Infamous Sociopath Killers in Movies

In celebration of the DVD release for No Country for Old Men, we look at some of the most memorable sociopaths in film.

by | March 10, 2008 | Comments

Sociopathic killers can make or break films. They need to break archetypal
molds of an antagonist, yet still be believable as characters in spite of the
violation of moral conventions. Some end up too overwrought and lacking
subtlety, as in
Natural Born Killers
, while others are doomed to B-movie
mediocrity (Mark Wahlberg in
Fear).

The Coen brothers deliver a sublime blend of chilling thrills and drama with
No
Country for Old Men
, with the film garnering a series of accolades that include
Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best
Supporting Actor.
Javier Bardem‘s Anton Chigurh casts a foreboding shadow upon
the $2 million-ambitions of protagonist Llewelyn Moss, who scoops up a suitcase
of cash from a drug deal that went south. With an ungainly canister of
compressed air in hand, Anton relentlessly pursues Llewelyn, his murderous
streaks as flippant and detached as the tossing of a coin.

Following its recent critical acclaim, the film is poised to make a splash on
DVD and Blu-ray. In celebration of its imminent release, we take a look at other
memorable sociopaths that left you squeamish and rattled.

Gaear Grimsrud

Fargo (1996)
One of the Coen brothers’ most well known work prior to No Country for Old Men,
Fargo takes a wry and black-comedic look at the humdrum rural life of
middle-America. Based on series of real-life events, the film delves into a
staged kidnapping gone wrong. Jerry Lundeaard (William H. Macy) is a debt-ridden
car salesman, who gets the idea of having his own wife abducted in order to get
money from his rich and spiteful father-in-law. The plan falls apart quickly as sociopathic hired goons Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare) and Carl Showalter
(Steve Buscemi) kill a state trooper, with Gaear then proceeding to gun down
witnesses in cold blood. Gaear (a name fitting for a sociopath) continues to
spiral downwards into a moral nadir, ultimately trying to clean up his own
murderous mess with a wood chipper that sprays blood chunks onto the snow.


Mr. Blonde
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Quentin Tarantino‘s feature film debut, Reservoir Dogs, is an independent film
classic, starring an ensemble crew of actors that includes
Harvey Keitel,
Tim
Roth
, Michael Madsen,
Chris Penn,
Steve Buscemi,
Lawrence
Tierney
. Setting a
precedent for Tarantino films to come, this heist flick is characterized by its
non-chronological progression and witty dialogue. One defining aspect that had
some walking out of the theater, though, was its surreal violence with Mr.
Blonde (Michael Madsen). The most sociopathic of the black-tied motley crew, he
shows not an ounce of remorse for killing, and in an iconic moment of the film
tortures a captive police officer, leaving a bloodied stump for an ear. His
sadistic spree fortunately stops, but by the film’s end Mr. Blonde undoubtedly
left an unsettling mark upon unsuspecting filmgoers’ minds.


Alex DeLarge
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Stanley
Kubrick
‘s adaptation of the novel pulls no punches when diving into the
unrepentant depravity of protagonist Alex DeLarge. In part commentary on uncouth
youth, Alex nevertheless sets himself apart from his fellow debaucherous
delinquents by his whimsical acts of violence. Whether it be humming “Singing in
the Rain” while beating an old man and raping his wife in front of him, or
beating and ultimately murdering a man with a phallic object in a robbery, Alex
acts with sinister glee. Eventually his cronies turn on Alex, leaving him at
mercy of the police and their dubious, Beethoven-charged therapy called the Ludovico
Technique. Rendering him incapable of acting out with violence, old
victims and old henchmen have a field day with the protagonist, leaving him for
dead. On the brink of suicide, the government apologizes for the therapy, and
the film ends with Alex seemingly restored to his rebellious and unredeemed
oats.


Want a change of pace from the usual blockbuster action flicks? Then be sure to
check out No Country for Old Men when it lands on DVD and Blu-ray on March 11,
2008.

Tag Cloud

Lucasfilm festivals psycho Podcast Character Guide American Society of Cinematographers hist Universal police drama Britbox DGA Star Wars RT21 cooking what to watch TV OWN Anna Paquin werewolf VH1 ratings Rock YouTube Premium Christmas cars 2017 Action miniseries Turner Classic Movies Apple TV+ Reality Competition Video Games BBC America Calendar television video Animation Starz green book 2018 TV renewals Biopics Holiday romance Lifetime Star Trek cancelled FOX APB Drama Crackle Avengers Warner Bros. CBS game of thrones Marvel Television blockbuster 24 frames TLC breaking bad Mindy Kaling Endgame TCA 2017 ABC Family Superheroe facebook casting Dark Horse Comics book Logo SXSW Hallmark Christmas movies Masterpiece Vudu Arrowverse christmas movies richard e. Grant travel natural history hispanic crime thriller Elton John Shudder cops Syfy justice league Apple Sneak Peek dramedy New York Comic Con WarnerMedia Western Paramount Best and Worst jamie lee curtis crossover Epix period drama halloween Fox News Family docudrama cancelled TV shows vampires stand-up comedy Pop Kids & Family spider-man TCM canceled TIFF Summer Esquire Showtime discovery Disney Channel Television Academy Mudbound RT History Hallmark Horror latino Trophy Talk Walt Disney Pictures toy story Box Office singing competition elevated horror joker GIFs USA Heroines Nat Geo 2015 crime drama 21st Century Fox adaptation free movies Ghostbusters political drama Cannes LGBT Amazon Prime Video ITV X-Men social media zero dark thirty mockumentary Nominations The Witch BBC doctor who Awards CNN cinemax Writers Guild of America TCA Photos Marvel Studios Fantasy Lionsgate GLAAD NBC foreign transformers E3 Film The Arrangement Paramount Network Winners Bravo Superheroes First Look Tomatazos 20th Century Fox First Reviews Brie Larson strong female leads disaster cults Extras Crunchyroll PaleyFest Netflix Christmas movies dc Certified Fresh 71st Emmy Awards composers Mary Tyler Moore Sony Pictures AMC Sundance binge TBS Tumblr YouTube mutant quibi Pixar DC streaming service comic Disney+ Disney Plus E! independent psychological thriller Comedy Country National Geographic children's TV Emmys canceled TV shows Awards Tour IFC nature DC Comics sequel screenings Toys History Year in Review A24 Classic Film Comic Book crime versus PBS Emmy Nominations Mary poppins Adult Swim DC Universe HBO Max Song of Ice and Fire Lifetime Christmas movies Ovation Music boxoffice Freeform historical drama Trailer USA Network NYCC sitcom WGN CBS All Access President cancelled television spain 2016 war Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Chernobyl Oscars HBO See It Skip It Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt talk show diversity FX Captain marvel indie golden globes Disney south america Trivia Hulu Infographic Binge Guide slashers Opinion Rom-Com Sci-Fi revenge Premiere Dates Creative Arts Emmys finale Amazon Grammys Quiz TV Land blaxploitation Nickelodeon Sundance Now spy thriller MCU The Walking Dead Stephen King robots Rocky true crime TNT harry potter cancelled TV series Rocketman dragons Watching Series Polls and Games Holidays A&E anthology Pet Sematary ABC Comics on TV Pirates sag awards Black Mirror ESPN Tarantino zombie Pride Month Columbia Pictures VICE Countdown CMT streaming Shondaland Spring TV Thanksgiving thriller Netflix Food Network FXX theme song dceu kids Cosplay ghosts DirecTV Musical MTV romantic comedy tv talk batman Marvel unscripted The Purge cartoon 45 Apple TV Plus Disney Plus YouTube Red comiccon Ellie Kemper Acorn TV supernatural Comedy Central Martial Arts Disney streaming service Super Bowl science fiction Winter TV Peacock witnail SundanceTV Film Festival sports Cartoon Network series 2020 technology San Diego Comic-Con MSNBC aliens CW Seed The CW 2019 TruTV Election LGBTQ Red Carpet SDCC spinoff renewed TV shows Marathons El Rey cats politics Valentine's Day Set visit Spectrum Originals rotten movies we love Turner Teen movies Fall TV Mary Poppins Returns BET Musicals Interview Schedule Reality name the review biography teaser zombies GoT animated Mystery based on movie anime Amazon Prime game show serial killer YA 007 spanish language screen actors guild medical drama Women's History Month adventure space Spike comics IFC Films award winner