All The Evidence That Clark Griswold Is A Diagnosable Psychopath
Have you ever watched the original National Lampoon’s Vacation starring Chevy Chase? If you have, you've no doubt laughed until you've sobbed at all of the zany, racy, and crazy things the Griswolds do on their way to Walley World. All of the movies in this series (Vacation, European Vacation, Christmas Vacation, Vegas Vacation, and 2015’s reboot Vacation) are funny, but there are definitely some bizarre things in the Vacation movies.
Take another watch, and something becomes painfully clear: Clark Griswold is awful. He's a nightmare of a character and a total creep, and he does horrible things to other people – especially his own family. Need proof that Clark Griswold is a psychopath? There are plenty of examples across all of the Vacation films. You don't have to look far to find reasons that Clark Griswold is crazy.
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He Has No Respect For Human Life
Aunt Edna is an aging, cantankerous woman who calls it as she sees it. She hitches a ride with the Griswolds from Kansas to Arizona, but dies partway through the trip. No one notices for a while, and when they do, Clark suggests they leave her dead body by the side of the road. Ellen naturally opposes this idea, but Clark being Clark, he pretty much gets his way. So instead of handling Aunt Edna's corpse with respect, he straps it to the roof of the car, and then leaves it at his relative’s house. On the porch. In the rain.
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He Resorts To Violence To Get His WayPhoto: Warner Brothers
At the finale of Vacation, Clark and his family arrive at Walley World – only to discover that the whole park has been shut down for renovations. In an attempt to fulfill his goal of “having fun,” Clark becomes desperate. He secretly purchases a pellet gun at a nearby sporting goods store and returns to the park.
At first Clark simply tries to lie his way past a security guard, but when that fails, he takes the guard hostage using the pellet gun. Then, with the security guard in tow, the Griswolds enjoy the empty amusement park.
Sure, they all end up smiling, but pulling a gun to go on a few rides is the ploy of a deranged man.
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He Constantly Tries To Cheat On His Wife
After Clark and his wife Ellen get into an argument about his motivations for their family vacation, Clark goes to a nearby bar. There, he runs into a beautiful woman he's frequently seen on the road. So Clark, the brilliant family man, proceeds to pour out lie after lie in order to impress her. He says his wife and children are actually the wife and children of his fictional brother, and passes himself off as single.
It just goes to show that Clark is really only out for himself.
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He Never Admits His Failures
Clark is driven by his ego for the entirety of the vacation, and makes a metric ton of mistakes along the way. Not once does he take any responsibility for his actions, even at the very end. Instead of admitting where he goes wrong, he tells lies and uses misdirection to stop people from realizing his flaws. This is classic psychopath behavior.
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It’s His Way Or The HighwayPhoto: Vacation / Warner Bros.
Warning: this clip contains repeated swearing and horrible parenting.
Clark is met with quite a lot of opposition throughout the trip. His family doesn't really want to go to Walley World, and they’d rather not drive that far in the first place. As their problems and misfortunes mount up, his wife and kids even plead with him to go back. Instead of listening, Clark has a total breakdown and spouts off a rant that borders on being a temper tantrum. Instead of going back home, he resolves to continue regardless of what his family actually wants.
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He Kills A Dog Without RemorsePhoto: Vacation / Warner Bros.
Yes, Clark kills a dog. Sure, the dog is pretty hostile to him; it chomps on his leg every time he’s close. But still, it's insane that Clark completely forgets he tied the dog to the bumper as he struggles to pack the car up and continue their trip.
While the gory details aren't shown on screen, it’s implied that they travel for miles before Clark even realizes what he’s done. Not that he realizes it on his own – he’s stopped by a highly emotional police officer who's horrified at the animal abuse Clark is capable of.
To avoid any sort of punishment, Clark puts on the crocodile tears and flees. And instead of apologizing to his family for doing something horrible, he instead opts to cover it up with lies.