Kevin - Sin City (2005)
The Character: Elijah Wood’s deranged psycho is notably unhinged, even in a town full of as many deadbeat oddities as Basin City.
A cannibal, Kevin has an uncanny habit of feasting on the city’s prostitutes, though he comes a cropper when he crosses noble brute Marv (Mickey Rourke).
Wood’s boyish, Hobbit-y face amps up the creepiness, as do the opaque glasses that keep his eyes completely obscured in the midst of Robert Rodriguez's stylised comic-book world come to life.
Craziest Moment: Eating the hand of parole officer Lucille (Carla Gugino), and making her watch, is his most deviant on-screen act.
Gollum: The Lord Of The Rings trilogy (2001-3)
The Character: Andy Serkis’ mo-cap creation marked a turning point for digital effects, as his performance - matched by Weta’s pixel power - allowed audiences to invest in a shrivelled CG halfling.
Which is just as well, as it’s the ring-crazed Gollum who provides much of the drama and tension in the final two movies of Peter Jackson’s trilogy, as he guides Frodo and Sam to Mount Doom.
He’s even treated to a prologue story in The Return Of The King , which goes to prove it was all over for his mental state as soon as he set eyes on that golden hoop. Shame really, as Serkis’ sensitive portrayal never leaves us in any doubt that there’s still a shred of humanity under that withered surface.
Craziest Moment: Although the finger-biting comes close, it has to be the masterful sequence in which the two conflicting halves of Gollum’s psyche battle it out in a riverside debate.
Garland Greene - Con Air (1997)
The Character: Steve Buscemi’s played his fair share of loons (that bug-eyed manic intensity of his just lends itself to that type of oddball), but the fact that his Con Air character is dubbed ‘The Marietta Mangler’ should confirm the fact that this was his most deranged role.
There’s a pleasingly comic disparity between the psycho that’s described - who apparently makes the Manson family look like the Partridge family - and Buscemi’s weedy frame.
Considering the plane is chock full of the most notorious psychos in the US, it’s impressive that he’s cordoned off (and muzzled) in his own ultra-high-security section.
Craziest Moment: When putting his own unique spin on the definition of insane mid-flight.
Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus - The Pink Panther Series (1964-93)
The Character: Herbert Lom’s Chief Inspector was on the same side of the law as Peter Sellers’ bungling Inspector Clouseau, though the pair rarely saw eye to eye.
In fact, over the course of Blake Edwards’ film series (from A Shot In The Dark to Son Of The Pink Panther ), Dreyfus gradually succumbs to the stress of Clouseau’s continual bungling, from a nervous tic, to committal in an institution and attempts on his former subordinate’s life.
Lom became so well known for the role, he even kept it up when the films continued after Sellers’ death with Son Of Pink Panther .
Craziest Moment: He probably steps over the edge in The Pink Panther Strikes Again , when, on being freed from the asylum, he sets about finding a scientist to build him a doomsday device so that he can threaten the world into assassinating Clouseau. There must have been easier ways to do it.
The Joker - The Dark Knight (2008)
The Character: Heath Ledger’s portrayal of Batman’s most iconic foe would have gone down in history even if it weren’t for the tragic circumstances (it being his last complete film performance).
As the antithesis of Batman, The Joker brings chaos to Gotham in a way that even The Dark Knight is unprepared for. Sporting a permanent scar-grin, he wears his insanity on his sleeve.
It’s a testament to the ferocity of Ledger’s performance that The Joker makes such an indelible impact with only 10-minutes’ worth of dialogue throughout the entire 152-minute film.
Craziest Moment: Taunting a roomful of Gotham’s toughest gangsters.
The Brewster family - Arsenic And Old Lace (1944)
The Character: OK, a bit of cheat, but really it’s impossible to single out the most insane member of the Brewster family, although they can be ranked in order of harmfulness.
In Frank Capra’s spookily dark (and, yes, hilarious) comedy (adapted from the stageplay of the same name), Cary Grant’s Mortimer Brewster visits his family to inform them of his recent nuptials. His brother Teddy’s affliction only extends to the belief that he’s Theodore Roosevelt, while his aunts have picked up an awfully nasty habit of offing ageing bachelors for their own good. Most sinister is the other brother (and Frankenstein lookalike) Jonathan, a practising murderer.
Jonathan’s creepiness is increased no end by the presence of his sidekick, Dr Einstein, played in utterly sleazy style by Peter Lorre.
Craziest Moment: “Insanity runs in my family... It practically gallops,” explains an end-of-his-tether Mortimer.
Peter Loew - Vampires Kiss (1988)
The Character: An oddball among oddballs on Nicolas Cage’s regularly mental CV, Loew is a selfish literary agent, whose hard-living lifestyle drives him to the brink. His only meaningful human contact comes when he gets himself a psychiatrist.
It's business as usual when he scores with a hottie at a club and takes her home, until she reveals her vampiric fangs and sinks them in his neck. From there his life unravels rapidly, as he struggles to see his own reflection, and does his best to dodge sunlight.
His newfound syndrome doesn’t make him any more sympathetic though, as the ruthless troublemaker still causes hell for those around him.
Craziest Moment: He has pretty much lost ‘it’ (if he ever had it), when he hits a club with a pair of plastic joke-shop fangs wedged in his gob.
Jack Torrance - The Shining (1980)
The Character: Such was Stanley Kubrick’s way with ambiguity, we’ll never truly know if Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), temporary winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel and struggling writer, is beset by malevolent supernatural forces or simply succumbs to a rather serious case of writer’s block.
Relocating his family to the isolated hotel, in the midst of a particularly cruel winter, Jack begins to see ghostly presences of former inhabitants of the hotel, who eventually direct his frustrations into a murderous rage at his own family.
Oh, and the book he’s trying to write turns out to be rather repetitive.
Craziest Moment: “Here’s Johnny!”
Elwood P. Dowd - Harvey (1950)
The Character: James Stewart’s rabbit-befriending nice guy is easily the most pleasantly insane person on this list. If your delusion (or is it?) causes you to see a giant rabbit, things aren’t necessarily all that bad.
A heavy drinker, Elwood has had Harvey (the giant titular rabbit) by his side for years, and is largely accepted within his neighbourhood.
Even his sister - who finds her patience tested to its limits by her brother’s six-foot-plus lagomorph - comes to accept that the world’s a better place for this particular eccentricity.
Craziest Moment: Elwood casually puts in an order for two martinis at the bar.
The Narrator - Fight Club (1999)
The Character: So if you haven’t seen Fight Club (and if not, what have you been doing for the last decade-and-a-half?), be warned that spoilers will follow. Edward Norton’s nameless narrator reveals that he might have some - not inconsiderable - mental problems when he attends support groups for conditions he doesn’t suffer from.
You might also start wondering about the location of his marbles when he engages in brutal fights in organised underground combat tournaments (a fight club, if you will), and that’s before he’s planning large scale terrorist attacks with bad influence buddy Tyler Durden.
However, you’ll only really get to grips with the full extent of his sanity when it comes to the final reel, and you realise that he and Tyler have more in common than you thought (unless you’ve seen it before, in which case you get to rewatch it from a joyous new perspective). Yep, Tyler Durden and The Narrator are one and the same person.
Craziest Moment: Whether it’s the first time you’ve seen it or it’s your umpteenth viewing, it’s hard to top the moment when the narrator beats himself to pulp. In his boss’s office.
Now Face Your Insanity with Far Cry 3
The third installment in the Far Cry videogame series looks set to immerse you into an insane environment like never before.
On a mysterious island located somewhere between the Indian and Pacific oceans, Jason Brody intends to party with his friends. When they’re kidnapped by a local warlord, ordinary bloke Jason uses every weapon and survival skill at his disposal to stay alive long enough to save his friends.
He’s not your typical action hero though, and as his time on the island progresses, he is forced to face what he is truly capable of as the island’s insanity takes its toll...
Warlord Vaas rules over the triptych of islands, keeping its inhabitants in the grip of chaos. As Jason interacts with characters who’ve been unable to escape, he slowly realises that being on the island for too long has some serious side effects.
You’ll have to keep your wits about you as you guide him through the three islands - in addition to the lawless gangs running riot, there are more than 20 species of wild animals looking to pose a considerable threat.
With fully customisable weapons and the ability to travel via jeep, boat, jetski, glider, zipline and more, you can influence the outcome through your own style of gameplay, depending on whether you opt to proceed slowly, carefully, cunningly or launch an all-out assault against your aggressors.
Find out more about Far Cry 3 and to create your own personalised homepage by visiting the microsite from our friends at CVG .
Far Cry 3 is out in the UK on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on 30 November 2012.