Not surprisingly, many horror movie villains suffer from serious mental illness, mental disorder, or physical ailments that can cause them to behave strangely. Become monsters who commit atrocities against innocent victims, stalking, murdering, raping, molesting and bullying their prey.
Sometimes a vicious cycle of torture, misery, insanity and criminality is created in which the victim becomes the victim of other victims who are often just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Their actions are so horrific that some people confuse their actions with demons, immortal goblins, mutants, ghosts, or demons themselves.
Although these films often allow supernatural and natural possibilities to explain the description of events, medical science usually allows for only one cause, although the cause, mental illness, applies to the villains and victims of films like Stephen King’s enormous, which take many forms to carry out, all horrifying and terrifying.
Norman Bates, the serial killer in Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film adaptation of Robert Bloch’s 1959 novel of the same title, suffers from dissociative identity disorder and a “comorbid disorder of voyeurism.”
His story is familiar to most fans of horror fiction and cinema: after his mother’s death, Bates began dressing in her clothing and impersonating her, in effect, in his own mind, becoming her, as he assumed her personality. His mother, wanting his full attention, disapproved of any attempt on Bates’s part to form a romantic relationship with any woman.
When he befriended Marion Crane, who’d rented a room in the motel that he managed, after having absconded with her employer’s money, “Mother” appeared, stabbing Crane to death as she took a shower. Later, “Mother” killed the private detective who came to Bate’s motel and house, in search of Crane.
But Crane and the detective were not the only victims. According to an article in the Harvard Political Review, the depiction of mentally ill characters as prone to violence does a disservice both to the mentally ill themselves and to the public alike, stigmatizing the former while misinforming and frightening the latter, a view with which Dr. Gene Beresin, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, agrees.