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  • Adaptation Displacement: It was a book first.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Is Patrick Bateman really a serial killer, or is he a hallucinating coward?
  • Awesome Music: Averted. The soundtrack is comprised of the cheesiest 80's songs imaginable and Patrick's tastes are often the subject of parody. Patrick's enthusiasm is oddly infectious, though.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: In a chapter that begins and ends in mid-sentence, Bateman wanders on the street, doing things like shoplifting a can of ham from Gristede's for absolutely no reason and buying crack rock from a street dealer and eating it in front of him. This just demonstrates his sociopathy; he doesn't feel differently about shoplifting and torturing people to death.
  • Complete Monster:
    • American Psycho: Patrick Bateman is a despicable Serial Killer and rapist who began to kill for no apparent reasons. One of Bateman's favorite hobbies is to lure prostitutes and escort girls to his appartment, where he would subject them to horrendous tortures, including skinning one of them alive, or having one eaten from the inside out by a rat, among others tortures, while recording all of this for his own sadistic entertainment. Bateman is so petty that he even shows to some of his victims his homemade snuff movies so they would know what tortures would be enacted on them. Boundless, he's also into cannibalism and necrophilia, as well as animal abuse. Bateman also kills vagrants out of spite and axes one of his colleagues by mere jealousy. However, his vilest moment is when he slashes a kid's throat at a zoo in order to see what it feels to kill a kid and prevent the child to be saved by pretending to be a doctor. Eventually going into a killing spree, gunning down anyone he sees, Bateman came to the conclusion that he's irredeemably wicked with no capability for love or compassion whatsoever. Even though it's heavily hinted that most, if not all of Bateman's atrocities are made up in his mind, Bateman is evil to the core as he himself states.
      • He's as depraved in the film. Although many of the gore content was removed in the adaptation, Patrick Bateman is still depicted as a ruthless serial killer and implied cannibal who regularly butchers prostitutes, then stack their corpses somewhere in his attics. At one point, Bateman kills an associate with an ax out of pure spite and then goes into a killing spree after shooting a woman on the streets, successfully killing the police officers who attempted to shot him down. He then confesses to his lawyer by phone that he killed up to forty people, most of them call girls that he tortured beforehand. Though what happens remains ambiguous, he's almost as wicked as his book counterpart.
    • American Psycho 2: All American Girl: the unnamed female protagonist manages to survive an encounter with Bateman, by breaking free of her bonds and killing him before he could harm her. Aiming to become a highly renowned FBI profiler, she kills and steals the identity of Rachel Newmans, before murdering a college administrator for denying her a prestigious position, while microwaving her cat out of cruelty. Systematically killing her rivals in gruesome manners, she goes into a killing spree when her professor denies her the position, by pushing him out of a window, then murders a janitor and a security guard who witnessed the crime. Faking her death, Rachel ends up stealing the identity of another woman who got into the FBI, with no repercussion to her crimes whatsoever. Despite her claims to “killing a few to save many”, the protagonist is nothing more than a massive hypocrite not less wicked than the serial killers she seeks to catch.
  • Death of the Author: Explored in Lunar Park. Ellis sees his characters slipping away from him, and the more they get interpreted by his audience, the more he loses control over them.
  • He Really Can Act: This was the moment everyone started taking Christian Bale seriously as an actor.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Admit it. You find the fact that Bateman and Batman are separated by one letter hilarious. There's no shame in it.
  • Memetic Mutation: Patrick Bateman (and some of his choice reaction shots) has become memetic in and of himself. Also, the entire Huey Lewis and The News and Phil Collins speeches.
    • A specific shot of Bateman in that very scene where he is shown pointing towards the stereo has itself became associated with double posts on Image Boards, mostly due to his general pointing direction ends up pointing towards the post number. He has been nicknamed the "Doubles Guy".
    • "I have to return some videotapes".
    • Much of the movie's script is subject to snow cloning relevant to any random topic brought up on its IMDb board.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The rat scene in the novel. Pretty much unfilmable.
    • Some of the murder descriptions in the book are absolutely chilling, especially the deaths of Sabrina and Christy.
  • Nightmare Retardant: The sheer absurdity leading up to and/or during some of Patrick's murders makes it hard to take them seriously. This is intentional.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Seeing the guy who would be made famous by his role as Batman play a psychopathic murderer The Joker would be shocked by is quite odd.
  • Role Association: Holy crap, Batman and the Green Goblin are having a conversation, and Batman's the bad guy.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political: A major theme underlying the less violent aspects of Bateman's sociopathy are very in line with hard right wing philosophies of the 80's. Of particular note is his insane homophobia, and the several conversations he and his associates have about how they believe that a straight man can't get AIDS (during the Reagan administration, the government did almost nothing to inform the public about AIDS). Bateman himself also makes several references to Reagan, and how Bateman believes he is just as insincere as Bateman himself. He also enjoys taunting the homeless (when he isn't killing them) by calling them deadbeats and spouting Reagan-esque "wisdom" at them.
    • There's also Bateman's little speech towards the beginning of both the movie and the book, where he mentions all the "hot button" topics of the 80's, mention how "we need to do this, do that, do this, etc"... while completely failing to even begin explaining how he plans on fixing said problems, mirroring the "feel good" politics of the 80's that pumped up confidence in America while failing to solve any real problems.
    • Bateman and his circle of "friends" are also extremely shallow, and are completely obsessed with having everything that everyone else they know has, but bigger, better, more expensive, representing the vapidity of 80's consumer culture.
  • What Do You Mean It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Rambling sections of this book delve into this realm, including a chapter that switches to third person partway through, only to switch back to first towards the end of the chapter.
    • Remember that it's all supposed to be Bateman's own firsthand accounts, so if anything this is more like "What Do You Mean the Narrator Character Isn't On Drugs". Which in the story, he very frequently is.
      • In the movie, there's only a few instances of Bateman using drugs. He does take some pills before he kills Paul Allen, and there is one point when he's snorting coke, although he discovers that it's half a milligram of sweetener (or very, very cut). Timothy Bryce is notably taking a number of drugs, although many of the scenes that emphasized this character trait were deleted from the final cut. And, of course, Courtney Rawlinson is normally operating on one or more.
  • The Woobie: Jean. Bateman offhandedly insults her outfits several times, and she was obviously waiting for that date with him for years.
    • A scene in the book involves Jean's hesitatant admission of love to Bateman. His response is even more tentative because he is unable to explain to her the sheer extent of his sociopathy and depersonalization. This frames just how hopeless her love for him is; Bateman even points this out in his own internal monologue.
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