Countdown to Halloween #31: Patrick Bateman

IT’S OCTOBER BABY! That means that it’s once again time for Grizzly Bomb’s annual COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN! Last year we ran through some of the greatest Halloween type movies of all time, but this year we’re gonna examine some of the characters that make Halloween the best Holiday of ever. Anyhow, each day we’ll look at a different character as we count down the 31 best of all time. Hope you enjoy.

Brian Kronner

American Psycho is a piece of pure genius. The book is a perfect example of a lifestyle, which for some is still relevant today: the yuppie life. The dissection of this culture is a joy to behold whether it is through the book written by Bret Easton Ellis or the movie directed by Mary Harron. Ellis, however, has this to say about his masterpiece (taken from Wikipedia).

“Bateman was crazy the same way [I was]. He did not come out of me sitting down and wanting to write a grand sweeping indictment of yuppie culture. It initiated because my own isolation and alienation at a point in my life. I was living like Patrick Bateman. I was slipping into a consumerist kind of void that was supposed to give me confidence and make me feel good about myself but just made me feel worse and worse and worse about myself. That is where the tension of “American Psycho” came from. It wasn’t that I was going to make up this serial killer on Wall Street. High concept. Fantastic. It came from a much more personal place, and that’s something that I’ve only been admitting in the last year or so. I was so on the defensive because of the reaction to that book that I wasn’t able to talk about it on that level”

It’s no wonder that Bateman feels so real to a viewer or reader, as he comes from such a personal place. On first viewing he looks pretty darn boring. He gleefully talks us through his life routines and almost gets a boner when he whips out his new business card. But this is the genius of this character’s creation. When he does snap, it is with such intensity and vigor that it scares the crap out of you and gets you hiding behind the couch before his bloody chainsaw hits you in your innards.

In the movie especially, you get the pleasure of slowly seeing his face change from cool, calm Bateman to nut job Bateman. Slicked back hair quickly gets greasy with sweat as he goes absolutely bananas. The advantage the film has over the book is Christian Bale’s performance, where you can slowly see his nervous yuppie facade cracking, as his killing urges go overboard. He is a calculating man, which makes it even worse, getting his victims comfortable with his music choices and DVD style commentary on the albums he has put on, then BAM, you get an axe in the face.

The image of him naked, covered in blood while chasing a prostitute down the stairs has got to be one of the most iconic horror images of the last 15 years. The fact he is laughing and shouting like a raving loon means he will forever have a place in horror lore. I love the fact he never does anything by halves. When he does snap, he will keep on hacking away on his victim until he is completely happy and satisfied. Here is a man who wants satisfaction through work but never gets it, but through his killing he finally gets satisfaction. It’s the pride he takes in killing too. If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well and this is a mantra he brings to his killing spree.

Probably the greatest and most disturbing thing about the character is the fact that it’s never actually made clear if he has murdered anyone or not. The end of the movie, when his last killing has tipped him over the edge and the police are on his tail, is some gripping cinema. But when we find out his supposed victims are all alive it leaves you wondering if it’s all in his head or not. The fact he could think up such sick thoughts and get off on them, as well as make them so real, is truly freaky. In a nutshell, his appeal is in the fact he is an average chap, pretty dull and preppie. He actually seems pretty cool in some scenes, like he is not such bad a guy. A bit of a dick sure, but he at least has great taste in music. You would walk past him in the street and not give him a second glance. However, behind this facade, he is probably thinking of how best to embed an axe in your face and what album to play while he is doing it.

There are now rumors of a possible remake to come which would take him out of the 1980s and bring him into current times. For now though, the 2000 movie and the novel that preceded it are plenty to crave our fix as Mr. Bateman helps us kick off our countdown.

Keep an eye as the next character on the list will be revealed at Midnight the next 30 nights in a row. You’ll also be able to find them HERE.

This is Miles Fisher’s take on the character in his cover of the Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place” – Pretty striking resemblance…

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