There’s no need to compare cards when it comes to stacking heavy hitter killers against the tall, lean, suave, homicidal Patrick Bateman of 2000’s iconic psychological slasher, American Psycho. Canadian director Mary Harron’s (The Notorious Bettie Page) sleek adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ contentious novel has maintained its high profile cult status for a number of reasons, most of which are owed to her brilliant direction, Christian Bale’s (The Dark Knight) masterful performance, and it’s brave undertaking in presenting the lurid perspective of a dangerous man losing control of his deadly desires in 1987’s New York City. Between its mod angles of society, class, and ego as well as its tantalizing subject matter, American Psycho continues to be a daring and elite nightmare conjured up with the mind of one of horror’s most notorious killers.
Few films are able to capture the rich essence of Patrick Bateman’s sensational spiral, but there are many that sit at the same round table of cinema, equally producing high caliber serial slayings, stylish crimes, and questionable moralities. Even though there are times American Psycho can outrage, disgust, and even intimidate viewers, somehow the intrigue to observe murderous intentions rages on. The following list of 10 Movies To Watch If You Love American Psycho might just quench your insatiable need to keep the rampage going. Just never let Patrick Bateman know that there are potential competitors in his wheelhouse. We all know what happens to the ones who get in his way.
10. Mr. Brooks (2007)
Compared to the other films of this list, especially American Psycho itself, Mr. Brooks is cut from a more softer variety. Bruce A. Evans (Stand By Me) Mr. Brooks is, however, an enjoyable romp into the mind of a skilled, seasoned killer and deeper into the drive inside of him that turns the steering wheel. It’s not exactly artful or deeply nuanced, but it does portray the criminal mind in an imaginative way. Mimicking Patrick Bateman’s practice of fitting in, Mr. Brooks is an interesting look at how one man’s struggle to be two different people wanting drastically different things creates a dark, internal struggle. Kevin Costner (Dances With Wolves) and William Hurt (A History Of Violence) both ooze creepy charisma and the third act twist is equally impressive. It’s a double-headed coin, you might say.
9. Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer (1986)
As far as exploring disturbing and radical sociopathic activities, American Psycho’s glamorous vibe stands frighteningly vibrant against that of John McNaughton’s (Wild Things) Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer. The film’s exploitation of violence is raw and real in all of its low-budget magic and really serves its purposes in crafting a primal kind of villain as American Psycho glorifies. Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer might be gritty, dirty, and gruesome in its endeavors, but the performances and direction elevates it to a status worthy of praise. American Psycho is a more glossy display of moral degradation while Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer goes straight for the jugular in its raw and sleazy atmosphere.
8. The Voices (2014)
American Psycho has its own sense of satirical humor as does Marjane Satrapi’s (Persepolis) The Voices starring Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool). In this 2014 dark comedy, Jerry runs into a few gory snags while searching for love with the help of his pet dog and cat. The unexpected motions of the narrative and the surprising emotion behind the story bring a unique level of quality to each scene. The film’s depictions of macabre dismemberment and unstoppable homicide are, somehow, more lighthearted material balanced by Reynolds’ signature wit and charm. The tongue-in-cheek content and smart dialogue is more saturated than what you’ll find in that of American Psycho, but The Voices is an underrated gem that will tug on your heartstrings before tearing them out completely.
7. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
While Stanley Kubrick’s (The Shining) dark and sensual Eyes Wide Shut is not exactly horror or horror adjacent, its unnerving mystery is a match towards that of American Psycho. Riveting in luxury, decadence, and all the erotic subject matter in between, this story of Bill and Alice’s spiral similarly mirrors Patrick Bateman as each casual encounter steps towards more dangerous proclivities. Eyes Wide Shut flaunts a comparable contemporary air of city thrills that draws on the same enigmatic lines of hidden debauchery. American Psycho may not share the same bed with Eyes Wide Shut, but they’re both twisted in similar sheets… all made with a high thread count, of course.
6. Funny Games (1997, 2007)
Shock factor is one of the main ingredients genre viewers look for when it comes to narratives promising a compelling outcome. American Psycho engages expert shock as does Michael Haneke’s (The White Ribbon) devastating home invasion story, Funny Games. Both Haneke’s Austrian 1997 release as well as his own 2007 American adaptation strike hard and fast with malice, intention, and uncomfortable discourse. Mixing controlled sadism with charismatic cruelty, American Psycho and Funny Games both play with victims and viewers alike. Between their tremendous combined resume of class act performances and unreliable narcissistic narration, these two films not only share the same level of shock factor, but toy with it in calm, composed terror.
5. Piercing (2018)
Patrick Bateman would appreciate style, so Nicolas Pesce’s (The Eyes Of My Mother) sophomore project and adaptation of Ryū Murakami’s taut novel, Piercing, deserves recognition. Like Ellis’ novel, Piercing hit all the wrong nerves and is a bold statement in sensitive themes that may only be appreciated through comprehensive analysis. The cat and mouse relationship between the film’s two characters owns the same visual appeal and intimate view that American Psycho possesses. Piercing, however, stands original in its modern imagery and live wire attitude. Fans of one are sure to not only enjoy both on screen, but in book form as well.
4. Natural Born Killers (1994)
Oliver Stone’s (Scarface) tall tale of Mickey and Mallory, like that of Patrick Bateman, is a vicious double dose of murder and mayhem. Natural Born Killers, like American Psycho, twists a satirical hook into its bloody content, with a polarizing focus on media influence. Stone’s smoking gun of a film, like Harron’s, relishes in a wild and exaggerated atmosphere with gusto and edgy carnage. Unlike American Psycho, Natural Born Killers delivers on a more western portrayal of action and adventure. Ruthless and relentless, both have a subtle flair of surrealism and dramatic stock. While Mickey and Mallory and Patrick Bateman’s killing sprees differ in repertoire, both Natural Born Killers and American Psycho have dueled with the effects of viewer impact.
3. Psychopaths (2017)
What’s better than one psychopath? You got it: five psychopaths! While Patrick Bateman is more than enough personality to capture the whole of American Psycho’s runtime, Mickey Keating (Carnage Park) expands his frightening serial foray over the misgivings of multiple characters in Psychopaths. With each killer just as deadly as the next, the circumstances are never trustworthy enough for viewers to let their guard down. Psychopaths is, however, a certain treat for any viewer that enjoys discovering what makes a killer a killer. What’s really fun about Mickey Keating’s chaotic collection of killers is the variety of motives and mayhem the viewers are allowed to observe. Both films make for relentlessly entertaining and eclectic blood soaked rides through the minds of murderers.
2. Maniac (1980, 2012)
When it comes to targets, William Lustig’s (Maniac Cop) Frank Zito and Mary Harron’s Patrick Bateman have very singular tastes. Maniac, and Franck Khalfoun’s (P2) equally grotesque 2012 remake, is certainly a grittier tale of complicated female hatred compared to the pristine aesthetic of American Psycho’s cityscape. Both films, however, share common ground in an appropriate arena of controversy regarding their outstanding themes of violence against women. Because of its grizzly realism and harsh representation, Maniac holds a level of hardcore corruption and committed perversion that American Psycho does not quite meet. However, these two objectively obscene films depict the internal struggle each focal character meets when it comes to their deviant natures and frenzied compulsions.
1. The House That Jack Built (2018)
As far as cold blooded portraits go, Lars von Trier’s (Antichrist) The House That Jack Built is just as picturesque as that of American Psycho. It’s brutal, poignant, and incredibly mean in both spirit and tone. No woman, child, nor setting is safe in this chilling film. Jack may even give Patrick Bateman a run for his money as viewers follow the titular serial killer on a journey fulfilling his horrendous bloodlust and depravity against innocent and unsuspecting bystanders. Patrick Bateman may have laid some of the foundation for film’s standards of heinous, heartless human evil, but Jack expertly follows in his woodwork by expanding the house built up of cinematic serial killers.
Honorable Mention: American Psycho 2 (2002)
Yup, I’m going there! I apologize in advance to all of those who have refined taste. It’s an unspoken cinematic obligation to experience all horror film sequels at least one time, no? You’d think it would be impossible to justifiably follow up such a brilliant, noteworthy adaptation like American Psycho and you would be right! Morgan J. Freeman’s (Desert Blue) American Psycho 2 starring Mika Kunis (That 70’s Show) as the contrived murderer is completely bizarre and off-putting with a strangely likable sense of camp. Full of quirk, humor, and stinging sarcasm, it’s not a good sequel, but it is a good time… if you can spare your cultured senses for longer than twenty minutes.
Now if you’ll excuse me, you have some video tapes to pick up.
What do you love about American Psycho? What do you think about the films on this list? Which one comes the closest to the glory of Mary Harron’s infamous film adaptation? Let us know your thoughts over on Twitter, Reddit, or in the Horror Movie Fiend Club on Facebook!