Monster Monday: Patrick Bateman ‘American Psycho’ created by Brett Easton Ellis

**Contains American Psycho spoilers because…well, go read and watch it, it’s awesome, and horrible, and hilarious, and deeply upsetting. Welcome to the Haunted Eyeball.****

We’re moving away from Disney this week (though we’ll definitely be returning to the demonic house of mouse at some point) and we’re taking a humanoid approach to this week’s Monster Monday. Well, he can pass for human, anyway. Mostly. What Patrick Bateman actually is, is something far more terrifying.

Doesn't seem so bad, does he...

Doesn’t seem so bad, does he…

He’s a yuppie. Which, to clarify for those born after 1980, means he’s a stupidly rich, callous motherfucker. Actually, probably easier to just call him a banker and leave it at that. Striding the streets of late 190s New York in Armani, while utilizing a very strict skincare routine, Bateman kills and kills again, he stomps tramp to death along with their poor puppies, he gives drugged out dates chocolate covered urinal cakes as a dessert. He also has extremely convoluted thoughts on the music of Whitney Huston when she was an 1980s diva. That’s the sort of monster we’re dealing with. Shudder. However, if  you’re interested, there’s a very interesting study into how rich people get progressively less empathic – though we doubt that that would really explain Bateman, either.

Oh, and he NEVER gets caught.

Now, to be clear, this really isn’t going to be an incredibly in-depth analysis of everyone’s favourite American Psycho (no, not you Dexter). There’s a time and place for that (we love us some analysis) but, not on here and not today, anyway. This Monster Monday about Patrick Bateman is purely to celebrate how he makes us confront our inner sickos. Or if he doesn’t well, good for you.

So let’s talk Bateman.

american_psycho

Frankly, compared to what else is out there, Patrick Bateman is almost comical. Not least because, well, he might just be completely out of his mind, and the whole horrific story is  delivered by an unreliable narrator cop-out of the highest order. (The author has denied it’s all in Bateman’s head, though). That and the ten page monologues on what Bateman likes to wear and why Hip to Be Square like, totally sums up important stuff, probably. Yes. He takes himself so seriously, it should be a comedy. (We’d argue it is…a very very very very dark one). See, mostly, Patrick Bateman just likes to hurt people. Women especially. Yick. The jarring flip from Bateman’s discussion of the latest GQ cover and angst about the right business card, right over to incredibly detailed descriptions of torture, murder and things that would make Leatherface shake his head, are all part of the character’s hypnotic appeal. This is one twisted fuck, and he lives on Wall Street.

That’s up against some pretty stiff psychotic competition.

Let’s be clear. The ‘all a dream’ explanation for Bateman would suck. Unless you’re that unfortunate woman he treated to his hose pipe and rat douche which, well…but it would remove the power of the book. It’s basically pure splatterpunk translated through the uppity lens of high literature. What’s the difference between this and a masterpiece like Ketchum’s ‘The Woman’? Apart from, like, awards and publishing ‘accolades’. Still, they’re both brilliant, but you know, labels are bad, mmkay?

This is how a date with Patrick Bateman generally ends, by the way...

This is how a date with Patrick Bateman generally ends, by the way…

However, Bateman definitely falls under ‘M’ for ‘Monster’. But even worse, surely, (unless you are the unfortunate hooker being brutally chainsawed through the crotch by him at the time) are the people who are stopping him from even being caught. His disgustingly rich father has to be protecting him. That’s hinted at. Suggested. Never overt. Conspiracies are comforting. Otherwise, the world would see what a sicko Bateman is, and they would stop him. The world would definitely stop him. Right? Bad guys are caught all the time. Aren’t they? It’s a good thing we’re all rational enough to deal with this and have enough security in the world’s empathy that this sort of thing is laughed off as an anomaly of a sick mind…..*nervous laugh*

Brett Easton Ellis' sick little mind, to be precise. *gives Brett an unwanted hug*

Brett Easton Ellis’ sick little mind, to be precise. *gives Brett an unwanted hug*

Only, we all go a little mad sometimes. Bateman is one way to pin it to the screen or the page. Or the musical theatre outing. Nice. Because, when the highest rated, most heavily downloaded show (Game of Thrones) has a man getting SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER his cock brutally chopped off by another guy who looks like a psychotic hobbit (no, really he does, and he also deserves his own Monster Monday when the series actually finishes) plus, all the graphic rape in the show and head’s gleefully exploding END SPOILER END SPOILER END SPOILER then, we can’t get on our high horse about about Bateman anymore. We are desensitised. We deserve Bateman now. He’s been absorbed and chewed up.

This is best epitomised by the newish West End musical of American Psycho, starring Doctor Who as Bateman (a far more appropriate use for creepy babyfaced gurner Matt Smith, in our opinion). Surely, if popular culture is going to grind up and spit out something as blackly vicious as Ameican Psycho, and shove a load of ironic songs in it (I’m also looking at you, Evil Dead) then it’s only a matter of time before we get a Hellraiser musical. Well, we can hope.

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Book review: The Man With the Blue Hat by Wendy Potocki

Uptight perfectionist Beth is having a very bad time. After a fitful night’s sleep, she learns that her young daughter has answered the door to the eponymous man with a blue hat who has one message – he’s coming for Beth. She then begins to spawn awful, murderous thoughts towards her child, and the people of her sleepy New England town also start to become aggressive as insomnia takes hold of the population. As the blame for everyone’s madness turns on her, Beth must remember Continue reading

Review: Dark Passage by Griffin Hayes

Tyson’s nightmares are overwhelming him, fracturing his mind, his family life and his business. In a final, desperate measure he takes on a clinical trial of a new drug, allegedly designed to aid his sleep, which soon reveals some rather grim side effects. At first, things seem to be going well and it brings him considerable benefits. However, nothing is quite what it seems, least of all his encroaching nightmares and the real source of his problems. We reckon it’s not exactly what the reader will expect either.

This unpredictability made Dark Passagea very compelling read. While at first it appears to be a typical thriller outline, and the order of character deaths are not really going to shock you, there were enough curveballs in the mix to keep us pushing on to the next chapter, eager to get to the next scene and chew on the next crumb of information. As we said, it’s not quite clear what’s going on until it all clicks near the end. Another character attempting to make sense of insanity is the ambitious, and obsessive, Doctor Hunter, and he is nicely woven into the uncanny web of Tyson’s problems.

The tightly written characters were a pleasing range between banal, brave and pure evil. Really, really evil. But it’s also great to have a real hero to root for amidst all the horror, and Tyson was a very likeable lead. Your eyelids will ache in sympathy as he battles his sleepless state, attempting to dodge his debilitating dreams. It was very easy to get behind him as the awful truth emerges, and the battles against his nightmares become increasingly lethal.

From its sinister opening chapter, to a rather clever finale, this was a solid horror thriller that made great use of some very surreal twists. We were thoroughly hooked on the story, from its unsettling start, all the way up to an unexpectedly heart breaking conclusion. Vividly written (although we’d still love to see a graphic novel version), if you enjoy well-written action, not-entirely gratuitous gore, and freaky monsters from Beyond (and who doesn’t?), then Dark Passage is very definitely for you.

Strongly recommended.

The Eyeball picked up Dark Passage in January during a Kindle sale.

Griffin Hayes – related links Blog: griffin-hayes.blogspot.com Twitter: @griffin_hayes Griffin’s spooky mailing list (excellent image on the site)! Facebook Goodreads Find Dark Passage on  Amazon.com Amazon author page

Book Review: Townhouse, a Tale of Terror by Brian Rowe

Today the Eyeball reviews Brian Rowe’s LA based horror/thriller,Townhouse: A New Adult Thriller.Brian has also been interviewed on the Eyeball here.

Sara is a would-be writer based in LA, who has found herself living with, and sort-of engaged to, the father of her unborn child, even though she barely knows him. The reluctant couple are making the best of it, and even move into an upscale Townhouse together, although they’re both conflicted about their committment. While her fiancé strives to reach the top at his agency, Sara struggles to write a bestseller, and make sense of her decisions, while stuck at home alone. Then the local disappearances start to rack up, and she comes to suspect that another inhabitant of the townhouse block might be hiding a deadly secret. Of course, she just has to investigate behind closed doors and that opens up a whole new world of hurt.

With freaky goings on and a well drawn cast, Townhouse reads like a great 1980s horror thriller. The pace rattles along, delivering a steadily climbing level of dread that hits a satisfying peak. Brian Rowe has a very a sympathetic ear for a bunch of unlikable characters, who nonetheless draw you into the story. It was enormously fun to follow the mystery and figure out who the killer might be, and of course, everyone is a potential suspect.

A bone-fide page turner, this will leave you breathless, and perhaps a little annoyed at the rush to the payoff, but it’s still a very enjoyable thrill ride. Fans of whodunit slasher movies will most likely adore it. Although it goes a bit off the rails towards the very end, and the grand guignol becomes more of a grande flood (sic), by that point it’s really earned it. One other quibble is – why does the killer have to speak in CAPS ALL THE TIME? This was rather distracting, as their actions had already proved how batshit crazy they were.

This aside, Townhouse is a terrific tale of terror, which can be devoured in a couple of eager sittings but leaves a bloody good impression.

And remember – watch your neighbours closely, or you could be next!

More Brian Rowe info:

Brian currently has a young adult horror trilogy on Amazon: The Vampire Underground, The Zombie Playground, and The Monster Apocalypse and the first part is free on Amazon:

The Vampire Underground (Grisly High Trilogy, Book 1)

Plus!

Brian has also been interviewed on the Eyeball here.

Good Reads page on Townhouse

Twitter@mrbrianrowe

Brian’s Website

Also on the Eyeball

Abberations – Jeremy Shipp