10 of Pop Culture's Most Charming Sociopaths


Over the weekend Bret Easton Ellis went on one of his patented tweet binges, this time musing about writing a sequel to American Psycho set in the present day. Apparently he has already made 15 pages of notes. Among his tweeted ideas for the update: “Patrick would talk about Adele and Kanye and KATY PERRY because ‘Firework’ is his favorite song… and then he kills Katy Perry’s trainer…” While we’re skeptical about the need to trot Bateman out of retirement (have you seen the direct-to-video disaster that was American Psycho II: All American Girl ?), we decided this was a great excuse to revisit a few of our favorite pop-culture sociopaths. Add to our twisted list in the comments!

Patrick Bateman – American Psycho

Why we love him: The man has exquisite taste. From music and business cards to fine dining and skin care — we would take his advice on anything culture- or beauty-related. Thanks to Patrick, we want reservations at Dorsia, too.

Why we shouldn’t: Bateman is an axe-welding, body mutilating, murderous psycho. There’s no denying the fact that he is certifiably insane. Plus, we don’t approve of the fact that he’s a kitten killer.

Classic quote: “There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman; some kind of abstraction. But there is no real me: only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable… I simply am not there.”

Insanity rating: 10

Dr. Hannibal Lecter – Silence of the Lambs

Why we love him: Once again, this is a man with exceptional taste. He knows a good orchestra performance when he hears one, and we’d trust him to help us pick a nice Chianti (although we wouldn’t want to pair it with his idea of a superb meal). He’s also well-educated, has an incredibly soothing voice, and is probably one of the most polite serial killers ever.

Why we shouldn’t: He eats people. He stalks them and calls them and makes slurping sounds when talking. The mask and straightjacket do not help his case either.

Classic quote: “You know what you look like to me, with your good bag and your cheap shoes? You look like a rube. A well scrubbed, hustling rube with a little taste. Good nutrition’s given you some length of bone, but you’re not more than one generation from poor white trash, are you, Agent Starling? And that accent you’ve tried so desperately to shed: pure West Virginia. What is your father, dear? Is he a coal miner? Does he stink of the lamp? You know how quickly the boys found you… all those tedious sticky fumblings in the back seats of cars… while you could only dream of getting out… getting anywhere… getting all the way to the FBI.”

Insanity rating: 10

Alex Delarge – A Clockwork Orange

Why we love him: Alex has great taste in music and a glorious fashion sense — even in futuristic London, he manages to stand out. We also respect anyone whose favorite composer is Ludwig Van.

Why we shouldn’t: Alex is probably one of the worst of the bunch. Not only is he attractive, but he’s also ridiculously charming when he wants to be. However, no one can trust him. He even releases his ultra-violence on his droogs. All of the rape and murder doesn’t help his case either. Proper horrorshow.

Classic quote: “I’ve suffered the tortures of the damned, sir… tortures of the damned.”

Insanity rating: 9

The Joker – The Dark Knight

Why we love him: He’s not only entertaining, but also extremely intriguing. Plus if you believe him, the fact that he’s totally messed up (and constantly “smiling”) is the result of an abusive father who attacked him with a knife. Or maybe he did it to himself after his wife was attacked by a group of loan sharks. With the Joker, it’s kind of hard to tell when he’s being serious.

Why we shouldn’t: The Joker is undeniably frightening. He is a raging psychopath on a mission to annihilate society as we know it. Everything is a sick joke to him. From the face paint to the nurse outfit he wears while blowing up a hospital to the pencil “magic trick,” the Joker goes on his reign of terror with a perma-grin.

Classic quote: “I believe whatever doesn’t kill you simply makes you…stranger.”

Insanity rating: 9

JD (Jason Dean) – Heathers

Why we love him: Let’s face it – the guy is charming in your typical ’80s bad boy way. Who wouldn’t want a boyfriend who buys you slushies and play a sexy game of strip croquet with you? How very.

Why we shouldn’t: He attempts to blow up the school and play it off as one giant suicide pact. Plus he doesn’t understand boundaries. A simple word of advice: if your girlfriend breaks up with you, don’t just go climbing into her room and attempt to win her back with your plans for mass murder.

Classic quote: “Seven schools in seven states and the only thing different is my locker combination.”

Insanity rating: 8

Tate Langdon – American Horror Show

Why we love him: Tate is like the grandpa sweater-wearing lovechild of Alex and JD. He has the charm and good looks. We also believe he had good intentions when it comes to his young love, Violet. He just didn’t express them in an acceptable way.

Why we shouldn’t: Tate has a terrible track record. The not-so-happy haunt shot up his high school, raped Vivian, set fire to Larry, and both murdered and sexually violated both Chad and Patrick. There is so much hate and anger in his heart, yet he thinks of himself as a hero.

Classic quote: “Dear God, thank you for the salty pig meat we are about to eat, along with the rest of the indigestible swill. And thank you for our new charade of our family. My father ran away when I was only six. If I’d have known any better, I would have joined him. And, also, because she’s been trying to get back into this house ever since she lost it, Lord, a big thank you for blinding the asshole that’s doing my mother, so that he can’t see what everybody knows. She doesn’t really love him.”

Insanity rating: 8

Norman Bates – Psycho

Why we love him: Norman is a hard worker. He took care of his mom in spite of her horrible personality. He was able to manage a hotel all on his own. That’s a lot of stress for someone who can’t be older than 25. We can almost sympathize with him.

Why we shouldn’t: Almost was the key word. We can’t forget that he murdered a woman in cold blood. Who can forget the infamous shower scene, even if it was just ketchup? His cross-dressing skills could also use a little work.

Classic quote: “I think I must have one of those faces you can’t help believing.”

Insanity rating: 7

The Master – Doctor Who

Why we love him: He’s insane, but in the most entertaining way possible. Who else takes over the world while blasting glam-pop?

Why we shouldn’t: The Master isn’t the biggest fan of mankind. His mission in life is to completely destroy us and foil the Doctor’s plans when his internal drumming flares up. We just have to say that the constant beating sound would probably make him be a successful DJ. It would be a much more stable career than being the ruler of the universe.

Classic quote: “Sorry. Sorry, I have this effect, people just get obsessed. Is it the smile? Is it the aftershave? Is it the capacity to laugh at myself? I don’t know; it’s crazy!”

Insanity rating: 7

Dexter – Dexter

Why we love him: Dexter doesn’t murder anyone who we would actually miss — making us somehow comfortable with his homicidal nature. While in the beginning of the series he had more sociopathic tendencies (eg. not feeling real emotion), he somehow transformed into a slightly psycho schizophrenic. Also two words: free doughnuts.

Why we shouldn’t: It’s easy to forget that Dexter actually kills people, playing God by deciding who is “worthy” of his murderous wrath. Plus there’s always the threat that he could snap, and that self-defined “dark passenger” completely take over things.

Classic quote: “People fake a lot of human interactions, but I feel like I fake them all, and I fake them very well. That’s my burden, I guess.”

Insanity rating: 6

Sherlock – Sherlock

Why we love him: Sherlock doesn’t murder people. Quite the contrary, his business is to solve mysterious crimes. Instead of becoming a calculated and cold-blooded killer like some of the others on this list, he uses his mathematical skills to solve cases through the art of deduction — albeit only out of boredom.

Why we shouldn’t: It’s dangerous! Just ask John Watson, Sherlock’s partner in crime, who’s always only narrowly escaping death. Be Sherlock’s mate and you’ll probably live your life in and out of precarious situations.

Classic quote: “We’ve got a serial killer on our hands. Love those, there’s always something to look forward to.”

Insanity rating: 4