PSYCHOLOGY AND HORROR (THE COLLECTOR)

Posted: November 18, 2012 in Psychology and Horror

Today I am introducing a new segment to the site called “Psychology and Horror”. Each week I will break down specific serial killers from all of our favorite horror movies and give an in-depth explanation as to why these psychopaths commit their crimes. Of course, I will take a psychological approach being that I major in Forensic Psychology.

The first killer I will discuss is the man known as “The Collector”. He is of course the serial killer in the movie ‘The Collector’ and will continue his trail of carnage in the much anticipated sequel ‘The Collection’. Many people love watching these type of horror movies; they love the suspense, the gore, and they love being scared. The one thing holding these movies back is that most people do not believe this could happen; they love the movies, but believe they are unrealistic. Notice that new horror movies have taken on the “found footage” approach in an attempt to make their movie more realistic, and therefor provide the audience with a true sense of fear. While this new technique has proven to work, let’s take a step back and understand that “The Collector” represents a true psychopath; he is someone that cannot be reasoned with and someone who will never stop. Can someone like this really exist? Of course; let’s examine the most notorious serial killers in American history, which include Ted Bundy, John Gacy, and BTK. Both Bundy and Gacy sexually assaulted their victims while also dismembering them.  BTK stands for Bind Torture Kill and he truly defined horror in the United States. BTK also displayed the most similarities to “The Collector”; their techniques were similar, but signature and MO were slightly different. So while these “found footage” movies (Paranormal activity) seem more real, do me a favor and ask your-self one question; when is the last time you have seen a ghost? And then ask yourself the last time you heard about a serial killer or violent murder; I guarantee you will understand what I am saying.

“The Collector” would be categorized as a disorganized asocial offender; this means he is socially inadequate, but is still able to find a job that allows him to fulfill his fantasies. In this case “The Collector” was able to put on a fake image and work with the exterminators in the original film; although he did not really talk, his demeanor made him fit in. With this type of personality, the killer is not able to move outside of his comfort zone; he usually stays in the same area, lives alone, and has a secret hiding place. This type of personality is nocturnal and usually finds an external object that matches his personality (the spider/bugs). Although this personality also suggests some organization, no one serial killer can meet every standard within the definition. These crimes are clearly organized which tells us that this is not impulsive behavior and he is truly an unstoppable force. Although “The Collector” displays some of the characteristics found in an organized nonsocial personality, the majority of his behavior matches that of an asocial offender.

All murders are sexually motivated, and while “The Collector” did not have sex with his victims, he got off by the amount of power and control he had when torturing these individuals. He gets his power by knowing he can play god; he controls the victim’s pain level and knows he can make them do whatever he wants. Although he sets traps for everyone else, he picks certain individuals and kills them slowly; prolonging the crime gets him off. There is something about these specific individuals; he seems to pick the dominate person (The dad, husband, and Arkin) which allows him to demonstrate his strength and power. This man is not truly insane, but he does display signs of a personality disorder which I will get to later. Based on the information provided to me, I would consider “The Collector” to be Power/Control Serial Killer.

We are a product of our environment and childhood plays a huge factor in determining the type of person we are going to be. Most serial killers are abused in some kind of way (sexually, physically, verbally) or witness this abuse happening to others. When a child experiences this type of trauma, he is unable to comprehend the severity of the incident and does not recognize it as inappropriate behavior. This results in violent fantasies and prevents the child from having a normal relationship with children his age. Psychodynamic theory explains that childhood trauma leads to violent behavior; while the fantasies of children start out innocent, the isolation from the outside world and the continued abuse causes the fantasies to turn violent. Children begin to mirror their abuse onto others until it becomes difficult to distinguish fantasy from reality. At some point the child needs more than the fantasy; he might choose to kill animals if he is a victim from physical abuse, or molest a young family member if he has been sexually assaulted. In the case of “The Collector”, he loved the dominance he felt in the fantasies; he loved the control and felt sexual gratification. This is the same type of control he saw his abuser have when the incidents occurred. Psychopath and sociopath are used interchangeably; it is my determination that “The Collector” is a full functioning psychopath. He is unable to control his urges, no indication of fear or guilt, and fantasizes about murder, dismemberment, and torture. No treatment exists!!

It can be anyone! The eyes of a Psychopath!!
Written by Mr. Blood!

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Comments
  1. Pat says:

    Wow, this actually made me take a serious look at horror movies! Very insightful! I have seen the first one, and while it is not my kind of movie, this has made me respect it more!

  2. Raymond says:

    Cannot wait to see the first one! You are going to let me borrow it right? No, you are all weird about letting people borrow your movies…ill go buy it. Very nice post!

  3. michelle says:

    Well written! I love horror movies, but you raise a good point…serial killers are a lot more realistic than my paranormal movies.

  4. Cassie says:

    no offense, but I think horror movies should be left alone..no need to know why they kill..I think no motive is scarier.

    • "Mr. Blood" says:

      No offense taken; definitely not for everyone! A lot of people just watch movies to be entertained! I am just a little obsessed, lol.

  5. Amanda says:

    Wow! This is a pretty interesting perspective.. having a degree in forensic psychology as well, and taking a psychological profiling course, I can see the point you were going for. I kind of agree with Cassie.. that sometimes we go see these type of movies for escape (especially those that work with the darker things that others do not) and do not need a reminder. That being said, I had never heard of The Collector, or the Collection, and would be interested in seeing both! Thanks for the great article Mr. Blood!

    • I appreciate your comments; knowing that you agree with my diagnosis means a lot to me considering you are also into psychology. There are so many different types of killers and personalities; most killers are sociopaths, but thats also combined with so many other things. This was a difficult but also very fun post!!

  6. Janet Lee says:

    Wow, this was magnificent!! Honestly, I thought this was going to be a total waste of time! It seems like every horror movie leaves no room to examine the mind of that specific killer or killers; jason, freddy krueger, Michael Myers, and all the movies involving possession have no realistic reason for why they kill. I mean, none of them can die! “The Collector” is a true psychopath and the writers really left room for human qualities…if that makes sense.

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