosts, and the like, psychopaths are the most terrifying to us humans. Perhaps, it shows us what humans can become. However, not all psychopaths are equally frightening. We rank the most terrifying of these madmen ever shown in movies.
5. Annie Wilkes – Misery (1990)
The lead actor Kathy Bates won an Oscar for her role as the deranged nurse Annie Wilkes. The story was adapted from a novel by Stephen King of the same name. In the film, a writer, Paul, meets with an accident and is rescued by the nurse. The nurse, Annie Wilkes, claims herself to be his number 1 fan. However, unbeknownst to him, she is a psychopath and has entrapped him in her house. What follows is mad and unsettling behavior on her part. She tortures the writer Paul and is often displeased by the way he writes his stories. The character of Annie Wilkes is nightmarish and makes a spot on this list.
4. John Doe – Seven (1995)
The psychopath, John Does is obsessed with the seven deadly sins, he goes on to murder several victims in grotesque and disturbing ways in light of the theme of the seven deadly sins: Wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. These are well-planned and cunning homicides that tease the police. In a game of cat and mouse, it is Doe who ends up having the last laugh by executing one of the most horrible ending twists to a movie ever. The film was received rave reviews and the performance of Kevin Spacey as John Doe was especially applauded.
3. Anton Chigurh – No Country For Old Men (2007)
This film was one of actor Javier Bardem’s finest acts. He played the psychopath Anton Chigurh, who was a hitman for hire. However, he was no ordinary assassin, he relished and enjoyed his murders. Moreover, he killed random people that crossed his path. His goofy attire and hair contributed to his scary image. He was a monstrous killer who ranks third on our list.
2. Hannibal Lecter – The Silence of the Lambs ( 1991)
Hannibal Lecter is the stuff of nightmares. Played by Anthony Hopkins, he was a Psychiatrist who himself had a serious mental illness. The film and Hopkins, both won Oscars, and the film was a landmark. The FBI enlisted his help on a case and broke out of prison by viciously killing the guards. He could oscillate between a person with fine manners and an absolute mad man at will. All this made his character very scary and indeed he deserves the 2nd spot on this list.
1. Patrick Bateman – American Psycho (2000)
Widely considered one of the actor, Patrick Bateman’s finest performances, American Psycho is a cult classic film. He plays the role of a psychopath who is an investment banker. When not obsessing over his material possessions, he commits violent murders. Completely detached, he often discusses his taste in music while chopping other people. He openly confesses to killing people and is disbelieved by his colleagues. Patrick Bateman is the worst psychopath of them all!