American Psycho

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"There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there's no real me, only an entity, something illusory."
Patrick Bateman

A book and movie (and soon-to-be[when?] Broadway musical), American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis is the story of a true '80s businessman: rich, shallow, unhappy, self-absorbed, and... a serial killer.

Patrick Bateman is a yuppie's yuppie. He works on Wall Street, has a pretty girlfriend, and spends most of his life in restaurants. However, he is also an insane serial killer who often hallucinates and murders people for no reason at all. In increasingly horrific ways. Most of the people in Pat's life don't really know anything about him, but then, he doesn't know anything about them either. Most of the people he knows cannot even be bothered to remember his name—but he isn't sure about theirs, so it all evens out. There is no one who listens to him; he confesses at least once a week, but no one seems to notice—or care. And Ellis explains that Patrick may not really be a serial killer. Patrick may just be harmlessly insane. Or bored. But Patrick may also be speaking the absolute truth. It's up to the reader to decide.

There is no true plot to the story. It ends as it begins; with Pat sitting in a restaurant, making boring small talk with boring people. Above him is a sign reading 'This Is Not An Exit'. His confession, his telling this to us, has meant nothing. (The book also crosses over with The Rules of Attraction, but like everything else, it's of no consequence whatsoever.)

The book has a sort-of sequel, Lunar Park, which was published in 2005. Lunar Park blurs the lines between fiction and reality, and features various literary representations of Patrick Bateman haunting a very fictionalized version of Bret Easton Ellis. The book mixes cheesy horror with advanced literature theory, Mind Screw and Recursive Canon.

A movie sequel In Name Only to American Psycho is described at the bottom of this page.


Tropes used in American Psycho include:
  • All Just a Dream: Both novel and film allow for the possibility that all the murders only took place inside Bateman's head.
  • Anachronic Order: For much of the book, scenes alternate between early summer and right around Christmas. The lack of chronological order is almost easy to miss, and has almost no effect on the book's narrative structure, since the book has no real narrative.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: At the beginning, Tim Price (one of Bateman's associates) reads a newspaper: "In one issue... in one issue... let's see here... strangled models, babies thrown from tenement rooftops, kids killed in the subway, a Communist rally, Mafia boss wiped out, Nazis, baseball players with AIDS, more Mafia shit, gridlock, the homeless, various maniacs, faggots dropping like flies in the streets, surrogate mothers, the cancellation of a soap opera..."
    • In one chapter, after murdering a dog in a typically gruesome fashion, Patrick goes to the supermarket and gets a rush out of buying a bran muffin with an expired coupon.
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: Patrick's apartment.
  • Asshole Victim: Paul Owen was a colossal prick and Evelyn (although not killed but definitely emotionally devastated) was a pretty horrid individual.
  • Author Filibuster: Although evoked intentionally, there are entire chapters where Patrick stops telling the story altogether, in order to launch into long essay-like rants about pop singers he likes, such as Phil Collins and Whitney Houston.
  • Ax Crazy: Duh.
    • In one scene, he actually uses an ax to kill Paul Owen.
  • Beneath the Mask: While he comes across as charming, mild-mannered and likeable to those in his circle of friends, Patrick is a violent sadist incapable of empathy, remorse or compassion. He refers to this as his "mask of sanity" (an old expression when it comes to serial killers, but one which suits him particularly well).
  • Black Dude Dies First: Patrick Bateman's first victim in the film, is a homeless black man. Of course, his death could have been imagined, like the others.
  • Blood Is the New Black: Patrick Bateman killing an annoying co-worker just as he finishes lecturing him about Huey Lewis and the News.
  • Book Ends: The story begins with Bateman reading graffiti sprayed in red. The story ends with him reading a bar sign in red flanked by red curtains.
    • As well as allusions to hell: the book begins with a quote from Dante's Inferno and the quote in the summary, "This is not an exit," is probably a reference to Sartre's play No Exit.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Patrick, several times. It always goes unnoticed, by characters and, possibly, the readers themselves.

In the middle third of the book, Bateman begins to describe his day-to-day activities, which range from such mundanities as renting videotapes and making dinner reservations to committing brutal murders.

  • Buxom Is Better: Patrick certainly thinks that; every time he finds a woman attractive, he mentions that she has "big tits". When his favorite talk show features a woman who had breast reduction surgery, he calls one of his associates (who is also watching), and they spend the rest of the segment with ridiculing her.
  • Can't Get in Trouble For Nuthin': No one suspects Patrick of anything, even after he confesses everything.
  • Cassandra Truth: There are times when Bateman openly confesses his crimes to people, who either don't believe him, mishear him, or think he's joking.
  • Catch Phrase: "I have to return some videotapes".
  • Continuity Nod: Taking place in the same universe as most of Bret Easton Ellis's novels, there are subtle references to events and characters from other books. Most humorously, Patrick, when buying a tie for his brother Sean, pleases himself my imagining Sean attempting to hang himself with it. Sean actually does try to hang himself using a tie from Patrick in Ellis's earlier novel, The Rules of Attraction.
  • Conversation Casualty: Patrick Bateman certainly contemplates taking a cordless drill to the head of a lady he's chatting up.
  • Costume Porn: Bateman frequently discusses what he and his colleagues/friends are wearing, and their brand names.
    • The author, Bret Easton Ellis, actually subverted this, albeit very covertly. Apparently he knew that the readers of the book would almost certainly be unable to accurately picture the outfits that Patrick describes and would assume the men just look like GQ models and the women look like celebrities doing publicity but in fact the clothes they were described as wearing would actually look "clownish" in real life. This joke was lost in the film adaptation, which plays the trope straight.
  • Crapsack World: So very much. Almost every character, with the exception of Luis, Jean and possibly Courtney, is an absolutely odious individual, completely lacking in anything even remotely like a redeeming feature. Patrick's friends may not be serial killers, but given the vile misogyny and racism they spew out on a regular basis, you wouldn't be the least bit surprised if they were.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Some of Patrick's snarks would make Edmund Blackadder and Gregory House wince. Among them "Fucking you is like trying to make love to a very small, excitable gerbil ... with braces" and "Did anyone ever tell you that you look exactly like Garfield but run over and skinned before being rushed to the vet and having an ugly Ferragamo sweater thrown over him?"
  • Decoy Protagonist: It's only for a very short time, but if you'd read only the first few pages of the novel, you'd think the protagonist is Tim Price.
  • Devil in Plain Sight
  • Disposable Sex Worker: Bateman murders several prostitutes.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Most of Bateman's victims. The ones he has "motives" for are considerably worse, since the ones he has no real motives for can be explained by saying he's just crazy. The one that probably stands out the most is Paul Allen, whom Bateman hacks up with an axe because he had slightly better looking business cards than Bateman.
  • Distracted by My Own Sexy: During the porn film he's making with two prostitutes, Patrick Bateman manages to get distracted by his own sex appeal.
  • Dude, Not Funny: An in-universe example. Patrick pretends to be offended by a racist joke one of his associates tells, though he's actually a virulent racist.
  • Dumb Blonde: The three models (Libby, Daisy and Caron) Patrick and his associates have dinner with in one scene. When they're asked to name any of the planets, two guess the Moon, and the third one guesses Comet.
    • Nearly any woman Bateman interacts with, including his wife-to-be and the woman he's cheating on her with.
    • Then again, Bateman is an unreliable narrator. He might be downplaying the people he interacts with to look smarter or portray the prostitutes as too dumb to live to justify his own actions. After all, when invites his ex to his apartment and she makes sure that the porter saw her and remembers her name Bateman comments on how stupid she is for thinking the man would care
  • Empathic Environment: In the film, the door to Paul Allen's apartment (where Bateman accumulates most of his kills) is lettered "B".
    • The production notes asked for the surfaces in Bateman's kitchen to be covered in stainless steel, like a morgue.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Three characters who Bateman does not kill are Evelyn, his fiancee; Jean, his secretary; and Luis, his gay associate, all of whom are in love with him. Notable, as Bateman finds Evelyn incredibly annoying, but never considers murdering her, and he was actually about to kill Luis, until he revealed he was gay and in love with Bateman. Even though Bateman is disgusted by this he still does not kill Luis.
    • Notable that Jean and Luis are the only two people in the story who seem capable of expressing genuine feelings, even if they disgust or annoy him. Perhaps Evelyn was spared simply out of oddball sentimentalism.
      • It's more likely that their emotions and complexity compared to Bateman's bland associates make them non-targets because they, especially Luis, also don't buy into the conformist yuppie stuff that Bateman secretly hates, and earn some weird form of respect.
      • Either that, or Bateman's incredible narcissism causes him to preserve those who lust after him if only to feel good about spurning their advances—it makes as someone who loves himself he would avoid killing those who idolize him and thus make him feel even more like a stud.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin
  • Extra-Strength Masquerade: Bateman could be caught, but no one cares to catch him.
  • Fan Service: Christian Bale + Shower Scene = Most of the women on the set showing up to watch them film that one scene.
    • Fan Disservice as well when he's running around with nothing but shoes and socks on... and a chainsaw, while cackling insanely. Also the sex scenes really aren't that sexy, and very intentionally so.
      • Case in point: the threesome scene with the streetwalker and the call girl. The scene is actually a tiny bit sexier in the movie (probably because both the actresses are quite good-looking), but that's counteracted by Bateman's actions -- he orders the call girl to rim the streetwalker's anus—and the scene's relentless focus on his egoism; while he's having sex with the two women, he checks himself out and strikes circus-strongman poses for the video camera with which he's filming the threesome.
  • The Film of the Book
  • Finger in the Mail: In the novel, when Patrick Bateman is listing his priorities before Christmas, one of them is "saw a hardbody's head off and Federal Express it to Robin Barker – the dumb bastard – over at Salomon Brothers".
  • For Halloween I Am Going as Myself: Patrick goes to a Halloween party dressed as a mass murderer, complete with real human blood on his suit.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: With a Chainsaw Good.
  • Gainax Ending
  • Girl-On-Girl Is Hot: Patrick is a virulent homophobe when it comes to gay men, but he's obsessed with lesbians. He once wonders, whether he could force his fiancee, Evelyn, to have sex with a woman.
  • Gorn: The book contains some of the most detailed descriptions of mutilation and gore imaginable.
  • Hookers and Blow: Part of Patrick's exceptionally decadent lifestyle.
  • I Call Him "Mister Happy": When a private investigator asks Patrick about Paul Owen, Patrick thinks to himself: "How could I describe Paul Owen to this guy? Boasting, arrogant, cheerful dickhead who constantly weaseled his way out of checks at Nell's? That I'm heir to the unfortunate information that his penis had a name and that name was Michael?"
  • I Have to Go Iron My Dog: "I have to return some videotapes..."
    • Patrick uses other, more outlandish excuses too; for example, he once tells to Courtney that "I'm going to... Noj's. I'm buying coke from Noj". She protests that Noj is not a drug dealer but the chef at the Deck Chairs.
    • Don't forget his important meeting with Cliff Huxtable.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Bateman eats the brain and part of the insides of one of his victims, and later bursts into tears while cooking another... because he thinks he's doing it wrong and can't cook.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted. Patrick stabs a small boy when he's at the zoo, just to see whether he enjoys it. He doesn't, because he doesn't find it evil enough: "how useless, how extraordinarily painless, it is to take a child's life. [...] It's so much worse (and more pleasurable) taking the life of someone who has hit his or her prime, who has the beginnings of a full history, a spouse, a network of friends, a career, whose death will upset far more people whose capacity for grief is limitless than a child's would, perhaps ruin many more lives than just the meaningless, puny death of this boy."
  • Insistent Terminology: For the first half of the novel, he can never call his Secretary 'Jean.' No, it's always 'Jean, my secretary, who is in love with me.'
  • It Was Here, I Swear: Inverted with Batemen's return to his torture chamber, which has inexplicably been repainted from top to bottom, erasing any trace that he was ever there.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Bateman says he attended Harvard.
  • Karma Houdini: Patrick actually confesses (earnestly) all the horrible things he's done to his lawyer, and still nothing comes of it. Of course, that's assuming he did do all the things he describes.
    • Although, he paid for his crimes in Lunar Park where he died in a fire on a boat dock.
  • Kick the Dog: Several, but most notable when he literally kicks a dog to death. After knifing its homeless owner in the eye and belly.
    • In the book, when at the Zoo, he throws nickel coins to the seals, just because he saw a table asking people not to do so (because they can choke on them). This scene makes it evident he's a psychopath; he doesn't do it because he hates the seals, but because the crowd's enjoyment of them angers him.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Patrick's very cold dumping of Evelyn was cruel, no doubt about that, but its difficult to imagine anyone wanting to commit to a lifetime of Evelyn's company.
  • Kill the Poor: Patrick feels nothing but ill will and contempt for the lower classes. In the movie, after he sends one homeless man he meets many mixed signals—from pulling out his wallet and flipping through the money he has to berating him to get a job—Patrick stabs the homeless man to death after he praised Patrick for being "so kind." In his confession to his lawyer over the phone, Bateman claims to have killed "maybe 5 or 10" homeless people altogether.
  • Master of Delusion: Most everybody, but Luis takes home the gold for spotting Bateman stuffing a bodybag into the truck on a cab, then asking where he can find an exquisite "overnight bag" like that one.
  • Minor Flaw, Major Breakup: A variant - at one point in the novel Bateman and several of his colleagues are sitting in a restaurant checking out a hot girl at another table. Tim Price uninterestedly points out that one of her knees is bigger than the other. All three of them notice this and promptly lose all interest in her.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Bateman is about to kill his associate, Luis, by strangling him from behind, but Luis mistakes this as Bateman coming onto him, causing him to reveal that he's gay and in love with Bateman.
  • Mistaken Identity: Many times, but most notably Paul Owen always mistakes Patrick to Marcus Halberstam and Patrick puts effort into maintaining this illusion, even calling Evelyn, his fiancee, "Cecelia" when Owen is around, because that's the name of Halberstam's girlfriend.
    • The most insane example of this is when Bateman, in reference to himself, first calls himself Bateman and then immediately corrects himself and calls himself Marcus.
  • Mood Whiplash: Done quite Brilliantly. The film opens with an extremely dark monologue by Patrick describing his sociopathic tendencies, only for the scene to switch to the sounds of "Walking On Sunshine".
  • Moral Guardians: The book managed to make feminists angry due to its portrayal of violence against women. Bret Easton Ellis received hate mail and death threats. One notable moral guardian who protested the book was feminist Gloria Steinem, who coincidentally just happens to be the stepmother of Christian Bale.
  • Mr. Fanservice: The entire cast. Intentional to highlight their vanity and the complete lack of identity among them.
  • Multiple Narrative Modes: Some chapters are told in the third person, as opposed to the first-person narrative of the rest of the novel.
  • The Musical: From the creator of Spring Awakening and Green Day's American Idiot / 20th Century Breakdown.
  • My Card: Early on, there's a scene where several stockbrokers compare business cards. Paul Allen, who has the fanciest one, is murdered by Patrick as a punishment.
  • Nepotism: Bateman's father "practically owns" P&P. See One-Hour Work Week.
  • Nice to the Waiter: All of Patrick's friends are absolutely horrible to waiters and anyone outside their social circle. Of course not one of them is a good person. Patrick is a little nicer but feels even more contempt for them and is merely trying to make himself look better.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Patrick's charming personality covering over his truly monstrous capacity for violence is very similar to then-recently-executed serial killer Ted Bundy. Bateman even references Bundy at one point.
    • For the film version, Bale modeled Bateman's phony, aggressive friendliness on a clip of Tom Cruise that he saw. Make of that what you will.
      • Perhaps coincidentally, in the novel, Bateman not only shares the same apartment complex with Tom Cruise, but an extremely awkward conversation with him.
  • No Ending: The novel ends with the words "This is not an exit" (on a sign that Patrick reads). The chapters also often end abruptly, and one even ends in mid-sentence.
    • Movie shows same sign above and behind Patrick's head in the last shot.
  • Noodle Implements: Bateman's drawer full of "sex toys" which he uses on the prostitutes. This is one of those times when you really don't want to picture how they're used. There's a hole puncher, for one. What did he do with that? It's never shown what he does with them, but it sent one of the prostitutes to the emergency room.
    • On the other hand, one of the "sex toys" was a coat hanger, and both women have difficulty walking afterward. So now you have an idea...
      • He also mentions that he aborted the babies himself a couple of times when he got women pregnant which gives the coathanger a whole new dimension of horror. He mentions it right after he sends the woman he knocked up to the abortion clinic in a taxi full of baby toys
  • Not Listening to Me, Are You?: Used repeatedly. Patrick often confesses his sociopathic tendencies to friends and associates. They are either not listening or don't care.
  • Not So Different: The way Bateman's murderous sociopathy is juxtaposed with the casual sociopathy of modern America.
    • Not to mention the scene wherein Bateman stabs a homeless man to death while spouting Reagan-era slogans about how the homeless need to just get a job and etc. Very intentional according to the screenwriters of the film. There's also the description of Reagan's insincerity that closely mirrors Patrick's description of his own sociopathy.
  • One-Hour Work Week: Patrick's job is very high-paying, with a cushy office, but he doesn't actually seem to do anything there and has a lot of free time on his hands—when his secretary looks through his diary it's almost empty save for lunch dates. Which helps with his... hobbies. It's mentioned both in the book and the film that it's his dad's company.
  • Pet the Dog: Patrick almost has a moment like this, but then it's ruined. At one point, he notices a pretty homeless girl sitting on the steps of a building with a coffee cup. As he states, his nastiness vanishes, and he honestly wants to do something kind, so he drops a dollar into the cup. Then he realizes that the girl wasn't homeless but a college student, and the cup was full with coffee.
  • Politically-Incorrect Villain: Apart from being a sadistic Serial Killer, Patrick is also racist, antisemitic, sexist, elitist and homophobic (though so are most of his associates, except the serial killer part).
  • Pyrrhic Villainy: By the end of the book, it's clear that all of Patrick's evil and depravity have afforded him nothing. He's still as lonely and miserable and empty as he was at the beginning, and no one, not even his lawyer gives a shit about him.
  • Plucky Office Girl: Jean.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: If you watch the film without reading the book, it's obvious that a lot of the content has been excised without detriment to the narrative.
  • Pretty in Mink: Evelyn wears a lynx coat.
    • The models in the club in one chapter have a mind-numbing conversation about fur as Bateman watches, amazed that they found something to talk about at all.
  • Room Full of Crazy: In the film, the goriest room in Bateman's lair is decorated with the words "DIE YUPPIE SCUM" on the wall.
    • Bateman's day planner also qualifies. Ick.
  • Running Gag: Patrick's obsession with "The Patty Winters Show" and the bizarre subjects of the episodes he watches.
  • Sanity Slippage: As the book goes on, Patrick's descriptions of the mundane parts of his life become peppered with increasingly bizarre details,
  • Sarcastic Confession: Bateman confesses his murders openly to a lot of people, but nobody takes him seriously. Sometimes, his confessions aren't really sarcastic; he actually wants people to believe him, but they never do.
    • More to the point, all the Stepford Yuppies he reveals himself to are too self-involved to hear him correctly. They aren't even hearing or caring enough to not take him seriously. When he declares himself to work in "murders and executions", the conversation goes on about mergers and acquisitions. And when he tries to break up with Evelyn over lunch, his declaration that his need to commit murder on a massive scale was out of control zings right through her hair. Of course, as noted, it's possible that Bateman's mind, including the thinking it/saying it distinction, may not be operating entirely in accordance with OEM specifications.
  • Saw Star Wars 27 Times: In the novel, Patrick mentions that he has rented Body Double 37 times. One chapter follows his train of thought at a video rental store as he picks the movie out "as if he'd been programmed." He also pretends to ignore "the horrified reaction" of a store employee who recognizes Bateman upon being handed the movie box when renting it out for what would be the 38th time. He sometimes likes to describe some of the film's more violent moments to both the reader and other characters throughout the story. "The drill power scene" is Patrick's favorite part.
  • Scenery Porn: Although they manifest themselves as dryly written Walls of Text, Patrick's descriptions of his lavish surroundings, including everything from the furniture in his apartment to the clothing of every character in the book counts as this, to a point. Deconstructed, in that rather than being appealing to the reader, the lengthy, detailed descriptions make both Patrick and the world that surrounds him seem shallow and materialistic.
  • Serial Killer: Go on. Guess who.
  • Serious Business: The Business Card Contest.
    • Also (in the book), Patrick repeatedly tries to get a table at the high-class restaurant Dorsia, and always fails. When he meets with his brother, Sean (whom he despises), and Sean manages to get a table without effort, Patrick is shocked: "My mind is a mess. I don't know what to think or how to feel." He also is utterly spiteful of his brother's casual brush-off of the waitress' flirtations.
    • The two reasons above are why he murders Paul in the film. "TRY GETTING A RESERVATION AT DORSIA NOW, YOU FUCKING STUPID BASTARD!"
      • Things that most people would find irrelevant or trivial are blown out of proportion all over the novel: Paul Owen is murdered over a business deal that nobody even knows the details of. Evelyn gets repeatedly upset at Bateman for not acknowledging, for some inexplicable reason, the Waldorf Salad at her party. The only thing that Bateman feels anything about on vacation is trying to guess how much more money his associate makes than he does.
  • Sexy Secretary: Jean, who constantly tries to get Patrick's attention. Patrick notes that the clothes she wears are "improbably expensive and completely inappropriate".
  • Shaggy Dog Story: "There has been no reason for me to tell you any of this. This confession has meant nothing..."
  • Shout-Out: The book and the movie end with Bateman reading a sign that says "This is not an Exit" a reference to No Exit.
  • Show Within a Show: In the book, frequent references are made to a daytime talk show called The Patty Winters Show. Patrick often brings up the show's topic of the day which ranges from more straight-forward things, such as "Autism" or "Salad Bars," to more bizarre subjects, like a new sport called "Dwarf Tossing," "a boy who fell in love with a box of soap," and "UFOs That Kill." Later interviewees, such as Big Foot, whom Patrick found to "surprisingly articulate and charming" and a Cheerio again makes us question Patrick's sanity.
  • Significant Sketchbook: At the end of the film, Patrick Bateman's secretary finds his planner, which is filled with horrifying sketches of women being tortured, maimed and dismembered.
  • Sleep Mask: The ever-posh Courtney Rawlinson is seen wearing one in the movie.
  • Snuff Film: Patrick sometimes films himself torturing women to death. He once shows one of these videos to a woman before killing her.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • In the film, Patrick repeatedly smashes Paul Allen's head with an axe, to the tune of Huey Lewis and the News's "Hip to be Square".
    • In the novel, he's humming a tune of a TV show that he watched as a child (he can't remember what it was), while making sausage out of the body of a woman he just killed.
  • Stab the Salad: During Bateman's last killing spree, he seems certain to pull a gun on the security guard in his office—but whips out a pen instead.
  • Streetwalker: Christie.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else
    • In the book version Bateman even looks like (and is the same age of) the very detective who's after him.
      • At the Central Park Zoo, Bateman remarks that he spotted a penguin who looks like one of his associates.
      • Throughout the book and the movie, characters address each other by the wrong name. Bateman himself is called Marcus Halberstam, MacLoy, Davis, Smith and Paul Owen. Craig McDermott is addressed as Baxter at one point. This is a part of the social commentary in the story; these yuppies are so self-centered they can't even remember each others' names. Or, more to the point, they look so alike and can't remember each others names to the point that everyone is interchangeable and no one even realizes when their own associates and so-called "friends" are murdered ...maybe.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: In the book, the topic of one episode of The Patty Winters Show is Nazis, which Patrick says he "got a real charge out of." One of the Nazi guests is described by as having juggled grapefruits "in a rare display of humor." Patrick, delighted by this, "sat up in bed and clapped."
  • Three-Way Sex: Patrick does it with callgirls several times.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: See All Just a Dream, above.
    • As stated above, Word of God for the movie version has it, on a DVD commentary track for the movie version, that when the two co-writers were writing the film they thought of it as having every single murder in the story really taking place in some fashion or other but never in exactly the way Bateman hallucinates/lies about/misremembers it.
  • Torture Cellar
  • Torture Porn: In-universe example: Patrick is particularly fond of these sorts of movies.
  • Totally Radical: In a club, after doing coke in the bathroom, Patrick comes out to see that quite a few young punks have come in, and a few black people. He attempts to convince them that he's "hip" and not just some boring yuppie. Hilarity Ensues.

[[Crowning Moment of Funny I stick out my hand at a crooked angle, trying to mimic a rapper. "Hey," I say. "I'm fresh. The freshest, y'know… like, uh, def… the deffest." I take a sip of champagne. "You know… def."
To prove this I spot a black guy with dreadlocks and I walk up to him and exclaim "Rasta Man!" and hold out my hand, anticipating a high-five]].

  • Trademark Favorite Food: Bateman orders several dozen scotches, always J&B, through the course of the book.
  • Understatement: When Bateman calls his lawyer and confesses his murders to the lawyer's answering machine, he concludes it with:

"Uh, I'm a pretty sick guy".

  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: In the novel, Bateman gets in the elevator with Tom Cruise, and attempts to make small talk with him after spending a while debating with himself as to whether he should play it cool and say nothing. The conversation is extremely awkward.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Patrick Bateman is clearly insane and has bizarre hallucinations (i.e. a Cheerio interviewed on a talk show, himself stalked by a park bench) which he believes to be true. It's also ambiguous whether he committed the brutal (and, occasionally, preposterous) murders that he describes in graphic detail.
  • The Un-Smile: Bateman's used car salesman grin becomes even more comical when he's agitated.
  • Upper Class Twit: Everyone in Bateman's social circle.
  • Villain Protagonist: With a capital V.
  • Wall of Text: Inverted in the sense that it's entirely appropriate; whilst such excessive description in a novel is normally unnecessary and undesirable, the fact that the novel is from Bateman's perspective actually serves to exaggerate his consumerist nature and his obsession over minimal, insignificant details.
  • Wham! Line: Two instances (film wise), all within a span of a couple of minutes:

Real estate agent: There was no ad in the Times. I think you should go now.

    • Then a little later...

Bateman: There are no more barriers to cross. All I have in common with the uncontrollable and the insane, the vicious and the evil, all the mayhem I have caused and my utter indifference toward it I have now surpassed. My pain is constant and sharp, and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. In fact, I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape. But even after admitting this, there is no catharsis; my punishment continues to elude me, and I gain no deeper knowledge of myself. No new knowledge can be extracted from my telling. This confession has meant nothing.

  • Watering Down: A couple of the yuppies complain about how the cocaine they've been sold is "a gram of fucking Nutrasweet".

The In Name Only movie sequel American Psycho 2: All American Girl has only a tenuous connection with the original. Narrator Rachel Newman (Mila Kunis) is studying criminal psychology at college, her ambition being to join the FBI at Quantico to hunt serial killers. Her classmates have the same ambition. And since only the top student gets an offer, she starts killing those ahead of her and anyone else who gets in the way. Good performances and plenty of Black Humor make it quite different in style to both the book and first movie (if you didn't like the movie, it could be considered a Surprisingly Improved Sequel).

...of course, the entire idea of a sequel to American Psycho is probably a deal-breaker to a lot of people. Particularly given that, frankly, this one's just another slasher movie.


Provides Examples of[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Hannibal Lecture: Rachel pulls this on both her psychiatrist, Eric Daniels, and teacher, Bobby Starkman. The latter ends up falling out of his office window due to shock.
  • Oddly-Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: The title suggests a much stronger connection with the original than there really is. You don't need to have read or seen the original to enjoy this movie.
  • Old Shame: Mila Kunis isn't proud of this movie.
  • Psycho Strings: Subverted. Rachel commits her murders with bouncy upbeat backing music.
  • Serial Killer: Rachel, obviously.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Rachel believes she is doing good: as she explains, killing a few classmates now will be completely justified by all the lives she saves as an FBI agent. Then it all becomes meaningless; she's killing her rivals to become a certain professor's TA, and he goes on sabbatical when she kills the student he's sleeping with-- he won't have a TA.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Patrick, in the intro.
  • Twist Ending: While you'd be right to suspect that Rachel doesn't really die in a car crash, exactly where she returns (and who as) is nicely done.
  • You Are What You Hate: Bateman despises his friends because they represent parts of himself that he hates and remind him of what he doesn't have.