Media Madness: Public Images of Mental Illness

By Otto F. Wahl | Go to book overview

Appendix A
Films about Mental Illness
In order to provide a more complete idea of the variety of contemporary films with mental illness themes, this appendix provides descriptions of films shown on television with release dates of 1985 or later. The descriptions have been taken verbatim from the television guide section of the Washington Post. Some of the films are made-for-TV movies, but many are movies originally released for theatrical showing.In order for a film to be included in this listing, some character must have been described, in the television guide, by a term clearly connoting mental illness--that is, by a term such as mentally ill, insane, mentally unstable, schizophrenic, mental hospital patient, deranged, psychotic, psychopathic, and so forth--or have similar terms in the title. Films set in psychiatric hospitals or described as focusing on patients in treatment were also included. Films described as dealing with alcoholism, drug abuse, or mental retardation, however, were not included; nor were films focused on psychiatrists or other kinds of psychotherapists even though these probably involved some presentation of psychiatric patients. The list also does not include over three hundred additional films released before 1985 which have also been shown on television in recent years. Finally, there are probably many additional films which involve psychiatric portrayals but which were not described as such and which, therefore, could not be included in this list.
After Dark, My Sweet (1990): A mentally unstable former prizefighter becomes embroiled in a kidnap plot engineered by a seductive widow and her shady cohort.
American Gothic (1988): A camping vacation turns deadly after three couples take refuge on an island populated by two elderly eccentrics and their demented offspring.

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