More iconic psychopaths, including Patrick Bateman (“American Psycho”), Gordon Gekko (“Wall Street”), Norman Bates (“Psycho”), and Hannibal Lecter (“Silence of the Lambs”), may be entertaining or frightening, but Leistedt and his team argue their character traits don’t quite fit the psychopath mold.
Norman Bates, for example, seems more to be more delusional — or psychotic — than psychopathic. He is at the mercy of a fantasy, not complicit in a real-world crime.
“In our specific topic of interest, it appears that psychopathy in the cinema, despite a real clinical evolution remains fictional,” the authors write. “Most of the psychopathic villains in popular fiction resemble international and universal boogeyman, almost as ‘villain archetypes.'”