The great psychos of cinema have been everything from downright disgusting to charismatic wordsmiths that make you feel that they might be fun to go out with. We love them and hate them almost equally. Today we take a look at the most brilliant psychopaths in film, the special breed whose intelligence is only seconded by their insanity. Spoiler Alert!
10. Vann Siegert – The Minus Man
The Psychopath: A very quiet Owen Wilson once made audiences terrified of him in this sleeper film. Vann is a killer with a simple compulsion of poisoning people that bothers him. The incredibly low-key personality never registers with the town’s people he tries to settle in with. He moves unsuspectingly through the residents, dropping little drops into their coffee and watching them simply fall asleep.
Moment of Brilliance: Using a rare tree derived poison instead of violence. Zero attention.
Fatal Flaw: He kills too close to home.
9. Evelyn Ann Thompson – The Shape of Things
The Psychopath: This film is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of brilliant movie psychos. But be sure, Rachel Weisz ‘s main antagonist, Evelyn, fits the bill.
Evelyn’s calculating and morally corrupt character twists poor shy Adam (played by Paul Rudd) into a “loving” relationship in which she uses her influence to change him physically and mentally with suggestion alone.
Adam finally proposes to the beautiful Evelyn while she invites him to the presentation of her final “art project” for her masters. She reveals, completely devoid of empathy, that Adam himself is the art project and their whole relationship was nothing more than an experiment to see how much you could suggest a change without them knowing it. You never see it coming and she plays the whole thing like a symphony.
Moment of Brilliance: Playing things so subtle that Adam feels all of his decisions are his own, even the choice of plastic surgery for his nose.
Fatal Flaw: She is too smart for her own britches. She has to show off her whole plan in front of everyone.
8. Catherine Tramell – Basic Instinct
The Psychopath: Sharon Stone arrived on the Hollywood scene with one defining leg move. But with all the hoopla around her sensuous sex scenes, the real force of her performance was left a little under the radar.
Playing a crime fiction writer, one of her lovers turns up dead in a frightfully similar manner than one in her books. With a cocky Michael Douglas following her heels, she twists us around so much that before you know it we’re knee deep in one of her highly designed stories. Only to slip away at the end with a new best seller, the one that we have just watched.
Did she mimic one of her own stories in real life only to use the unfolding aftermath as fodder for her next one? Just don’t go looking into the sequel for any answers.
Moment of Brilliance: Using her seduction to transfer the focus of investigation from herself to the jilted ex-lover of her new plaything, Michael Douglas.
Fatal Flaw: Can’t resist some good ole’ rollin’ in the hay, DNA abound!
7. Jigsaw – SAW
The Psychopath: With a cunning stunt of tracking specific people and catering a very deliberate and dangerous trap for each of them, The Jigsaw killer ranks as the grand tinkerer of film psychos. While the whole time slowly dying of a brain disease is still able to concoct ruthless traps of torture with one way out. Choosing victims that need a “moral boost” creates death traps that will help them see the error of their ways.
Moment of Brilliance: Playing dead for an entire movie while his two victims go crazy trying to solve their escape. With their salvation being only a few feet away.
Fatal Flaw: Brain cancer.
6. The Joker – The Dark Knight
The Psychopath: The fact that The Joker got as much done as he did while being completely out of his mind is enough to put him with the greats. Even while the whole time promoting chaos, he achieves feats even the most organized criminal would have a hard time even attempting. The killing of the Commissioner Loeb and the Judge was an especially complicated move. With wild-eyed abandon and extreme moral ambiguity he brought a whole city to its knees.
Moment of Brilliance: Concocting an elaborate chase of the police truck only to get captured on purpose in order to blow up the police station and send Batman on a fool’s errand to stop a bomb from killing his two friends.
Fatal Flaw: Destined to do this forever, no killing batman payoff…hence never getting the job done that he started in the beginning of the movie. Dogs chasing cars.