12 Absorbing Films About Insanity

Movies that treat the subject properly.

One in four people suffer from mental illness in their life, therefore craziness in all its different flavours fascinates and equally appalls humanity at large. The fascination with madness was adopted as a thematic concern in cinema as early as 1920 with Robert Wiene's classic German Expressionist film, The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari. That was far from the end of it, and no director would approach insanity with such gusto as Swedish master Ingmar Bergman who made many very intelligent films that revolved around insanity including Face To Face - in which a psychiatrist has a nervous breakdown, Hour Of The Wolf - which could nearly be called a horror movie it evokes the sensation of encroaching madness so well. It is fair to say, that if you want to wallow in mental health misery, Bergman delivers the goods. But beyond Swedish gloominess, insanity is a theme that film directors revisit time and time again. Mental illness is usually portrayed in the form of psychopathy and murderous villains. And schizophrenics are mass murderers. There is a serious paucity of films that deal positively with mental health. It is much more fun to make the mentally ill look like deviants than to try and understand them. The following films are notable for their interesting and illuminating approach to madness


My first film watched was Carrie aged 2 on my dad's knee. Educated at The University of St Andrews and Trinity College Dublin. Fan of Arthouse, Exploitation, Horror, Euro Trash, Giallo, New French Extremism. Weaned at the bosom of a Russ Meyer starlet. The bleaker, artier or sleazier the better!