In honor of the recently released “The Crazies,” we bring you just that: our top five crazy movie characters.
5. Lisa Rowe (Angelina Jolie) — Girl, Interrupted (1999)
Oscar loves the magnetic head-case and proved it again when they gave Angelina Jolie the Best Supporting Actress statuette for her film-stealing portrait of volatile sociopath Lisa in this 1960s-set piece of insanity cinema. And Jolie deserved it, too, because she’s a taunting, bucking, fighting and screaming force of nature. Lisa represents freedom at any cost — she, too, encourages the patients to rebel — but is also a seriously damaged character, who turns on Winona Ryder’s Susanna and Brittany Murphy’s Daisy with tragic results.
4. Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) — Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
If you should find yourself locked in the secure ward of a mental institution with a particularly buff chick who reckons that a killer robot from the future has been sent back through time to kill her and her son and that the machine-instigated Armageddon is just around the corner, then you’d be wise to listen the hell up, pronto! That’s because it won’t be long before her story is vindicated when not one but two such creations come storming through the facility, guns blazing and liquid metal shapeshifting. Just so’s you know, if it comes down to it, the safest place to be is with the crazy gal, her son with the weird hair and the robot man who looks like the Governor of California…oh wait… it is the Gov
3. Randle McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) — One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
He’s just a minor violent criminal sent to an institution for a mental evaluation because he’s “belligerent, talked when unauthorized, resentful in attitude to work in general” and “lazy”. Thus McMurphy finds himself, like his befuddled fellow patients, under the tyrannical control of Nurse Ratched. Infuriated, Crazy Randle, determined to liberate himself and his psychotic pals, if not physically then at least mentally. The price he has to pay? The very freethinking ability he holds so dear. Jack Nicholson, born to play the part, won the Best Actor Oscar for this role, with the film becoming only the second (after 1934’s It Happened One Night) to win all five major Academy Awards.
2. Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt) — 12 Monkeys (1995)
He might not really be radical revolutionary leader of the apocalypse-causing Army of the Twelve Monkeys, but Jeffrey Goines is certainly one entertainingly insane inmate. Managing to make a fashion statement out of pajamas, a track jacket and leather brogues, the tousle-haired Pitt is all scalp-tugging, neck-rolling and crazy hand mania. But he’s most memorable for his motor-mouthery. “Buy a lot of stuff, you’re a good citizen!” he tells Bruce Willis’s newly arrived time-traveller. “But if you don’t buy a lot of stuff, if you don’t, what are you then, I ask you? What? Mentally ill. Fact, Jim, fact — if you don’t buy things — toilet paper, new cars, computerized yo-yos, electrically-operated sexual devices, stereo systems with brain-implanted headphones, screwdrivers with miniature built-in radar devices, voice-activated computers…” His rant might’ve consumed the whole movie if not cut off by a nurse. But there’s more than a skerrick of truth in there, too, which, of course, is what makes for a good movie mental patient.
1. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) — The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Oddly, it was The Silence Of The Lambs, another film whose center was another institutionalized madman, that became the third movie to win all five top Oscars. Dr Hannibal Lecter is every bit as charismatic as Randle McMurphy but you wouldn’t want to have him over to watch the World Series. As played by the urbane Anthony Hopkins, this erudite psychiatrist-turned-cannibal whose specialties are messing with your mind before he eats your liver, immediately entered the pantheon of mesmerizing man-monsters, taking his place next to Norman Bates and M.