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[[quoteright:350:[[Film/AmericanPsycho http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_patrick_bateman_serial_killer.png]]]]

->''Lizzie Borden took an ax,\\
and gave her mother forty whacks.\\
And when she saw what she had done,\\
she gave her father forty-one.''
-->-- '''[[UsefulNotes/LizzieBorden American Nursery Rhyme]]''' [[note]]For the record, Ms. Borden was acquitted, but [[NeverLiveItDown never lived it down]].[[/note]]

An "ax-crazy" character is someone who is psychologically unstable[[note]]"Unstable" is an excessively mild term here, because it implies that ''some'' residual stability may still be present. Being Ax-Crazy usually implies that almost the entire substructure of sanity is ''gone''[[/note]] ''and'' presents a clear and present danger to others. They are capable of extreme violence, whether carried out with a SlasherSmile, [[LaughingMad insane laughter]], speaking in a CreepyMonotone, or out and out [[UnstoppableRage murderous rage]], and with no way of knowing just what [[BerserkButton will set them off]], which makes them extremely frightening to deal with. This mainly differentiates them from other eccentric characters who may themselves be obsessive, weird or seemingly crazy, but use this condition hand in hand with doing good, or at least not being in the way. However, some formerly established heroes can go through an episode of ax-craziness and still retain their heroic mantle.

Despite the title, ax-crazies aren't limited to wielding [[AxeBeforeEntering ax]][[AnAxeToGrind es]]. Any instrument of death will do, from {{kni|feNut}}ves or [[DangerouslyCloseShave straight razors]] to swords to {{chainsaw|Good}}s and [[ExoticWeaponSupremacy beyond]]. A good number of other ax crazies are also TriggerHappy, preferring either {{Hand Cannon}}s that blow really big holes in people, or weapons that allow them to kill lots of people with reckless abandon, such as [[MoreDakka any automatic weapon]]. And for the truly psychopathic among psychopaths for whom the above just won't do, [[MadBomber a heaping helping of high explosives]] or [[{{Pyromaniac}} a good-sized flamethrower]] will do quite nicely. Sometimes, they don't even need weapons and just use magic spells or other powers if they have them. There are also plenty who are just as happy to [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown beat people into an unrecognizable pulp-like mass]] with their bare hands.

It is rare for a truly Ax-Crazy character to be [[SociopathicHero a protagonist]], largely due to it being a SubTrope of ObviouslyEvil, and most Ax-Crazy characters usually are Obviously Evil. They're common as the antagonists in {{Superhero}} and CrimeAndPunishmentSeries, often serving as a PsychoForHire. If they ''are'' a protagonist, they will most certainly be a NominalHero or VillainProtagonist. The difference between them and BloodKnight is this trope is all about killing while the BloodKnight is only interested in ''fighting''. There is, of course, plenty of room for overlap.

See also InsaneEqualsViolent, TheButcher, TheDreaded, MadBomber, CuteAndPsycho, BloodKnight, PsychoForHire, {{Yandere}}, TheSociopath, MadDoctor, PyroManiac, HairTriggerTemper, ColonelKilgore, GeneralRipper, InsaneAdmiral, and SociopathicSoldier. Compare and contrast MamaBear, PapaWolf, and ViolentlyProtectiveGirlfriend, who may be capable of temporary Ax-Craziness when their kids or mate are under threat, but are often played sympathetically.

Contrast SuicidalPacifism, when a character never, ever resorts to violence even if it is necessary; and ExtremeDoormat, when a character is a complete pushover unable to fight back.

The canonical CharacterAlignment for most Ax-Crazy characters is [[ChaoticEvil Chaotic]] or NeutralEvil, though a couple of ChaoticNeutral [[NominalHero examples exist]]. Sometimes TheUnfettered, depending on whether they feel freed or enslaved by their bloodlust.

It's very common to be PlayedForDrama, while uncommon, though [[HeroicComedicSociopath not unheard of]] to be PlayedForLaughs.

A very large number of pages link to this when they [[IThoughtItMeant should link to]] AnAxeToGrind. This page is about violent crazy people, not people whose WeaponOfChoice is an axe (despite the potential for overlap).

* AxCrazy/AnimeAndManga
* AxCrazy/AudioPlay
* AxCrazy/ComicBooks
* AxCrazy/FanFic
* AxCrazy/{{Film}}
* AxCrazy/AnimatedFilm
* AxCrazy/{{Literature}}
* AxCrazy/LiveActionTV
* AxCrazy/{{Music}}
* AxCrazy/NewspaperComics
* AxCrazy/TabletopGames
* AxCrazy/{{Theatre}}
* AxCrazy/VideoGames
* AxCrazy/{{Webcomics}}
* AxCrazy/WebOriginal
* AxCrazy/WesternAnimation


-->[[LateToThePunchline I get it now!]] [[DontExplainTheJoke It's a play on the phrase "acts crazy"!]]