OK, they don’t have to be American. But I want movies about Patrick Bateman-like antiheroes; the way Patrick cheerily replied “Yes it is!” when Allen asked him if he was wearing a raincoat, encapsulates the kind of character I want to join in exploring his problems. An ostensibly high-functioning but hopelessly psychotic serial killer. Are there any other good movies about people like this?
The Hannibal Lecter movies?
Man Bites Dog is European, but the main character displays just the kind of fun, upbeat attitude I think you’re looking for.
Neither Hannibal nor the guy he helps track down are ostensibly high-functioning.
I love European film. I only said “American psychos” for punning purposes. Thanks!
Pretty Poison has two, one played by Tony Perkins and one by Tuesday Weld.
The Stranger and The Third Man with Orson Welles.
Any of the movies inspired by Leopold and Loeb, including Compulsion (another Orson Welles movie), Rope and Swoon.
Magic with Anthony Hopkins.
Strangers on a Train.
Dexter on Showtime seems to be a show that would fit your criteria…plus it is a damned good show.
Damn, I was going to come in to mention Man Bites Dog. Strongly reccomend it.
I don’t know about higher-functioning, but Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer is a very realistic-seeming and disturbing picture of a serial killer.
Ripley’s Game with John Malkovich as Tom Ripley.
If you can tolerate Owen Wilson (I can, but I realize some can’t) his role as a polite and amiable serial killer in The Minus Man sounds right up your alley. He looks for people who he thinks really want to die, so he’s, uh, doing a good deed, in his mind. An extra bonus (for me, anyway) was that an adorable Janeane Garofalo is in it. Other actors in the film include Brian Cox, Mercedes Ruehl, Dwight Yoakam, Dennis Haysbert, Larry Miller, and Sheryl Crowe as the first one in the film who is beneficiary of his “kindness.”
Vince Vaughn is a charming and crafty serial killer in Clay Pigeons, a pretty good movie. It also stars an adorable Janeane Garofalo, as a cop investigating, and the lead (the Clay in the title) is actually Joaquin Phoenix.
Ditto Pretty Posion, a great unjustly obscure movie featuring a stunning psycho Tuesday Weld and a great dorky psycho Anthony Perkins.
The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane (1977) starring Jodie Foster and Martin Sheen