A horror character with multiple personalities is always fun, offering a twist that still has the power to surprise. Mega, mega spoilers to follow, obviously!
Of course, this is NOT a comprehensive list! Also, the character with multiple personalities is also distinctly separate from the ‘ ‘ character, which is a similar yet different movie trope. Who is your favorite horror movie character with multiple personalities?
1. Norman Bates
Movie: Psycho (1960)
Actor: Anthony Perkins
1 Multiple: Mrs Bates. Norman, a seemingly regular young man, takes on the personality of his own mother, Mrs Bates, when he is unable to process her death. A zealous and strict woman, Norman’s repressed sexuality causes him to attack those who anger his mother’s sensibilities.
2. Pamela Voorhees
”Kill her, Mommy! Kill her! Don’t let her get away, Mommy! Don’t let her live!”
Movie: Friday the 13th (1980)
Actor: Betsy Palmer
1 Multiple: Jason Voorhees. Driven insane by grief, assumes the personality of her deceased son, , to take revenge on the people she holds responsible for his death.
3. Francis Dolarhyde
”I am the Dragon. And you call me insane. You are privy to a great becoming, but you recognize nothing.”
Movie: Manhunter (1986) / Red Dragon (2002)
Actor: Tom Noonan / Ralph Fiennes
1 Multiple: The Red Dragon. Perhaps it’s appropriate in a conversation about multiple personalities that this character has been played in not one, but two movies. The Red Dragonis an alternate personality created by Francis Dolarhyde as a way of creating with the trauma of his childhood, believing that each murder he commits brings him closer to becoming this greater being.
4. Dr. Carter Nix
”He had created Cain’s multiple personalities in order to study them. He had taken some innocent child and split its personality.”
Movie: Raising Cain (1992)
Actor: John Lithgow
3 Multiples: Hustler Cain, 10-year-old Josh, middle-aged Margo. Nix was abused in childhood by his father, Dr Nix Snr (also played by Lithgow) to purposely split the child’s personality in order to study dissociative identity disorder.
Movie: The Ward (2010)
Actor: Mika Boorem
6 Multiples: Iris, Sarah, Emily, Zoey, Kristen and Tammy are multiples Alice’s mind created to avoid confronting the trauma she experienced when she was abducted, raped and tortured by a madman. The movie is told from the point of view of Kristen (Amber Heard), one of Alice’s multiples in this underrated gem from John Carpenter.
6. Malcolm Rivers
Movie: Identity (2003)
Actor: Pruitt Taylor Vince
10 Multiples (!): Driver Ed Dakota, actress Caroline Suzanne, couple George and Alice and their son Timmy, Officer Rhodes, serial killer Robert Maine, working girl Paris Nevada, and young couple Lou and Ginny Isiana. Yup, every single character in Identity‘s main storyline is merely an alternate personality inside the mind of a damaged man… but as the multiples are killed off one by one, will it be a murderer or an innocent who emerges triumphant as Rivers’s sole personality?
Who is your favorite horror movie multiple personality?
To avoid fainting, keep repeating ‘It’s only a movie…It’s only a movie…’