Monday, August 29, 2022

Dada Debaser's Underrated Movie Psychopaths

The Collector (Modern Art Scene)
William Wyler, 1965 

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)

Edward Lionheart / Theatre of Blood (Douglas Hickox, 1973)

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.
Wings Hauser - Neon Slime (Theme from Vice Squad)
Vice Squad Soundtrack, 1982


Kelvin Mack10zie said...

I guess someone like Don Logan probably wouldn't qualify as underrated, right?

Shout out to Hando in Romper Stomper and Sammy in The Business as a couple of personal favourite non-Yank choices.

I dunno if George in Mona Lisa is a psychopath or just an angry violent short-arse, but that bit where he jumps up to headbutt the pimp is one of the best bits of movie violence ever IMO.

Spartan said...

Yeah, I doubt Don Logan would qualify, but then again I did include Cody Jarrett, Scorpio, Bennett and Clarence Boddicker on the list.

Ain't seen Romper Stomper since the early nineties. Might have to check it out again.

Only after hitting "Publish" did I realise David Hess and Vernon Wells also played psychos in Hitch-Hike and Innerspace, respectively.

Best George moment from Mona Lisa was after he got friendzoned by Simone, he fucked off and left her to deal with her mess.

Kelvin Mack10zie said...

George should be as celebrated a character as Harold Shand imo.

Romper Stomper holds up well and there was TV spin-off series from 4 or 5 years
ago which was surprisingly good.

Spartan said...

Harold Shand and Kenny King are some of the best character names in British cinema, imo.

Drowning in films over here. Completely forgot I bought the new blu-ray just a few days ago.

Have you heard of a German film called The Golden Glove (2019)? Feel like this might make the list.

Kelvin Mack10zie said...

😄 Perfect timing to revisit Romper Stomper then.

Never heard of that. Can't even remember the last new German movie I watched.

Spartan said...

I'll try and watch Romper Stomper later tonight.

The German language flicks I tend to watch tend to be a bit grim. Still too intimidated to sit and watch Melancholie der Engel.