Ideas

A taxonomy of movie psychos

Psychiatrist Samuel Leistedt sorts the diagnosable cases from the villains of pure fantasy

Psychiatry professor Samuel Leistedt watched 400 movies, identified 126 psychopathic characters, and sorted them into four broad clinical categories:

Classic/idiopathic
Rooted in biology; low levels of fear or anxiety; complete lack of empathy or remorse; outwardly calm but capable of extreme cruelty.
Manipulative
Use charm, seduction, and deception to exploit victims; most common crimes involve fraud and confidence tricks; extremely adept at maintaining "mask."
Pseudopsychopath
Bear some characteristics of psychopathy, but thought to suffer primarily from other disorders, such as psychosis; prone to violent outbursts.
Macho
Intimidate through violence or threat; lose temper frequently; impulsive and relatively easy to identify; most likely to end up in prison for drug-related crimes or assault.

Apart from these types, a psychopath can be primary (no known cause) or secondary (psychopathy as a product of environment).

Filter the 126 characters by date of movie release, type of psychopathy, primary or secondary origin, or gender. Roll over the images to see more details of each one. Click here to see how this appeared in print.

By year of movie release
Type
Origin
Gender
SOURCE: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Chiqui Esteban, Patrick Garvin/Globe Staff