Lucifer and American Psycho

7:00 AM


Jackson Pollock, Lucifer, 1947


I wanted to do American Psycho and a Jackson Pollock piece, because the two are tied together in my mind through the splatter, but they have very different meanings. That may seem and odd thing to say while talking about a painting entitled Lucifer, but I beg to differ. Jackson Pollock was an artist painting, per se, during the 1940s and 50s. He acted as a symbol for atomic anxiety after World War II, the very thing I see when I look at Lucifer. In essence, Pollock commended peace through his frenzied paintings rather than violence. It's supposed to be a juxtaposition when sitting next to a clip of Patrick Bateman smashing some jerk's brains in while listening to Huey Lewis and the News, but it isn't. There are more ties than I really want to acknowledge. The black, like cracks in a sidewalk, demand your attention. I can't stare at it for long without hyperventilating. By the way, not a fan of 80s pop. Everything about this, the painting, the scene, the music, is upbeat. Well, the painting and scene are more like an accelerating heartbeat rather than the song.

Patrick Bateman is the epitome of an 80s suit clad, business executive jerk. He even wears the stereotypical blue shirt with white collar, except the tie is red and not yellow. At least that's what I think of when someone says "80s Wall Street." Bateman struggles to stay alive in this back stabbing business, taking the pressure of business card showdowns off by attending spas and killing his coworkers. Let me play the devil's advocate for a minute and say that Paul Allen was a real...word-I-can't-say-in-this-blog. I constantly find myself on Bateman's side throughout the entire movie, even finding it painful to watch as others completely disregard and humiliate him. So, it's pretty satisfying when Bateman swings that hammer. But the question I keep asking myself about this movie is this: why make a serial killer so pitiable? I feel bad for him, but Bateman is a serial killer. Serial killers, in my mind, hold a certain kind of power in their work, and they must also hold power in the world around them. How else could they get away with killing more than one person? Also, the act of killing someone is a gain of power. I mean, you literally hold that persons life in your hands. That's power. At least, this is what I've learned from watching Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal religiously. Although the film was satirical the core truth emitted from Bateman's deterioration was depressing. Despite being an actual serial killer, in the end, Bateman was the most sane, morally correct person in the room.

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