My unending search for unique and special taxonomies took a dark turn this week into the world of psychopaths, specifically those in movies. This interesting taxonomy was found on The Boston Globe in their post, “A taxonomy of movie psychos.” The various traits associated with psychopaths include narcissism, callousness, destructiveness, deviousness, impulsiveness, and the inability to feel love, empathy, or remorse. Psychopaths, while not always violent, are consistently horrible.

A research paper titled “Psychopathy and the Cinema: Fact or Fiction?” was recently published. In the article, the co-authors (Samuel J. Leistedt and Paul Linkowski) presented a list of 126 fictional psychopaths—gleaned from 400 movies made between 1915 and 2010—selected based on what they call the “clinical accuracy of their profiles.”

Characters like Tony Montana (Scarface), Tom Ripley, Anton Chigurh—all of them possess at least some of the traits associated with psychopathy. Interestingly enough, Hannibal Lecter didn’t make the list because movies that are outlandish and overly dramatic were considered outliers. But never fear, Norman Bates (Psycho) made the cut. Pun totally intended.

Melody K. Smith

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