These are a dozen of cult classic horror movies about mentally deranged psychopaths. If the movie featuring your preferred horror film psychopath is not on the list, that has an explanation.
I created this list with psychopaths and stories that stand only on their own merit. There are many more classic horrors about psychopaths, like those inspired by books, but I’ll include them in future lists.
Take for instance Psycho (1960) or the movies with any of the deviants that Vincent Price played. I didn’t include any of those because they will form part of other, more focused on something else, lists.
The ratings are averages made from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, and Metacritic ratings combined.
I Spit on Your Grave (1978) 41.3%
Horror thriller with a revenge twist. An alternate name for this movie is “Day of The Woman”. It follows the female exploitation horror tradition that started with Peeping Tom.
The House by The Lake (1976) 45.5%
Horror Thriller and home invasion movie. I don’t understand how this movie can be more cherished by audiences by a 4.2% margin than “I Spit on Your Grave”, because it’s less memorable than that one.
Its original title is “Death Weekend”.
The Driller Killer (1979) 49.6%
It’s about a killer in NYC that kills innocent people with a drill. It was directed and acted by Abel Ferrara as the lead character.
I guess “The Driller Killer” must have been one of Brett Easton Ellis’s sources of inspiration for “American Psycho”.
Tourist Trap (1979) 54.5%
Relatively obscure hillbilly horror. It’s a crazy movie because even if it has some supernatural elements, they aren’t explained.
What’s explained is the owner of the backwoods tourist trap, who’s a run-of-the-mill deranged killer.
The Last House on The Left (1972) 58.6%
“The Last House on The Left” has a classic vengeance horror plot. Another female exploitation movie with a structure that’s similar to “I Spit on Your Grave”.
Wes Craven wrote it and directed it. That may explain its above-average favor with audiences.
The Hills Have Eyes (1977) 60.3%
A Survival horror movie, more than a thriller. Another one written and directed by Wes Craven. This movie has very good photography.
I think ”The Hills Have Eyes” is more than a thriller because it goes a few steps beyond the plots of movies like “Southern Comfort” or “Deliverance”.
Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile (1974) 60.5%
Underrated necrophilia psychopath horror. “Deranged” borrows from the real story of the depraved killer Ed Gain. This movie is also very much informed by Psycho. Lovers of Psycho should definitely watch it.
Maniac (1980) 61.5%
Gore horror movie about an NYC psychopathic murderer. “Maniac” is not as known as other movies on this list. Still, it flaunts a creepiness reminiscent of both “Tourist Trap” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”.
Bad Ronald (1974) 62%
Very original home invasion TV movie. Several horror movies that came after ”Bad Ronald” owe the central idea of the story to it: a psychopath hidden in the house of the victims.
At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1964) 69.5%
Essential Coffin Joe movie. Jose Mujica Marins was the biggest Brazilian horror brain. It shows in “At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul”, a campy movie about an evil undertaker in a quest for the perpetration of his lineage.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) 78.5%
All-time classic horror cult movie. It’s an independent movie. Another horror movie inspired by the crimes of Ed Gain. Not as heavily as Deranged, though.
I would rate “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” in the higher 80 percentiles, but I can understand why some may not share the opinion. The aberrations portrayed in this movie are too revolting, and that might be the reason why.
Peeping Tom (1960) 81%
“Peeping Tom” has several risque scenes, kind of innovative for its time. It’s worthy of note that it was released the same year as groundbreaking “Psycho”. I personally think it’s good but not as good as Hitch’s adaptation of Bloch’s novel.