YMMV / American Psycho


  • Adaptation Displacement: It was a book first.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Is Patrick Bateman really a serial killer, or is he a hallucinating coward, or is he an utterly unremarkable and bored white collar worker who has escapist fantasies about being a serial killer to make himself and his humdrum life seem more interesting?
  • Awesome Music: Defied. The soundtrack is comprised of the cheesiest 80's songs imaginable and Patrick's tastes are often the subject of parody. Patrick's enthusiasm is oddly infectious, though.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: In a chapter that begins and ends in mid-sentence, Bateman wanders on the street, doing things like shoplifting a can of ham from Gristede's for absolutely no reason and buying crack rock from a street dealer and eating it in front of him. This just demonstrates his sociopathy; he doesn't feel differently about shoplifting and torturing people to death.
  • Can't Un-Hear It: Try and read the book without hearing Christian Bale. Go on, I dare you.
  • Complete Monster: Patrick Bateman is a despicable and narcissistic psychopath who moonlights as a horrific mass murderer while keeping up his public image as a stock broker. Bateman's career of torture and murder having started for no discernible reason, his most frequent act of depravity is luring women to his apartment, then brutally raping and butchering them in the most horrifying ways he can imagine. Be it nailing them to the floor, lopping their heads off, or bisecting them with a chainsaw, Bateman indulges in every act of sick cruelty he can muster, and even delves into cannibalizing his victims. Bateman's evil is so petty and unpredictable that he disembowels vagrants after giving them pep talks, takes an axe to one of his associates for, among other slights, having a better business card than him, and tortures defenseless animals. One of his crowning moments of vileness comes when Bateman slashes a child's throat, then pretends to be a doctor trying to save him, just to see how it feels, quickly deciding it isn't as fulfilling as killing someone who has lived a full life and thus loses more when he ends them. After going on a slaughter spree throughout his city, gunning down every one he sees, Bateman comes to the conclusion that he is completely and totally wicked with no capability of care or compassion for others. Though the idea that some of his crimes were imagined by him is implied, Bateman's character is nevertheless pure evil. Driven by his sadism and pathological desire to be important, Patrick Bateman fully earns the various terms he is referred to as: an inhuman, a ghoul, and a monster.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Patrick excuses himself from Detective Kimball by saying he has "a lunch meeting with Cliff Huxtable at the Four Seasons in 20 minutes." In 2014, this line either became this or a possible dose of Fridge Brilliance.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Patrick gives detailed descriptions of each character's clothes, including brand names and prices. Readers who are extremely knowledgeable about 80's fashion will notice that the outfits are clownishly mismatched.
    • There's a similar gag involving the food at the various restaurants, which go from outrageous but plausible (red snapper pizza) to outright inedible (mud soup and charcoal arugula).
  • He Really Can Act: This was the moment everyone started taking Christian Bale seriously as an actor.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Mostly due to Christian Bale playing Batman...
  • Just Here for Godzilla: A lot of people are here for Bateman to kill people
  • Nausea Fuel: If you're sensitive to blood and gore, you will put the book down at least once due to the extremely graphic violence described. Don't say we didn't warn you.
  • Memetic Mutation: Patrick Bateman (and some of his choice reaction shots) has become memetic in and of himself. Also, the entire Huey Lewis and the News, Phil Collins, and Whitney Houston speeches.
    • A specific shot of Bateman in that very scene where he is shown pointing towards the stereo has itself became associated with double posts on 4chan, mostly due to his general pointing direction ends up pointing towards the post number. He has been nicknamed the "Doubles Guy".
    • "I have to return some videotapes".
    • Much of the movie's script is subject to snow cloning relevant to any random topic brought up on its IMDb board.
    • And, of course, this infamous, catchall reaction image.
    • TRY GETTING A RESERVATION AT DORSIA NOW, YOU FUCKING - STUPID - BASTARD!
      • And by extension, Bateman's monologue on Huey Lewis and the News leading up to that murder.
    • The entire business card scene.
    • "Feed me a stray cat."
    • The American Psycho analysis from this parody of the Huey Lewis and the News scene.
  • Nightmare Retardant: The sheer absurdity leading up to and/or during some of Patrick's murders makes it hard to take them seriously. This is intentional.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Seeing the guy who would be made famous by his role as Batman play a psychopathic murderer The Joker would be shocked by is quite odd.
    • Even odder is that one of his victims would go on to play the Joker!
      • People have joked in social media circles that American Psycho is the only movie in which people get to see Batman kill the Joker.
    • You even get the R-rated version of Little Women with Laurie and Amy screwing each other.
  • Vindicated by History: The film polarized critics when it came out. Its Rotten Tomatoes rating is only 67%, and its Metacritic score is 64; decent, but not stunning. Since then, it's been almost universally recognized as a classic. One can say that, once it hit DVD, the film really came into its own - commercially and artistically.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?:
    • A major theme underlying the film is that the less violent aspects of Bateman's sociopathy are much in line with the prevailing right-wing philosophies of The '80s. Of particular note is his insane homophobia, and the several conversations he and his associates have about how they believe that a straight man can't get AIDS (during the Reagan administration, the government did almost nothing to inform the public about AIDS). Bateman himself also makes several references to Reagan, and how Bateman believes he is just as insincere as Bateman himself. He also enjoys taunting the homeless (when he isn't killing them) by calling them deadbeats and spouting Reagan-esque "wisdom" at them.
    • There's also Bateman's little speech towards the beginning of both the movie and the book, where he mentions all the "hot button" topics of The '80s, mention how "we need to do this, do that, do this, etc"... while completely failing to even begin explaining how he plans on fixing said problems, mirroring the "feel good" politics of the 80s that pumped up confidence in America while failing to solve any real problems.
    • Bateman and his circle of "friends" are also extremely shallow, and are completely obsessed with having everything that everyone else they know has, but bigger, better, more expensive, representing the vapidity of 80s consumer culture.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Rambling sections of this book delve into this realm, including a chapter that switches to third person partway through, only to switch back to first towards the end of the chapter.
    • Remember that it's all supposed to be Bateman's own firsthand accounts, so if anything, this is more like "What Do You Mean the Narrator Character Isn't On Drugs". Which, in the story, he very frequently is.
      • In the movie, there's only a few instances of Bateman using drugs. He does take some pills before he kills Paul Allen, and there is one point when he's snorting coke, although he discovers that it's half a milligram of sweetener (or very, very cut). Timothy Bryce is notably taking a number of drugs, although many of the scenes that emphasized this character trait were deleted from the final cut. And, of course, Courtney Rawlinson is normally operating on one or more.
    • That being said, Ellis has made little secret of his problems with drugs and alcohol, so this may well be a literal example of the trope.
  • Tear Jerker: This depends on your interpretation of the ending of course, but Bateman's existence is so shallow and meaningless he can't even understand basic human interaction. He even cries during one of his murders that he just wants to be loved. And everyone around him is so self-absorbed they literally don't notice his frequent confessions to his crimes. By the end, it feels like a cry for help.
    • EVERYTHING with Jean, She really loves Patrick but he spends most of his time treating her like garbage and their "date" becomes very bad. And that's not even getting to the ending when she finds Patrick's planner filled with drawings of his murders...
    • The movie scene with Patrick and Courtney sharing a surprising intimate moment over each other's insecurities of their love lives and how broken as individuals they are. Like everything else, it doesn't come up agaiin.
  • Watch It for the Meme: A lot of people watch the movie just for the Huey Lewis and The News speech.
  • The Woobie: Jean. Bateman offhandedly insults her outfits several times, and she was obviously waiting for that date with him for years. The date ends sourly especially in the movie adaptation. Also, in the film, she finds his journal with images of murdering/raping women.
    • A scene in the book involves Jean's hesitatant admission of love to Bateman. His response is even more tentative because he is unable to explain to her the sheer extent of his sociopathy and depersonalization. This frames just how hopeless her love for him is; Bateman even points this out in his own internal monologue.
    • Christie. After sex, Bateman beats her up so badly that she ends up in the hospital. He seeks her out again, and she's so desperate for the money that she agrees to go to his apartment a second time. She nearly escapes, but dies from an expertly timed ax-throw from Bateman.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/AmericanPsycho