Halloween October 31, 2012Posted by Crazy Mermaid in Delusions, Hallucinations, Insanity, Psychotic.
Halloween’s here, and with it comes the worn-out old stories about the mentally ill. The slasher movies and the guts and gore of the horror-filled inspirational costumes- all coming to a theater near you.
Norman Bates in Psycho, a 1960 horror movie, was inspired by Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein. The insane Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a 1974 horror movie, and Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs were both inspired by the same serial killer, a man whose “guilty but insane” conviction landed him in a mental hospital. In The Shining, Jack Nicholson gave a good impersonation of a psychotic man. Dr. Jekyl was clearly insane when he became Mr. Hyde in the 1931 classic Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. Then there’s the classic: Halloween, about a young insane murderer who escapes from his Sanitarium (mental hospital) after being locked up for 15 years- ever since he was 6. Over and over the mentally ill are exploited for the benefit of the media. In fact, out of the top 50 best horror movies of all time, over half involve mental illness. Mental illness is, after all, scary.
It doesn’t help that the news is filled with extreme cases of mental illness. Teenage kids and adults taking axes to their mothers, beating up complete strangers, etc. are in most cases the result of untreated violently mentally ill people and are fodder for interesting scary movies.
Unfortunately for those of us who are mentally ill, the media makes no distinction between delusional people in the middle of a psychotic episode, insane murderers, and what I like to call garden-variety treatment compliant mentally ill people (bipolar, depressed, OCD, etc). We’re all, in their collective minds, the same as Ed Gein, the Wisconsin serial killer who inspired both Psycho and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. There’s nothing scarier, after all, than a mentally ill person. Especially a psychotic one. It’s no wonder that nobody wants to be identified as mentally ill. Who, after all, wants to be Ed Gein?