The patron saint of punk rockers and various other fine mohawk aficionados, Travis Bickle has gone down in history as one of the most challenging characters of American cinema. A socially inept loner with delusions of grandeur and a decidedly unhealthy obsession with weapons, he's the man every crazed gunman aspires to be.
Operating his taxi cab, Travis ventures into the hellish underbelly of New York City, where he encounters pimps, drug dealers and Albert Brooks. Recoiling in disgust and anger, he records his thoughts in a journal (archaic precursor to the blog), slowly descending into madness.
He resorts to violence, eventually targeting politician Charles Palantine for assassination. But after a failed assassination attempt, Travis disposes of his excess bullets by firing them into Harvey Keitel and two other dudes who aren't as famous. Yay vigilante justice!
The Real Guy: Arthur Bremer
Arthur Bremer, like Bickle, was a lonely, socially awkward young man who felt distanced from normal society. In the film, when Bickle nabs a date with Cybill Shepherd, he sabotages the potential relationship by taking her to a porn film (something that should wait until at least the third date). Likewise, after years of loneliness, Bremer finally managed to get a girlfriend, but ruined it by talking explicitly about sex and showing her pornographic images.
After the break-up, Bremer stalked his ex and shaved his head, contributing two more quirks to the psychological profile that would influence the creation of Travis Bickle. He also kept a personal journal in which he outlined his plans to assassinate either Richard Nixon or George Wallace. After a failed attempt at killing Nixon, he settled on Wallace, managing to get a few bullets off before being subdued. He did this wearing dark glasses and a Wallace button.
That's right, at some point someone involved with the film intentionally substituted a pro-segregation presidential candidate...
... for Harvey Keitel in a pimp hat and chest-slacks.
This is why movies are way better than real life, kids.
A maniacal motherlover, Norman Bates owns a motel which caters to clientele who prefer rooms with a view...
...of really creepy houses.
A good mama's boy all-around, when his dear old mom passes away, Norman opts to keep the decaying body. When Janet Leigh comes to visit and Norman sneaks a peak at her goods, Mother (who, remember readers, is fucking dead) doesn't like that very much. In response, she takes a knife to poor Miss Leigh. And by "she," we mean Norman, dressed up in his dead mommy's sleepwear.
Eventually, Norman is discovered, and a trip down to his cellar reveals Mother, relaxing in a rocking chair.
The Real Guy: Ed Gein
Like so many other horror icons, Norman took his cue from notorious serial killer Ed Gein, whose psychological profile and notoriety inspired novelist Robert Bloch, author of the book Psycho.
Growing up in the care of his fanatical mother, Ed Gein, like Norman, became dominated by her influence. She enforced a strict moral code, condemning the evils of alcohol, women, friendship and life in general. What the hell wasn't evil to this woman? Distilled water?
As one might expect, little Ed Gein didn't make many friends. His primary relationship was with his mother, and when she died, he didn't take it very well.
"Mama always said life was like that box from Hellraiser."
After a local woman went missing, police investigated Gein's home, where they found an impressive collection of decomposing human body parts, including decapitated corpses, human skulls, human noses, etc.
Of course, Gein didn't keep his mother's corpse around the house. No, instead Gein made frequent trips to local cemeteries, hoping to dig up the corpses of women who might've resembled his mother. Wait, that's actually worse.
But he didn't dress up like his dead mom to kill his victims, that part is ridiculous Hollywood fantasy. No, the real Gein skinned the women and wore their hides.
You probably guessed that was also the inspiration for the serial killer from Silence of the Lambs, but that's what makes the whole situation that much more fucked up. For Hitchcock's serial killer movie to meet the moral standards of Hollywood in his day, he had to tone down the freaking real story.
Read more from Joe at JoeOliveto.blogspot.
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