It's all fun and games whenever you're rooting for the film's resident psycho, but it all gets worrying once you start agreeing with their opinions.
Regardless of realism and authenticity, the portrayal of the psychopath in film is perhaps the safest and accessible way any of us would ever get close to these monsters. Thus, here's a work in progress list of my personal favourites in the slept-on movie maniacs canon - aka, "Movie Psychos WhatCulture and every other trash clickbait site would never include".
Dada Debaser's Underrated Pychopaths
Cody Jarrett / White Heat (Raoul Walsh, 1949)
Freddie Clegg / The Collector (William Wyler, 1965)
Martin Durnley, aka Georgie Clifford / Twisted Nerve (Roy Boulting, 1968)
Scorpio / Dirty Harry (Don Siegel, 1971)
Evelyn Draper / Play Misty For Me (Clint Eastwood, 1971)
Robert Rusk / Frenzy (Alfred Hitchcock, 1972)
Krug Stillo / The Last House on the Left (Wes Craven, 1972)
Giulio Sacchi / Almost Human (Umberto Lenzi, 1974)
Ezra Cobb / Deranged (Jeff Gillen & Alan Ormsby, 1974)
Dorothy Yates / Frightmare (Pete Walker, 1974)
Cain Adamson / Born For Hell (Denis Héroux, 1976)
David / Massacre at Central High (Rene Daalder, 1976)
Donny Kohler / Don't Go in the House (Joseph Ellison, 1979)
Bobbi / Dressed to Kill (Brian De Palma, 1980)
Alex / House on the Edge of the Park (Ruggero Deodato, 1980)
Wez / Max Max 2: The Road Warrior (George Miller, 1981)
Peter Stegman / Class of 1984 (Mark L. Lester, 1982)
Ramrod / Vice Squad (Gary Sherman, 1982)
K, the Psychopath / Angst (Gerald Kargl, 1983)
Warren Stacy / 10 to Midnight (J. Lee Thompson, 1983)
Bennett / Commando (Mark L. Lester, 1985)
John Ryder / The Hitcher (Robert Harman, 1986)
Clarence Boddicker / Robocop (Paul Verhoeven, 1987)
Jimmy Jump / King of New York (Abel Ferrara, 1990)
Cain / Robocop 2 (Irvin Kershner, 1990)
O-Dog / Menace II Society (Albert Hughes & Allan Hughes, 1993)
Dennis Skinner / Skinner (Ivan Nagy, 1993)
John Martin / Roadkill: The Last Days of John Martin (Jim Van Bebber, 1994)
Kai / Ebola Syndrome (Herman Yau, 1996)
Captain Zhurov / Cargo 200 (Alexei Balabanov, 2007)
Lola / The Loved Ones (Sean Byrne, 2009)
Louis Bloom / Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy, 2014)
Jack, aka Mr. Sophistication / The House That Jack Built (Lars Von Trier, 2018)
Dada Debaser Notes:
- Left out real crime biopics. However, there are a number of fictional movies listed which were inspired by real events, e.g the Richard Speck student nurse murders.
- Da gawds David Hess and Vernon Wells are the only two actors I could think of that have played made for film iconic psychopaths more than once that's worthy this my list. Thought about Anthony Wong's Wong Chi Hang from The Untold Story, but that's a true crime horror, imo.
- Purposefully left out a massive chunk of slasher maniacs since I think they deserve their own damn list; along with them always taking precedence and hogging the limelight. Donny Kohler is pretty much the underground equivalent of Frank Zito, anyway.
- Various insane killers from the giallo genre were also ommitted as the list would have been dominated by them. Best villains in gialli, along with their bonkers motives to kill, is definitely worth making a list for in forseeable future.
- Films involving mad cult leaders and groups, or any kind of mass psychosis would belong in a separate category.
- Given this is a list of what I consider underrated psychos in film, then Wings Hauser, aka Ramrod the crazy rhinestone cowboy pimp from Vice Squad singing the theme, Neon Slime, is the logical flip side to Michael Sembello's Maniac.