Before taking my Hitchcock class at The University of Alaska - Anchorage, the only Hitchcock film I had seen was The Birds. To tell you the truth, I was young when I saw it and I don't remember the majority of that film, except for the part where a bird crashes through a phone booth. I knew that we were going to watch Psycho in class. Dionne25 and I were relatively nervous about watching the film.
When Psycho was shown in class, I had disappeared to NY for a little while for Thanksgiving. So, I bought the video while at the mall when I was in New York. One night, a friend of mine (notguerrero) and I decided to watch it after seeing Charlie's Angels. I told her that I hadn't ever seen the film.
Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) is a secretary who steals $40,000 from her boss and runs off. On her way to be with her married boyfriend, she stops for a night at the Bates Motel, run by Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) and his mother. Norman's mother freaks out about the young woman being in the motel, and Marion is history. (We all know that famous knife scene and the music that accompanies it, even if we haven't seen the film.) The disappearance of Marion Crane is investigated, and everyone is led to the Bates Motel.
I'm not going to tell the ending, as it has a psychological twist that I wasn't expecting. Hitchcock was very brave to jump into the world of psychological disorders. From what we know today about certain psychoses, the ending of Psycho isn't too accurate. However, it's pretty close, and it still leaves a creepy feeling.
None of these actors received any awards for appearing in Psycho. Leigh was terrific as the naive and innocent girl gone wrong due to an extramarital affair. Her naivete is still evident, as she trusts strangers after stealing a significant amount of money. She believe that she is going to live happily ever after, and ignores the creepiness of Norman Bates.
Perkins is fantastic as the eerie, creepy, frightening Norman Bates. He assumes the persona of a person with a serious mental problem, but makes it seem like it's perfectly normal. Perkins actually becomes Norman Bates. Unfortunately for Perkins' acting career, he played this role a bit too well. After Psycho, Perkins was consistently cast in psychotic roles.
Other cast members include Vera Miles as Marion's sister Lila, John Gavin as the married boyfriend Sam, Martin Balsam as private investigator Milton Aborghast and Laurene Tuttle as Eliza Chambers. They are good actors, but none can hold a candle to Leigh and Perkins.
The fact that it is done entirely in black and white - per Hitchcock's request - makes the film even scarier. Another thing is that we never actually see Marion getting stabbed in the shower scene. The visual in the minds of the audience members is what really sparks the fear and horror in this famous scene. Incidentally, Hershey's Syrup was used as blood in the shower scene, so the audience's imagination really comes into play. I love it.
There are some interesting facts about Psycho, specifically when it comes down to the making of the movie. For example, Anthony Perkins wasn't even on set during the entire week that the shower scene was filmed. That 45 second shower scene took an entire week to shoot. Janet Leigh had to take showers facing the door to her bathroom after filming that scene until her death in 2004. She even had her showers in her home built that way.
This is a great movie; A classic. It's scary and disturbing. I haven't seen the recent remake of it, but I plan to. From what I've been told, I'm going to be disappointed. If you haven't seen the Psycho from 1960,you really should. It's one of the films that has shaped the horror/suspense genre of today.
Viewing Format: VHS
Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age
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Psycho is a 1960 American suspense film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The film is based on the screenplay by Joseph Stefano, who adapted it from the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. The novel was based on the crimes of Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein.
The film depicts the encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), who is in hiding at a motel after embezzling from her employer, and the motel's owner, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), and the aftermath of their encounter.
Psycho initially received mixed reviews, but outstanding box office returns prompted a re-review which was overwhelmingly positive and led to four Academy Award nominations. Psycho is now considered one of Hitchcock's best films and is highly praised as a work of cinematic art by international critics. The film spawned two sequels, a prequel, a remake, and an unsuccessful television spin-off.