Passion is supposed to be for lovers, but not every lover is one you want to have pining away for you. Sometimes the person in love with you is actually an obsessive stalker. When that happens in the real world, a restraining order can usually fix the situation; however, in the world of cinema, those situations aren’t so easy to resolved.
It can be difficult to discern when puppy love or simple infatuation has turned into a scary, life-threatening stalker situation. Have no fear, though – we’re here to help.
Pull your shades down low, make sure all your doors are locked and have the police on speed dial as you check out our list of 14 Movie Stalkers to Avoid.
EXAMPLE: Esther (Isabele Fuhrman) – Orphan
The psychopathic liar will do and say anything to be with the person he/she is obsessed with and when he/she finds out that the person in question doesn’t want him/her back, things usually take a turn for the worse.
The pint-size Esther suffers from a condition called hypopituitarism, which makes the 33-year old woman have the appearance of a 12-year-old girl. She dupes unsuspecting parents into adopting her then kills the wife to be with the husband. If that doesn’t work out (and really, how could it NOT?), then she kills the husband and tries again with another couple.
HOW TO AVOID: Do a thorough background check on any potential lover.
EXAMPLE: David McCall (Mark Wahlberg) – Fear
Some girls are just attracted to bad boys. There’s nothing wrong with that unless the bad boy turns out to be highly obsessive and has problems letting go of the relationship when the girl decides to end it.
David’s reaction to being dumped by Nicole Walker (Reese Witherspoon) was to lose his mind. He beats up her friends, trashes her dad’s car, builds a creepy shrine in her honor and carves her name into his chest – you know, a normal reaction to breaking up.
HOW TO AVOID: Only date nerds.
EXAMPLE: Lisa Sheridan (Ali Larter) – Obsessed
A lot of relationships and affairs begin at work. Spending 8-10 hours a day with the same person five days week can lead to familiarity and flirting, but that’s not to say it’s a healthy way to have a relationship. More often than not, someone will come away hurt from it.
When Lisa starts working at Derek Charles’ (Idris Elba) company they very briefly flirt, which in Lisa’s mind means they’re supposed to be together forever. So she manipulates every aspect of Derek’s life, which includes having his wife kick him out of his own house.
HOW TO AVOID: Spend more time ensuring your TPS reports have a cover page and less time flirting at work.
EXAMPLE: Max (Jeffery Dean Morgan) – The Resident
Most landlords are just simple, nice people doing their jobs, making sure their tenants are happy. Unfortunately, there are some who use this opportunity to fulfill their depraved, voyeuristic obsession by spying on and falling in love with their tenants.
That’s exactly what happened to Juliet Devereau (Hilary Swank) when she started renting an apartment where Max was the landlord. Unbeknownst to Juliet, Max began watching her day and night through various peepholes scattered throughout her room. His simple voyeurism turned into a full blown obsession and soon he was watching her sleep – from about six inches away!
HOW TO AVOID: Watch an episode of House Hunters and buy a bungalow for yourself.
EXAMPLE: Adrienne Forrester (Alicia Silverstone) – The Crush
Anyone who’s ever dealt with a teenager knows they can be a volatile firework of emotion just waiting to explode at some unsuspecting person. These young, oftentimes fragile psyches need to be handled with care or things could get very bad very quickly.
Writer Nick Eliot (Cary Elwes) found out the hard way that a teenager with a crush can be a dangerous thing when his 14-year-old neighbor took an unhealthy liking to him. After he didn’t return her feelings (for obvious reasons), she turned bitter and began making his life a living hell.
HOW TO AVOID: Keep clear of high schools and One Direction concerts.
EXAMPLE: Seymour Parrish (Robin Williams) – One Hour Photo
Everyday we meet helpful strangers at the grocery store, the gas station, and the bank. Most of them are just employees doing a job with a smile on their face, moving from one customer to the next, but sometimes they can take an unhealthy obsession with our personal lives.
That’s what happened to the Yorkin family when photo technician Seymour became obsessed with them after years of developing their pictures. With every snapshot he processed, “Sy” became more enraged and filled with jealousy at what he didn’t have. He eventually held Will Yorkin (Michael Vartan) and his mistress hostage – while of course taking pictures of them.
HOW TO AVOID: Learn to shop and pay your bills from home.
EXAMPLE: Hedra Carlson (Jennifer Jason Leigh) – Single White Female
When you’re single and on a shoestring budget, you look for any way you can to save money. That can sometimes include taking in a roommate to help share the bills. What you give up in privacy and personal space can usually be worth the $300-$400 gained each month, but other times…it can be deadly.
When software designer Allison Jones (Bridget Fonda) advertised in the classified section looking for a roommate, she didn’t realize it would be the worst mistake of her life. The unstable “Hedy” tried to control Allie’s life by impersonating her then sleeping with her boyfriend Sam in an attempt to break them up. Hedy wanted her roomie all to herself.
HOW TO AVOID: Get a pet or move in with your parents to save money.
EXAMPLE: Thomas Barclay (Wes Bentley) – P2
There are dozens of people at work that we only know in passing. We say “Hi” to them in the elevator and usually don’t give it another thought – we’re just being friendly. However, some disturbed people can take friendliness as an invitation for a more intimate relationship.
Angela Bridges (Rachel Nichols) was just expecting a helpful hand from the security guard when her car broke down in the parking garage on Christmas Eve. Instead, she was drugged, kidnapped and terrorized by the delusional Thomas.
HOW TO AVOID: Don’t be overly-friendly or flirty with people you hardly know at work.
EXAMPLE: Madison Bell (Erika Christensen) – Swimfan
There are some people in the world that use their bodies to get exactly what they want. That’s a very unhealthy and mentally unstable person to date, as they usually turn out to be manipulative, pathological liars.
High school swim star Ben Cronin (Jesse Bradford) learned this lesson the hard way after a late night romp in the pool with the new girl in school. After he blew her off, she retaliated by attempting to make him look foolish in front of his family, having his best friend set him up as a drug user and trying to drown his girlfriend.
HOW TO AVOID: Stay away from scenarios which gives the loon the upper hand.
EXAMPLE: Gil Renard (Robert De Niro) – The Fan
Some people think teenage girls are the most obsessive members of society, but those shrieking Justin Bieber-females can’t hold a candle to the most hardcore sports fan.
San Francisco Giants player Bobby Rayburn (Wesley Snipes) discovered that Gil idolized him so much he was willing to give up his job and even kill another player just to show his loyalty. When Rayburn understandably rejected the man’s fanaticism, Gil kidnapped his son and threatened to kill him unless Rayburn hit a home run.
HOW TO AVOID: Simple – don’t play professional sports.
EXAMPLE: Asami Yamazaki (Eihi Shiina) – Audition
The dating scene can be hard for anyone, even more so after losing a spouse to tragedy or disease. There are plenty of traditional ways to date out there, though, so going to extreme measures is not usually necessary.
Widower Shigeharu Aoyama’s (Ryo Ishibashi) son thought he was doing his dad a favor by suggesting he use a casting couch to “audition” women to be his new wife. However, he soon realized that dating is dangerous because the insane Asami was keen on chopping up her would be lovers and keeping them in a burlap sack.
HOW TO AVOID: Stick to Match.com or something similar for a different way to meet your potential mate.
EXAMPLE: Evelyn Draper (Jessica Walter) – Play Misty for Me
Celebrities can have it rough when it comes to stalkers, as some people with personality disorders can become attached to someone they only hear on the radio or see on TV or in the movies.
Late night radio DJ Dave Garver (Clint Eastwood) was duped by an obsessed listener, Evelyn (Jessica Walter, A.K.A. Lucille Bluth from Arrested Development), when they met by “accident” at a bar. After sleeping together, she was determined to become a part of his everyday life.
HOW TO AVOID: Another simple one – stay out of the limelight and away from being a celebrity.
EXAMPLE: Max Cady (Robert De Niro) – Cape Fear
This type of stalker is hard to avoid because once they set their sights on you, you’re all they’ll focus on. You can’t outrun them. You can’t reason with them. It’s virtually impossible to get rid of them without someone getting hurt.
Lawyer Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte) and his family found out exactly how the mind of an unremorseful sociopath works when one of Bowden’s former clients, Max, was released from jail and set out on a violent path of vengeance. Max used the law to his advantage to harass Bowden, poisoned his dog and instilled fear in those he cares for through violence.
HOW TO AVOID: Nothing you can do here but call the police and protect yourself by any legal means available.
EXAMPLE: Alex Forrest (Glenn Close) – Fatal Attraction
The old adage “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” seems like it’s just a silly saying, but try ticking off a mentally-deranged woman one day and see how long you can survive her wrath.
Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) discovered just how furious a woman’s scorn can be after a brief but passionate weekend fling with publishing editor Alex Forrest. Her obsession with him and his family took an extremely unhealthy turn after Dan refused to see her again as Alex cut her wrists, boiled his pet rabbit and kidnapped his daughter.
HOW TO AVOID: Don’t ever tick a woman off to the point that she wants to have unapologetic revenge on you.
We hope that with the help of our list you can now easily determine what type of stalker you have lurking in your bushes and peeping through your windows late at night.
However, there are plenty of other examples of Movie Stalkers to Avoid that we didn’t mention. Are there any that you can think of that we didn’t? Let us know in the comments.
Follow me on Twitter – @MoviePaul – but not too close or I might get a restraining order.