Which Character Is The “Most Realistic” Silver Screen Psychopath?

Murderous Businessman [iStockPhoto]

From Alex DeLarge of Clockwork Orange to Norman Bates of Psycho, Hollywood has brought us many memorable psychopathic killers. But who is the most realistic?

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Belgian psychiatry professor Samuel Leistedt and his team watched 400 movies spanning from 1915 to 2010 for their 2014 study. The team concluded that Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) of No Country for Old Men was the most believable psychopath.

Leistedt and his colleagues concluded in their report that Chigurh was a classic psychopath due to his ability to appear completely normal before killing people, according to Business Insider. “He seems to be effectively invulnerable and resistant to any form of emotion or humanity,” the researchers wrote.

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Freddy Krueger [Wikimedia Commons]

Freddy Krueger [Wikimedia Commons]

The researchers also mentioned the child killer portrayed in the 1931 German film “M” (Peter Lorre) and the title character, based on Henry Lee Lucas (Michael Rooker), in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer as believable bad guys. Leistedt said that Henry’s turbulent and disorganized personal life made him a textbook “idiopathic psychopath.”

But famous maniacs like American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) and Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) in Silence of the Lambs did not make the cut. According to Leistedt and his team, these characters did not fit the psychopath mold.

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The iconic killer characters that dominate slasher films, including Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, aren’t psychopaths. The team wrote that they had qualities including the “ability to predict the plan that the future victims will use to escape” that makes them Hollywood caricatures rather than real-life killers.

They also noted that there were not many fictional female serial killers depicted in movies — with characters including Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) in Misery and Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) in Basic Instinct as notable exceptions.

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Read more: Business Insider 

Main photo: Murderous Businessman [iStockPhoto]



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