An Interactive Analysis of Movie Psychos

An Interactive Analysis of Movie Psychos

The Boston Globe whipped up this really cool interactive graphic that analyzes the different types of psychos that grace our movie screens. The interface was created as a supplement to this feature about Psychiatrist Samuel Leistedt and his three-year study into movie psychopaths. Leistedt watched 400 movies for his research, narrowing down his psychopath list to 126 different fictional characters, each one classified by four categories: classic/idiopathic, manipulative, pseudopsychopath, and macho.

Surprisingly, well-known crazy characters, like Hannibal Lector, were left out. Leistedt’s reasoning? “He’s too smart,” he says. “He’s successful in everything he does. He eats his victims and he breaks out of jail. He gets inside people’s heads. He’s not physically large, but he’s very powerful. That’s not reality.” However, psychos that did make the list include American Psycho‘s Patrick Bateman, Training Day‘s Alonzo Harris, and Blue Velvet‘s Frank Booth.

The interactive feature can be filtered by year, sex, origin, and psychopath type. It’s interesting to see that no women characters exist under the “pseudopsychopath” or “macho” category. And there’s a surprising rise in “idiopathic” psychos in the ’90s and ’00s. Crazy.

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