Expert: Psychiatrist Weighs In On Why James Holmes Shot Up Theater

July 25, 2012 By:

In the sad aftermath of the 'Dark Knight' movie theater massacre, many wonder why 24-years-old James Holmes did this horrendous act.

One look at his mugshot or footage from his initial court hearing and it’s obvious that this guy isn’t firing on all cylinders. Hollyscoop talked to Dr. Reef Karim, director of rehab facility The Control Center in Beverly Hills wondering if violence in films is influencing actual violence in real life.

“There are vulnerable people out there that have a mental health disorder or a mental problem that causes them to think differently, they absolutely can get confused and have problems detecting fantasy from reality,” says Karim.

Some are saying that Holmes was “inspired” by a 1986 Frank Miller comic book called “The Dark Knight Returns” which tells the story of an orange-haired villain who shot and killed three people in a porn theater showing a parody film of “Batman.”

With Holmes' bizarre orange hair and calling himself “The Joker,” it’s hard to say that these two incidences are coincidence.

“Batman movies are very dark and they have gotten darker and darker and darker,” says Karim, “When you combine the fantasy aspect of it with somebody who might be psychotic and somebody who might not be in touch with their own reality—you start seeing people that paint their hair orange [and] do crazy stuff because they are having a hard time with reality of what is me and what is the movie that I have created in my own head.”

Karim alleges that James was “vulnerable” and wanted to copy what he saw in the film, but that’s just his professional opinion from not personally knowing Holmes.

“Was the Batman franchise that bad? No, but for somebody who is vulnerable there could be problems associated with it.”

In light of the tragedy, Hollywood is having to alter how it approaches violence in films, for example, the new Ryan Gosling flick “Gangster Squad” had a scene in the trailer where mobsters open fire at a movie theater. Not only was the trailer pulled from all theaters, but that scene will be re-shot so it no longer has a murder scene in a movie theater.

Because of this, the film was supposed to open in theaters in September, but looks like it will now arrive in theaters in January 2013 to distance the film from the incident in Aurora, Colorado.