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6 Murderous Psychopaths: A Halloween Gift From MamaPop To You

Nightbreed_CronenbergAs an extension of MamaPop's ongoing effort to bring you the best in wholesome, family-friendly fun, we'd like to offer you the following list of some of our favorite murderous psychopaths. Some you may know, some you may not... but all of them deserve a very dark, twisted and frightening part of your life.

1. Dr. Phillip K. Decker - Nightbreed
You may already know and love David Cronenberg as the writer/director responsible for Viggo Mortensen's extended naked remix in Eastern Promises, as well as the man behind such diverse and disturbing films as Naked Lunch, The Fly and the extraordinary A History of Violence. You may be less familiar, however, with his onscreen role as respected therapist and (spoiler alert... oh, wait: it's an article about murderous psychos. Never mind.) bloodthirsty family-killer Dr. Phillip Decker in Clive Barker's otherwise middling Nightbreed. The movie itself is a half-assed mishmash of fake mythos and monsters, but standing head and shoulders above the menagerie of critters that litter the film is Cronenberg's Decker: a gently-murmuring, doctorate-level professional in an expensive suit who, on occasion, enjoys slipping on the freakiest fucking mask of all time and killing entire families.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not claiming that Nightbreed is an unsung horror classic, because it's not — certainly not even close to the level of Barker's Hellraiser or Hellraiser 2. But Decker alone is almost worth the price of admission, if only for the scene in the kitchen where... *shudder*

2. Mrs. Voorhees - Friday the 13th
What... you didn't know that it turns out that Mrs. Voorhees (and not the subsequently ubiquitous Jason) who kills all them happy campers in the original Friday the 13th? Oops. My bad. That is, of course, the big surprise gotcha at the end of the movie, when frenzied, terrified and bad-hair victimized Adrienne King goes running screaming through the woods away from once-idyllic Camp Crystal Lake, where some unseen nutjob has butchered all of her compatriot counselors, only to find herself safe in the welcoming arms of Mrs. Voorhees... played by Betsy Palmer, about a million miles away from her far more wholesome role in 1955 classic Mister Roberts.

Oh, Adrienne. This is what you get for trusting burly women who meander through the woods at night.

3. Norman Stansfield - The Professional
Alright, so this isn't technically a horror movie. But you can't have any worthwhile list of film psychos without bringing a little Gary Oldman into the mix — and his killer DEA agent Norman Stansfield has always been a personal favorite of mine. Film history is rife with cops gone bad, paradigms of perverted justice, but even within this hallowed tradition Norman is worthy of distinction. The fact that we don't actually realize that he's a cop until after his first, long scene - in which he and his cohorts murder young Natalie Portman's entire family as a function of some kind of drug thing gone wrong - just goes to show how completely badass he is. I mean... fer crissakes: they shoot her little brother. It's awful, and she basically walks through the aftermath of the massacre while pretending to be a bystander... with Stansfield watching her carefully the whole time, tweaking viciously on speed, suspicious of everyone, trying to reign in his murderous rage and keep his DEA agent mask on effectively. It's a chilling portrait of evil, and it beautifully sets up a film where a contract killer - Jean Reno's professional of the title - serves as a believable counterpoint/hero.

4. John Ryder - The Hitcher
Let's be clear: I'm not talking about the craptastic remake that sucked all the fun out of the movie. I'm talking about the original — the 1986 creepfest with C. Thomas Howell as our feckless young protagonist, Jennifer Jason Leigh showing how Fast Times' Stacey Hamilton might come to a bad end, and Rutger... good lord: Rutger Hauer showing us all just how charming, charismatic and terrifying he can be. The film's storyline is straightforward enough, a validation that everything our parents ever taught us about the dangers of picking up a hitchhiker was entirely well-founded. But add in loads of atmosphere, the iconic desolation of the southwest, and the sinister glint in Rutger's eyes... and damn: you've got a psycho worth remembering.

5. Jame Gumb - The Silence of the Lambs
Who hasn't entertained their children by talking like Jame Gumb for entire hours at a time?


Fine, be that way. You guys suck. But I'm telling you: my daughters love it.

6. Dad Meiks - Frailty
Perhaps the most legitimately unnerving of all of these films, Frailty features Bill Paxton (who also directed) as the widowed, God-fearing father of two young boys who one day announces to them that he has been chosen - by the aforementioned God - to act as avenging angel with the help of a pair of gloves, a lead pipe, and an axe named Otis. What follows is an extremely disturbing story of filial piety, religious mania and the search for justice that offers more unexpected twists, strong, believable characters and deeply emotive and morally ambivalent writing than you have any right to expect. If you haven't seen it... by all means: check it out.

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Nightbreed?!! Hell yea!

Also, Oldman was a complete and justly placed psychopath.

foradifferentkindofgirl (fadkog)

My not so secret love affair with David Boreanaz had be remarking "Nightbreed? I have never heard of this cinematic masterpiece! Why hasn't David told me of this so I could watch it? In the daylight?"

Then I realized it was just Craig Sheffer, and I was all, "Meh..."

It means I'm also stuck watching "Valentine"


oh, the Hitcher gave me nightmares . sometimes when I lie in bed I am scared to turn over (and see him).


Frailty is AWESOME. And was totally under-rated.


Thank you!!! I saw half of Frailty years ago. My dad and I loved it, but then we forgot what it was called. We've been talking about "that movie with the dad who kills people with the awesome ending" for years. I don't know why we never Googled it, but now I can finally see it start to finish. Thanks!


I would also nominate Anthony Hopkins in Magic. What's more creepy than a homicidal psychopath? A homicidal psychopath ventriloquist with a creepy dummy, of course!


Gary Oldman gives any movie a bigass touch of OH HELL YEAH!! i luv him...All these movies are fantastic and nekkid Viggo,OH HELL YEAH!!! Thank you David for that.


Can I just say that I was totally floored when I realized that Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs is Ted Levine? CAPTAIN STOTTLEMEYER from Monk? The foundations, they were rocked.


Oh yeah - NO ONE better than Gary Oldman at doing a complete psychopath, but he's just awesome in any role. My ginormous Gary Oldman crush is showing.......


Buffalo Bill lived in my old neighborhood in NYC - I used to see him and his kids in Central Park all the time, and the urge to bellow "It puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again!!" was very powerful.

Also, the girl in the hole in Silence of the Lambs? Dr. Hahn from Grey's Anatomy!

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