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aka: Bat Shit Crazy

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.
American Nursery Rhyme note 

An "ax-crazy" character is someone who is psychologically unstablenote  and presents a clear and present danger to others. They are capable of extreme violence, whether carried out with a Slasher Smile, insane laughter, speaking in a Creepy Monotone, or out and out murderous rage, and with no way of knowing just what 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 axes. Any instrument of death will do, from knives or straight razors to swords to chainsaws and beyond. A good number of other ax crazies are also Trigger Happy, preferring either Hand Cannons that blow really big holes in people, or weapons that allow them to kill lots of people with reckless abandon, such as any automatic weapon. And for the truly psychopathic among psychopaths for whom the above just won't do, a heaping helping of high explosives or 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.

It is rare for a truly Ax-Crazy character to be a protagonist. They're common as the antagonists in Superhero and Crime and Punishment Series, often serving as a Psycho for Hire. If they are a protagonist, they will most certainly be an Anti-Hero or Villain Protagonist. The difference between them and Blood Knight is this trope is all about killing while the Blood Knight is only interested in fighting. There is, of course, plenty of room for overlap.

Note that in cases like The Joker, this trope does not really apply; and it probably also doesn't apply for anyone who adheres to Chaotic Evil or similar alignments, but who is otherwise quite sane and conscious of what they are doing. The single main reason is because your common psychopath has a much lighter Super Weight than most supervillains do. The Joker is a legitimate threat to Batman, but if faced by someone like Charles Manson, Batman would probably just laugh.

See also Insane Equals Violent, The Butcher, The Dreaded, Mad Bomber, Cute and Psycho, Hair-Trigger Temper, Blood Knight and Psycho for Hire. Many characters with a Hair-Trigger Temper are also Ax-Crazy, as are the Yandere, Cute and Psycho and The Sociopath when they go off the deep end. Also see Mama Bear, Papa Wolf, and Violently Protective Girlfriend, who are capable of temporary Ax-Crazy grade fury when their kids or mate are under threat, though those characters are almost ALWAYS played sympathetically. The canonical Character Alignment for many Ax-Crazy characters is Chaotic Evil. Neutral Evil and Chaotic Neutral examples exist. Sometimes The Unfettered, depending on whether they feel freed or enslaved by their bloodlust.

It's very common to be Played for Drama, while uncommon to be Played for Laughs.

A very large number of pages link to this when they should link to An Axe to Grind. This page is about violent crazy people, not people whose Weapon of Choice is an axe (despite the potential for overlap).


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The HedonistSliding Scale of Antagonist VilenessMad Bomber
Author FilibusterOlder Than FeudalismBadass Bookworm
Attention WhoreCharacter Flaw IndexBad Boss
AutocannibalismHorror TropesBackstory Horror
Author AppealJustForFun/Tropes of LegendBack from the Dead
ExpyOverdosed TropesButt Monkey
Awful Wedded LifeJust for PunAxe Before Entering
A Villain Named ZrgAdministrivia/No Real Life Examples, Please!Backstabbing the Alpha Bitch
An Axe to GrindObviously EvilBad Powers, Bad People
Baldur's GateStop Helping Me!Arcanum
Asshole VictimVillainsBabysitter from Hell
The ShiningImageSource/Live-Action FilmsAxe Before Entering

alternative title(s): Axe Crazy; Axe Craziness; Batshit Crazy; Ax Craziness
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