Top 4 Villains From Psychological Thrillers

A thriller is a movie that is designed to excite the viewers through tension and action, and a psychological thriller is a movie that is intended include the excitement of a thriller as well as the character depth from a drama.

A psychological thriller often has an intellectual slant, featuring characters that are complex meditations on the nature of good, evil and the shades in between. In this genre, there are certainly some villains that stand out.

Silence of the Lambs: Hannibal Lecter

The conflict presented Silence of the Lambs involved a serial killer who was preying on young women, but few critics doubt that the real power of this movie lay in the struggle between the inexperienced FBI agent Clarice Starling and the imprisoned serial killer Hannibal Lecter. Even in a special glass cell and unable to reach her, Lecter guided, instructed, toyed with and eventually enlightened Starling, proving that the villains in psychological thrillers do not need to touch their victims to be incredibly threatening and disturbing.

Primal Fear: Aaron Stampler

In Primal Fear, an amoral lawyer named Martin Vail takes on the defense of a seemingly angelic young man accused of a spectacularly gory murder. As Vail investigates the case and goes deeper and deeper into Aaron Stamplerâ??s history, he realizes that the victim of the slaying was a corrupt man, and that Aaron is not as innocent as he claims. In a dramatic courtroom scene, Vail unleashes â??Roy,â? an alternate personality that Aaron Stampler used to defend himself. While Roy performed the killing, Aaron was unaware. After Vail gets Aaronâ??s charges dismissed on the basis of insanity, Aaron reveals that Roy is a fiction, and that all along, he was actually the monster he was accused of being.

Basic Instinct: Catherine Tramell

Basic Instinct features the cat and mouse game between the hardened detective Nick Curran and the psychotic novelist Catherine Trammel. Curran originally investigates Tramell regarding the death of a rock star, who was murdered with an ice pick. Tramellâ??s most recent novel features a rock star killed in the same manner, and even before this revelation, she is the only suspect. As the film progresses, he becomes increasingly obsessed with Tramell, leading her to promise him a role in her next book. By the end, Tramell has cleared herself of the crime that Curran knew she committed, and there are strong indications in the filmâ??s final moments that he will be her next victim.

Psycho: Norman Bates

Psycho is one of the earliest psychological thrillers, placing as much investment in the mental state of the villain as in the action. Norman Bates runs a motel on an isolated stretch of road, and at the start of the movie, he is confronted by Marion Crane, a thief who is absconding with her ill-gotten gains. They share a pleasant dinner, after which she hears Bates fighting with his mother. Later on, Crane is stabbed in the shower, creating one of the most iconic moments in modern film. Bates discovers her corpse and assumes his mother committed the murder. As the story unfolds, however, it becomes clear that Batesâ?? mother is dead, and that he himself committed the crime. This film explores the fractured nature of a man who both desired women and felt enormously guilty over it.

Randy Porter is a clinical psychologist and guest author at Best Psychology Schools Online, where he contributed to the guide to the Top 10 Online Bachelor’s in Psychology Programs.

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  1. The guy out of ‘No Country For Old Men’ (*amendment) freaked me out.

    Yes, who could forget Hannibal Lecter! :Amazed:

    I loved the ending to Basic Instinct. In Primal Fear I think there is some of the best acting I’ve ever seen by Edward Norton.

    When I was very young I used to be more scared by the Daleks lol I used to hide behind the sofa when they came on in Doctor Who. Then when I reached a certain age ( . . . 30 – just kidding) I realised that they couldn’t climb stairs and you could probably run rings around them as they were so slow.

    However, the new Daleks in the modern Doctor Who look a little more advanced, being able to hover and everything.

    You can even get the blueprints to build your very own Dalek here . . .

    Anyway, I’ve gone way off topic here lol From psychological villains to building your own Dalek so I’ll sign off now 🙂

    • Searched New Country for Old Men movie and didn’t find it 😛 I think you had a typo. I have seen the No Country for Old Men film and I thought it was great. That guy wasn’t scary though. There’s so many people like that out there. The idea that someone like that exists in the first place is pretty chilling.

        • I watched “The Possession” yesterday (terrible horror movie) and the main character was the creepy dude from No Country For Old Men. I don’t really like horror movies because the stories suck, this movie made me laugh every time something came up! Other people were laughing too, but I honestly found every single cheap pop up scare hilarious. Like a little possessed girl sees two fingers coming out of her throat and she just goes to bed.

          Or I don’t know… Maybe the fact that the demon was Jewish? And they needed a Jewish exorcism? How stupider does a horror movie get? Lol The whole time the exorcism was happening I couldn’t stop laughing and was hoping the demon possessed someone and then consumed everyone. Sadly it just entered another body, and then another exorcism took place…

          If anything the only scare part about that movie was that it was probably a recruitment video for people interested in Jewish Exorcisms. Jewish propaganda much? :Worry:

          • I watched this movie too last week. Yes, not exactly chilling lol I didn’t even realise that the guy was from ‘No Country For Old Men’. Now I think back I can see it. I actually walked out slightly early because the ending was getting corny, but it killed a few hours that I had free. The same director made ‘Drag Me To Hell’ which I enjoyed more, the beginning mainly.

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