While many of our favorite horror movies evolve from the creative minds of screenwriters and novelists, and others are based on historical legends, some delve into the roots of real-life monsters. While it’s widely known that many infamous serial killers suffered from learning disabilities or possessed a history of bullying throughout their children, the harboring of their secret aggressive fantasies could also be a product of stress. So, in honor of Stress Awareness Day (April 16), here are three serial killers who could also be considered high-stress psychopaths.
Psycho (1960) – Ed Gein
Widely renowned as an Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece, Psycho is an American horror thriller based on the novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. The film commences after a secretary seeks to start a new life with her boyfriend by embezzling $40,000 from one of her bosses’ clients. However, while on the run in a rainstorm, she checks in the wrong remotely located motel where she encounters the awkward but charming operator and taxidermy enthusiast, Norman Bates, and his estranged, domineering mother. A short while later, while under control of his alternative personality, Bates’ true demeanor is revealed, after he stabs the secretary and disposes of her naked corpse in the tar pit.
The above horror flick is said to be loosely based on the true story of serial killer Ed Gein, a Wisconsin-born psychopath whose interest in the human anatomy led to the progression of his gruesome crimes, which consisted of grave robbing and the killing and skinning of human corpses.
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Scream (1996) – Danny Rolling
This ‘90s classic paved the way for horror-comedy by featuring a chilling bogeyman that stirred fear in his victims by always having to have the last laugh. While Ghostface preyed on his kills using the traditional chase victim, kill victim that has already proven popular within the horror genre, this fright-masked, knife-wielding maniac had as many jokes as he did body counts. Needless to say, this slasher, like many of its predecessors, was comparatively based on the real-life influence of Danny Rolling.
Rolling, also known as the Gainesville Ripper, was a serial killer who gruesomely stabbed the five Florida university students during a three-day rampage. Similar to Ghostface, this serial killer wielded an extra sharp knife and targeted students as victims
IT (1990/2017/2019) – John Wayne Gacy
Stephen King ramped up the devilish darkness when he wrote the plot sequence that transcribes the following horror story. As an ancient entity emerges from the sewer system within the town of Derry, its 27-year-nap is over and it’s super hungry. Since nothing tastes better than fear, Pennywise uses his shape-shifting powers to entice the children of the town.
The monster’s clown-like appearance was inspired by the story of real-life serial killer John Wayne Gacy, who performed as Pogo and Patches the Clown at charity events and children’s hospitals in Chicago. Needless to say, his persona was merely a coverup for his murderous habits, as at least 33 children and young men were raped, slaughtered, and stored in the crawl space underneath his home.
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Do you know of any other high-stress psychopaths that inspired the makings of our favorite dangerous foes? Drop a comment below to share.