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Psycho (Universal Home Entertainment's 2-disc Legacy Series Special Edition DVD)

A movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock

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He just wanted to please momma.

  • May 31, 2011
**** out of ****

Contained within "Psycho" are images that are haunting to this day, and also at the time, quite violent. Considered one of the "greats" for its genre, Alfred Hitchcock's horror/thriller "Psycho" is a film that I just had to see. I am passionate about this genre, and I thought that perhaps this film could inspire me, little-by-little, to create real, top-notch suspense. That is exactly what it did; and the film is brilliant. I'm not as familiar as I should be when it comes to Hitchcock's work, but I had seen "Vertigo" prior to "Psycho", and I loved that one equally as much. "Psycho" just does a little bit more. It is simple and easy to understand and comprehend, but complexity is not why people were so frightened by the film. It is a masterpiece of suspense; scary and often startling, frightening and often memorable. For its genre, it's actually quite spectacular.

I seek cinematic thrills wherever I can find them. You can find them in many places, in many forms, and in many different qualities. "Psycho" is ingenious because it does not thrill; it entertains out of sheer horror that comes from what we don't see as well as from what we DO see. This is a film that inspired a whole new wave of horror, as well as many recent titles, specifically Ti West's "The House of the Devil", which borrows from "Psycho" the concept of actually having to wait for things to happen. Me, I'm a waiter. And when things to happen, I tend to feel rewarded; especially when whatever I am watching is handled by someone with talent. Hitchcock deserves both my attention and my admiration; and in large, complete doses shall I absorb "Psycho" more-and-more.

Marion (Janet Leigh), a woman desperate to start a new life with her lover, discovers that she shall need money to do so, steals a lot of it from her work, and goes out of town to avoid her boss getting angry with her decision. She sleeps in her car for a night, and then TRADES in that car for a new one. She then happens upon the now famously-known Bates Motel (which has become an iconic, historical location-in-a-horror-film over the years), run by the kindly, quirky, and handsome Norman Bates, who lives with his mother in a house on a creepy hill (always a sign for the character to bolt for the door).

Marion stays the night, and then comes that infamous "shower scene", in which she is brutally stabbed and murdered by a somewhat-concealed figure. We presume that it was Norman's mother, and we may be right for some time, but there's a twist near the end that you don't want to miss. It's a real killer.

I guess I liked "Psycho" because it really did scare me. It's a very original and haunting movie. It does what it wants to do brilliantly. It's not about things that linger in the shadows, which can kill you; it's about the deranged people, who just so happen to linger in the shadows that can, indeed, kill you as well. It's a special film; a classic, and no matter who may tell you otherwise, do not listen. "Psycho" has an appeal unlike most horror movies, and I can imagine that most cinephiles will want to see it. Why wouldn't they? It's great cinema. It's great movie-making. It's great suspense. And that's one thing that we don't see enough of these days.

The first thing, which is worth mentioning, that shall stick with me, is Anthony Perkin's performance as Norman Bates. What I admire about "Psycho" and Hitchcock's vision of horror is that the director does not intend for his villain to be legendary. You shall not see people dressing up as Norman Bates for Halloween as they do for, say, Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees. This is because Bates is not intriguing in appearance; but frightening in personality. But...at the same time, this is what I liked so much about him. Perkins is a frighteningly convincing psychopath.

The genius of the film is all in the direction. This is Hitchcock's film. While it is well-plotted and focuses much on narrative structure, "Psycho" is all about the chilling, nerve-wracking, nail-biting suspense. "Psycho" allows me to reflect on the state of modern horror cinema and scoff at the almost aimless, and endless, attempts to create horror out of merely gore and decapitations. "Psycho" makes you wait, wait, and wait; but if you are forgiving, and if you can wait, wait, wait; then it's a real, genuine treat. There's something seductive about it. It's a horror film with themes rather than messages; performances that scare and haunt; and a score that shall never be forgotten (by me, at least).

When all is said and done, "Psycho" is not great for what it depicts; but for what it is about. It's an entertaining film about less-than-entertaining things; boring to some, intriguing to others, and just-plain-awesome to me. I am observant, and so is Hitchcock. He likes to direct his audience rather than his movie, and that is what he does here. Violence and Norman Bates aside, those images of the Bates house sitting on that lonely hill shall never leave my mind. They shall stick with me forevermore; not as nightmares, but merely as images. And that is all that I want them to be.

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June 01, 2011
Fantastic review -- I LOVED this movie all 100 times I've seen it!
May 31, 2011
excellent review!! This is one of those movies that will never ever be forgotten. One of the true horror classics for any generation. Perkins was just so good as the main character. I remember even liking the sequels, but none of them can match the mastery of the original. Thanks!
More Psycho reviews
review by . October 22, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The Story of a Boy and His Mother
When “Psycho” was first released in 1960, director Alfred Hitchcock took great pains to ensure the plot would remain unspoiled. He wouldn’t allow stars Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh to promote the film. Critics were not granted pre-release screenings. The trailer, at a lengthy six and a half minutes, featured not a single shot of the actual finished film, nor did it showcase its actors; it featured Hitchcock himself guiding us on a tour of the sets, all the while hinting – …
review by . January 04, 2011
Nobody knows how to make horror films anymore, it truly is a lost art. Now I would hardly consider myself an expert on the subject, but gone are the days of monsters, Hitchcock, and classic serial killers like Myers, Freddy, and Jason. Now, there exists nothing but crappy sequels and movies that are more focused on blood and guts than actual psychological terror. But back in the days of Hitchcock, there existed this one film, which redefined the horror genre, despite the fact that I don't think …
review by . December 28, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A Classic Hitchcock Tale And It's Sequels
To start off the review, let me quote from http://www.filmsite.org/psyc.html      Alfred Hitchcock's powerful, complex psychological thriller, Psycho (1960) is the "mother" of all modern horror suspense films - it single-handedly ushered in an era of inferior screen 'slashers' with blood-letting and graphic, shocking killings (e.g., Homicidal (1961), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Halloween 1978, Motel Hell (1980), and DePalma's Dressed to …
review by . July 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
  Psycho is a classic that you must see if you haven’t gotten around to it yet. If the ending hasn’t been ruined for you by someone’s big mouth, it will be sure to blow your mind.    This film was absolutely nothing like I expected it to be. I expected Psycho to be mildly outdated and cheesy, but it wasn’t at all. I am the type of person that laughs at horror films to the point that they may as well be relabeled “comedy.” I have never been able …
Quick Tip by . May 27, 2010
Loved this movie-Norman Bates is truly an unforgettable character.
Quick Tip by . July 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
One of the ultimate horror films, just thinking of Norman Bates gives me the chills. Even in 2010 this film packs a chillfest.
Quick Tip by . November 02, 2009
Psycho is a shocker and will remain so. Hitchcock took a chance when he killed off his leading lady at the beginning of the film!
review by . May 08, 2009
Psycho (1960) is one of my favorite Hitchcock films. The movie is loosely based upon the novel by Robert Bloch and it was adapted by Joseph Stefano. Psycho made stars out of Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins (sadly it also sent the two to typecasting hell in the process). Hitchcock proved that he could adapt to the changing styles of Hollywood and make a true horror classic. He wisely shot the movie in black and white (giving the film an even creepier aura)and used a lot of great camera angles and …
review by . February 25, 2005
Pros: An American Movie Classic; frightening; interesting; great story     Cons: Probably not interesting to those who don't like "old" films     The Bottom Line: This movie is a classic. If you've never seen Psycho, you really should.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot. Before taking my Hitchcock class at The University of Alaska - Anchorage, the only Hitchcock film I had seen was The Birds. To …
review by . July 16, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
Even after more than 40 years, and even after having seen it so many times, I am still caught up in the tension which director Hitchcock develops so carefully. I am still shocked by the famous (infamous?) shower scene and by later moments in the Bates residence. It is thus a tribute to Hitchcock, his cast, and crew that this breakthrough retains its shock value after so many years. Hitchcock requires his audience to be especially alert to seemingly insignificant details as well as to playful insertions. …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie


Psycho The movie poster for Psycho features a large image of a young woman in white underwear. The names of the main actors are featured down the right side of the poster. Smaller images of Anthony Perkins and John Gavin are above the words, written in large print, "Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho".
Theatrical release poster Directed by Alfred Hitchcock Produced by Alfred Hitchcock Written by Joseph Stefano Starring Anthony Perkins
Vera Miles
John Gavin
Janet Leigh Music by Bernard Herrmann Cinematography John L. Russell Editing by George Tomasini Studio Shamley Productions Distributed by 1960–1968:
Paramount Pictures
Universal Pictures Release date(s) June 16, 1960 (1960-06-16) Running time 108 minutes Country United States Language English Budget $806,947 Gross revenue $32 million Followed by Psycho II

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.[1]

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.[2]

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[3] and is highly praised as a work of cinematic art by international critics.[4] The film spawned two sequels, a prequel, a remake, and an unsuccessful television spin-off.

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Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Genre: Classics, Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: June 16, 1960
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Joseph Stefano, Robert Bloch
Runtime: 2hrs 0min
Studio: Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
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