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My Favorite Serial Killer, Psychos, and Nut Job Movies

  • Aug 30, 2009
Again these are presented in NO PARTICUALR ORDER, but there's something here for everybody.
Henry - Portrait of a Serial Killer
You'd have to look long and hard to find a more convincing serial killer than Michael Rooker in this film very loosely based on the exploits of Henry Lee Lucas and Otis Toole.
Deranged/Motel Hell Double Feature
Some object to the comedic tone of this film but I like it. They also have problems with the narrator who pops in and out of the movie--but to those of us who remember the heyday of Geraldo Rivera, it's like old home week. This is undoubtedly the most accurate film made to date about Ed Gein upon whom such divergent films as PSYCHO and TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE were based.
Heavenly Creatures (1994)
Peter Jackson directed and co-wrote this film based on the real life Parker--Hulme case in Christchurch, New Zealand. Kate Winslet stars as a girl who plots with her friend to kill her mother when she threatens to break up their relationship. There's a very strong fantasy element in the film and in their relationship as well, which also has overtones of lesbianism which concerned Parker's mother.
The harrowing story of a schizophrenic who upon his release searches for his daughter, all the while he's being hunted by a police detective who believes him to be a child killer intent upon murdering the child. After seeing this film you'll have some inkling of what it must feel like to be schizophrenic. A must see.
High School can be brutal and cliques can be killers. Don't miss this cult favorite, there's nothing like it even though many have tried!
The Tenant
Trelkovsky comes by his new apartment when something horrible tragic happens to its previous tenant, but soon he comes to feel that the same fate may await him.
The Cell
How I wish I had seen this one on the big screen! The interior of a serial killer's mind has never looked this intriguing, and Vincent D'Onofrio is somehow alternately creepy as hell and oddly sympathetic as the killer.
Another story of a schizophrenic under going a breakdown as her sister leaves her isolated in their apartment where her hallucinations run rampant.
There has never been a doctor as mad as Jeffrey Combs' Henry West. He does Lovecraft proud.
The Dentist
And I was afraid of dentists BEFORE I saw this flick! A must see for any connoisseur of horror--even those of us who aren't really into gore, which normally includes me!
Audition (Unrated) (Dir Sub)
A cautionary tale about dating. They simply don't come any scarier than the whack job in this Miike flick.
Pretty Poison
Arsonist Anthony Perkins has just been released from a psychiatric hospital when he encounters pretty cheerleader Tuesday Weld who he desperately wants to impress. She falls for his fantastic stories of his career as a covert agent with the F.B.I. and the next thing you know things are going very wrong. A must see dark comedy that was remade with (ugh) Vince Vaughn?!
Hard Candy
A classic film in which a guy bites off a little more than he can chew when he picks up a young girl with thoughts of molestation on his mind.
Peter Lorre stars as a child murder who has been eluding the police in this Fritz Lang classic, and it isn't until the Criminal Underworld gets involved in the search for him that things begin to happen.
Dead and Buried
Things seem a bit odd in the pleasant little village of Potters Bluff lately. Is the Sheriff going nuts or what?
The Machinist
Trevor hasn't slept in over a year and he's in a constant state of confusion. Is someone trying to drive him mad? Is he hallucinating? How do you wake up from a nightmare if you're not asleep?
Love Object
Kenneth led a lonely life until he bought anatomically correct and outrageously lifelike Nikki, in fact she changed his life and made a new man out of him. So much so that Lisa noticed him at last! Unfortunately, Nikki was a little TOO lifelike.
The Stepfather
The original version of this flick was of course, original and thus far better than the new remake. Do yourself a favor and track it down.
A very credible job of recreating the life of Aileen Wuornos, who gained notoriety as America's first female serial killer before meeting her death in Old Sparky.
Phantom of the Paradise
William Finley stars as the horribly disfigured composer who sells his soul to Paul Williams for a chance to have his music performed by Phoenix, the love of his life. A funny celebration of glam rock.
Crazy as Hell
Combine and arrogant psychiatrist who likes to play God with with a new patient who calls himself "Satan" and you've got an interesting storyline coming up.
Larry Cohen's story of how a sleazy, amoral publicist is cornered by a serial killer who's decided to clean up the town one scumbag at a time--unless...
Ed Gein
The second most accurate film about Eddie, and should not to be confused with the film ED GEIN; THE BUTCHER OF PLAINSFIELD which turned Gein into just another warmed up version of Leatherface or Jason.
Films from New Zealand are rarely mundane, they're always a bit odd, and this one is no exception. It seems to be just another delusional serial killer trying to manipulate a psychiatrist ordered to evaluate him, but there's more to it than that.
Mad Love
Peter Lorre again, this time as the Dr. Gogol a gifted surgeon who falls in love with and then obsesses over the star of the local Grand Guignol Theater. A version of the oft filmed "Hands of Orlac".
A disturbed girl becomes even more disturbed when her boyfriend rejects her. He thought he liked "weird girls" but he had no idea how weird weird can really get.
Poster for the movie
Rutger Hauer is just one freaky dude.
Based on the true case of the Soviet Union's most proliic serial killer--he liked children, but would settle for the mentally handicapped. Stephen Rae star as the cop/medical examiner who attempts to track him down.

What did you think of this list?

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August 08, 2010
I've seen a couple of these movies. The Cell I remember looking very bric a brack in the "Hell" scenes.
August 10, 2010
I thought it was a pretty nice visualization of what a psychos comatose brain might conjure up. Better than DREAMSCAPE, that's for sure.
August 08, 2010
Haven't seen #'s 23 and 19. Methinks I'll give those a look. Where is Buffalo Bill (from SE7EN) and Aunt Ruth from The Girl Next Door? Nice list! I am so featuring it!
August 09, 2010
Haven't even heard of THE GIRL NEXT DOOR. But isn't Buffalo Bill from SILENCE OF THE LAMBS not SE7EN? Doesn't matter because I don't like either film. The cops in SE7EN were so dumb. How could they not notice that the guy was turning himself in without having completed his project--and without noticing what sin it was he had omitted? Stupid. I don't like being treated as if I don't have a brain. (she said, ignoring that embarrassing thing that happened with MOON.)
August 09, 2010
Hm, let me see...(checks) you're right. It is John Doe from Se7en (my mistake). Oh, "The Girl Next Door" is the one film that Trashie thought was brilliant but he wasn't entertained because of how it was such a scorcher.
August 09, 2010
I am surprised you didn't like Silence of the Lambs though.
August 09, 2010
I am surprised you didn't like that one too! I saw SE7EN and didn't care for that one; it seemed rather dark and oppressing to me.  Monster was even more scarier to me since it was based on a true character.
August 10, 2010
I don't use them as IQ tests either =) but telling me how the movie is going to end 90 seconds into it is just insulting. I remember the review now from the little bit about the children. Did you like LOVE OBJECT? SILENCE OF THE LAMBS just couldn't stand up against HENRY;PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER as far as I was concerned and it sort of annoyed me that LAMBS was being praised almost as if it were high art while HENRY was being picketed by people who hadn't even bothered to see it. Now Michael Rooker was SCARY. Anthony Hopkins was just chewing the scenery.
August 10, 2010
I obviously like movies that are a little off the beaten path and that was the appeal of LOVE OBJECT. I own it but I'm not sure how many times I'm ever going to watch it again. Bizarre is nice. HENRY on the other hand actually (I use that word a lot, time to find another one) has one of the few scenes that scared me. I don't scare. I can be grossed out. In fact it's easier to gross me out now than when I was 20. But only 2 movies have ever really scared me THE THING when I was 4 (the original, not the remake) and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD because I had nightmares exactly like that. But HENRY has this one scene where absolutely nothing happens and it still scared me. Hats off to them for that.
August 10, 2010
that is true "Henry" is pretty brilliant in its own way. I liked "Lambs" more because of the characters, it made the story. Se7en had flaws but that ending was a shocker; may be a little heavy but still a shocker. I love NOTLD and I even liked the colored remake in the 80's (I think). I do really want Karen to read THE WALKING DEAD though.
August 11, 2010
WOOP! I can't believe that you were shocked by the ending to SE7EN! Okay, I didn't know until I saw the size of the box that the guy was going to cut her head off, but it was pretty obvious that one sin had been omitted and that it was part of his plan--maybe I've just seen too many movies. I couldn't figure out why Morgan Freeman couldn't see that he had something planned. How dumb can you get?  The NOTLD remake was done in 1990. AERIN--Maybe other people wouldn't even be bothered by the scene that scared me. I know that all of the guys I've talked to about it don't get it at all, so maybe it's a female thing...or maybe it's just me. I'll be interrested in finding out. I really don't know any women who have seen the flick.
August 11, 2010
it wasn't so much as shocked but I thought the timing was nicely played that the climax made the movie effective. See, they do know that two sins still had to be committed but they didn't know how it was going to be executed.
August 11, 2010
So they played the game his way.
August 13, 2010
Oh you got it. It's the scene where Henry leaves the apartment to go buy cigarettes after Becky has come on to him. Henry has this sexual problem you know and going for cigarettes means that someone's going to die. He meets a whole slew of potential victims, all of whom are rude to him in one way or another. Then he comes across the woman walking her dog and she's practically asking for it. Not only is she rude, but she turns her back on him and proceeds to walk down a dark alley! Henry starts to go after her...but then for no apparent reason changes his mind and goes back home without having killed anyone. (However once he gets there he winds up killing Otis who's attempting to rape Becky., which is an incredible surprise in itself because we've been led to believe that this is more or less the true story of Henry Lee Lucas and Otis Toole and that's not what happened to them at all! Man the film makers really surprised me here.) So anyhow, yeah, you guessed the scene. I think every woman has had the feeling that she's being followed at one time or another only to feel that she was being paranoid when the guy turned off. Well, maybe she wasn't being paranoid. Maybe he just changed his mind for no apparent reason. Just like Henry.
August 13, 2010
It wasn't until after I'd seen the movie that I realized that they had never used the last names Lucas and Toole. How clever, just letting me mislead myself like that. What with Lucas being in prison in Texas where he was later executed and Toole (as you know) in Florida where he died of Aids, I sure didn't expect Henry to kill Otis. My head was reeling. One reason that whole thing with the woman in the alley creeps me out so much is this one time when I was followed--that I was sure of it that is. I was driving home from work at about 1:00 in the morning, going through a light industrial area, and I noticed this guy following me. So I did a few turns to make sure of it. He made them too. Then he pulled up alongside me at a stop light (yeah, I stopped) and grinned. I went through the light then and so did he. Turns out he knew that area better than I did because I tried to shake him but I wound up in a dead in behind some buildings. So I turned the car around and tried to figure out what I was going to do when he came around that corner. But he didn't. He must have known it was a dead end.
August 15, 2010
Creeeepy! Makes you wonder what he might have been doing when you were kids. They can start pretty early with animals, and if he already SEEMED weird he must have been doing something he shouldn't have been that you didn't know about. I'd bet on it. I'm a schiz magnet. They like to tell me things they never told their shrink. I know that because in one case a shrink actually compared notes with me. Can you believe that? In all fairness she had also told the shrink something that she hadn't told me so I guess we were even. Either there are more schizophrenics in the world than anyone would suspect or I know far more than my share.
August 08, 2010
I loved The Hitcher and Re-Animator, I believe I saw The Stepfather and May. There may be a couple more I have seen and don't remember cause I terrible at remembering movie names. This is a great list and I'll have to check out the ones I didn't catch yet!!
August 09, 2010
The best part about this list is that all the films are still available. CLEAN SHAVEN even got the criterion treatment. I need a copy of that because I'm still making do with my VHS version and I'd like to be able to see all the bells and whistles.
August 09, 2010
I'll have to check this one out!
August 10, 2010
I've never seen another movie quite like it. I came away from it almost feeling that I knew how it felt to be schizophrenic.
August 10, 2010
Uh Oh!!! Is that a good thing? LOL Sounds like my kind of movie for sure!
August 11, 2010
It's very unnerving.
August 08, 2010
Is this list autobiographical? LOL! I only jest because I like you. Interesting picks. I would add Norman Bates and Dr. Caligari to the list. I still need to see "May". Recommended?
August 09, 2010
Of course it's autobiographical! =). Yes, you must see MAY. I also just learnes recently that there's an unrated version of DERANGED floating around somewhere. THAT I've got to see.
August 10, 2010
LOL! Okay, I'll make a mental note that if I see "May" on sale somewhere I'll get it.
August 10, 2010
And "The Machinist"? Really? The Trevor character wasn't a serial killer, psycho, or nut job. I suffer from insomnia on occasion and am known to be consumed by my feelings of guilt and regret. Does that put me in one of those categories too? Don't answer that. It was a rhetorical question. : )
August 10, 2010
Have you been convinced for a prolonged period of time that you killed someone or are you seeing peopole who aren't really there?
August 10, 2010
Well, that's a no to both of those questions. How do I know if someone isn't there or not? For all I know, you could be a delusional projection of my subconscious. ; )
August 11, 2010
If no one else seems to know about them--that's usually a pretty good indication.
August 11, 2010
That seems sketchy. A lot of people don't know about the cult classics that you review, but they do exist... unless you're inventing movies on the side and not telling anyone.
August 11, 2010
Cute, but we both know that isn't the same thing. =)
August 11, 2010
Isn't it? Esoteric knowledge can't be discredited simply because people have limited access to it. For all you know, someone could be diagnosed as schizophrenic or as delusional and they might really be experiencing a different but altogether real reality.
August 11, 2010
And if a tree falls in the forest and there's no one around to hear it, does it make a sound? FROM BEYOND was a good movie, but I still think it was probaably just a movie.
August 12, 2010
Depends on if the tree falling is actually a tree or a figment of your imagination... ; )
August 13, 2010
Now I know why people hated to have discussions like this with me all those years ago. LOL. The tree is falling, okay, it's falling. =)
August 13, 2010
And you accuse me of being literal? ; )
August 13, 2010
There's a time to be literal and a time to be abstract. And I get to decide which is which. =)
August 14, 2010
No one dictates reality, si fascista!
August 14, 2010
My example, my reality.
August 14, 2010
Either way I win, because you're in my head too. Only I exist and all of my experiences and encounters are a product of my own consciousness.
August 14, 2010
That was a joke, by the way... "I think therefore I am... everything and everyone." There's a reason that Descartes has fallen out of favor.
August 15, 2010
How do you know you exist. How do you know that you aren't just a figment of my imagination? Wait, I'm being you now. This is getting absurd.
August 15, 2010
The fact that you asked that question proves that you're my figment and not vice versa. =D
August 15, 2010
No it didn't . It just proves that I'm talking to myself too much which has to stop now or people will question MY sanity. )=P
August 15, 2010
Too late.
August 30, 2009
wow, impressive list! Clean Shaven sounds really good but I'm too scared to watch movies like that. I did see Heavenly Creatures which I really enjoyed though. Did you see Dead Ringers? I have not seen it due to my scary movie phobia but I think it has its followers. Also, Blue Sky with Tommy Lee Jones and Jessica Lange was an interesting movie about an army officer and his wife's mental illness and how it affected her ability to deal with the constant relocations and pressures of having to act as a good military wife. :)
August 30, 2009
I saw DEAD RINGERS but it's one of my less favorite David Cronenberg movies. Talking about BLYE SKY made me think about THE GREAT SANTINI which is about a domineering military father. That one's worth a watch as is FRANCES which is about actress Frances Farmer's problems with her mental illness. It starred Jessica Lange too.
August 30, 2009
oh I heard of Frances. I wish I could watch it .. maybe someday!
August 30, 2009
I can't help but laugh when I remember Siskel and Ebert reviewing Jessica Lange's preformance in KING KONG. They both agreed that there was no way she would ever amount to anything as an actree and she should definitely keep her day job! It was only a few years later that they had to eat those words.
August 31, 2009
wow I had no idea! that's really funny! Just goes to show you that you shouldn't listen to the critics (unless they're saying good stuff about you LOL!)
August 31, 2009
It just goes to show you that you shouldn't be so quick to put somebody down so completely based on the strength of one performance in a horror movie!
September 01, 2009
haha I just noticed you didn't rank your lists. That's such a good idea because the ranking alone takes me like a while!!
September 01, 2009
I always put that in big bold letters, but no one ever seems to notice it. I'd never get a list finished if I tried to weigh them against each other. They all have something to recommend them. I might be able to say that MOTEL HELL, MAD LOVE, THE UGLY, and CRAZY AS HELL were in the bottom half of the list but that would be as far as I could go.
September 02, 2009
hehe you'd be a good teacher :P
September 02, 2009
Only for kids who had a hard time passing anybody else's class. lol. Actually if I were a teacher I'd be pretty strict. No grading on a curve for me.
About the list creator
karen ()
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I am the poster child for inertia. Where ever I am is where I plan to stay FOREVER.   So much so in fact that it took me decades to understand the punchline about why   the chicken … more
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