11 Essential Movie Maniacs

A look at some of cinema’s most memorable maniacs

Culturally we are fascinated by mental illness. We all start off in life the same, more or less, as infants, all with the same needs and all wanting love and acceptance. And yet with many, something goes wrong. Is it that societal structure creates an illusion of happiness that, when revealed to be an artifice, chips away at the minds and well being of people that don’t have a strong foundation to cope? Or is it bred in the bone? Or both?

No matter what, it’s a given that some of us will grow up and get lost in our heads, inflicting violence and mayhem to create a desperate feeling of peace within our volatile souls. Like everything that is part of the natural world, madness and mental illness has been long exploited for the big screen, with hundreds of portraits of minds-gone-malevolent essayed by great actors in unforgettable films.

Today, we take a brief look at 11 of the most memorable of these fictional maniacs, some of them painted so broad as to be cartoonish, some so cold and real that they haunt our nightmares long after the credits have stopped rolling.

These madmen (and women) are not the faceless automatons from such slasher and body count pictures like Halloween or Friday the 13th. No, these monsters are all too human, with recognizable traits and even sympathetic qualities, which make them all the more interesting. And scary.

Have a look and tell us about your own favorite cinematic maniacs in the comments section below.


Marvel and DC