People who love movies have had a lot to say about the ending of American Psycho, a black comedy horror film. American Psycho is based on Bret Easton Ellis’s 1991 novel of the same name. It was directed by Mary Harron and stars Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman, a wealthy investment banker in New York City by day and a psychopathic serial killer with a wide range of music tastes by night. During the movie, Patrick goes on a killing spree. When he stops at an ATM, he sees a strange message: “Feed me a stray cat.” Things start to get weird from there.
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American Psycho Ending Explained
How should we understand this ending? There are usually two ways to look at this. Neither one, in my opinion, is “wrong,” but I think one is more accurate than the other. When the movie first came out, I heard a lot of people say that almost everything that happened in the movie happened in Bateman’s head. This is a logical conclusion. Even if Bateman isn’t a murderer, he’s mentally unstable, so it’s not a stretch to think he made everything up.
People tend to think that the movie was just one long hallucination because Paul Allen’s apartment was cleaned up and there was no talk about the dead bodies Bateman was supposed to have left behind. The drawings in Bateman’s book also add to this idea. This idea says that Bateman didn’t kill anyone. He only thought about it in his head, and these drawings are his way of making those thoughts real.
People also point to a scene in which Bateman shoots a police car and the car explodes, which makes Bateman look at his gun in confusion. When you shoot a car, it doesn’t blow up. That only happens in the movies, which is why Bateman looks confused.
If you think this is how the story ends, that’s fine! I’ve already said that I don’t think there’s a wrong answer. But my take on it is a little bit different. From my point of view, Bateman did kill all of those people. Those things didn’t just happen in his head; they were real. You might ask, “But what about Paul Allen’s apartment?!”
There is a reason for that, which makes the whole story even scarier. Bateman did leave dead people in that apartment. But the apartment is such a great piece of real estate in New York that the building’s owner has tried to rent it out without anyone knowing about the bodies.
And the movies show that this is true. Almost. “Both Mary and I thought that the book didn’t make it clear what was real and what wasn’t,” said co-author Guinevere Turner. “We didn’t think everything was real because some of it is unbelievable. But we just agreed that we don’t like movies where the big reveal is that everything was in someone’s head or a dream.”
But when asked directly if the whole movie was in Bateman’s head, Mary Harron said: “I’d never answer that question. “If I tell you that, I take this movie away from you,” says Quentin Tarantino. I will say that there is one part where it seems less real, and that is when the ATM says “Feed Me a Stray Cat.”
However, she added:
“One thing I think is a failure on my part is people keep coming out of the film thinking that it’s all a dream, and I never intended that. All I wanted was to be ambiguous in the way that the book was. I think it’s a failure of mine in the final scene because I just got the emphasis wrong. I should have left it more open-ended. It makes it look like it was all in his head, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s not.”
In the end, it’s clear that some of what happens in the movie is in Bateman’s head, like the scene from “Feed Me a Stray Cat,” but the murders did happen. I like that explanation better because I think it lets Bateman off the hook if the whole movie is just a product of his imagination. It says, “Don’t worry, none of those bad things happened!” And I feel like that’s a trick.
In American Psycho, Who Killed Paul Allen?
Paul Allen (Jared Leto), a coworker Bateman hates, is one of the many people Bateman hurts. Bateman kills Allen in his apartment with an ax and leaves the body there.
In American Psycho, Where Did The Dead People Go?
People can’t tell them apart because they don’t have any value. When one of them is killed, nobody cares or even notices. At the end of the movie, Bateman goes back to the apartment and finds that the bodies have been taken away.
Is American Psycho’s Ending A Dream?
Some people say it was all just a dream. But Guinevere Turner, who wrote the movie with director Mary Harron, says they worked hard to avoid any “it was all a dream” interpretations. We asked them both to explain the ending in our recent oral history of American Psycho to mark the 20th anniversary of the movie.
Is American Psycho Based On Actual Events?
American Psycho is not based on real events. Patrick Bateman is a character Ellis made up to figure out how a violent sociopath could act.