This original 1960’s horror gave rise to Alfred Hitchcock’s extraordinary film career. Based on the novel by Robert Bloch, Psycho is said to be the most influential and imitated horror of all time. With brilliant performances from Janet Leigh (Marion Crane), a luckless victim from phoenix and Anthony Perkins as a crazy and timid taxidermist named Norman Bates. This ground-breaking, complex and psychological thriller is the ‘mother’ of all horror film.
Marion Crane is on the run after stealing $ 40,000 cash from her boss and decides to leave town to go find her lover; Sam (John Gavin).
Ignoring the urge she had to run straight to Sam, she continues to drive into the night and somehow found herself driving on an abandoned highway. She pulls up into the Bate Motel and became acquaintance with the owner named Norman Bates. He lives alone with his demanding sick old mother in a big old house behind the motel on top of a hill. After a pleasant chat with Norman, Marion returned to her room to take a shower, little did she know it would be her last. When her absence was noticed, her boss hired a private investigator; Milton Arbogast (Martin Balsam) to find her and the missing $40,000. With help from Marion’s older sister Lila Crane (Vera Miles) and Sam, he tracked her down to the Bates motel where he uncovers a few unpleasant surprises. Sadly he and Marion shared the same fate.
Never before has a protagonist been killed off only 17 minutes into the film with no hope of return. There would be no flashbacks, no alternative points of view, and no dream sequence. Hitchcock invites us to a nightmare, a horrific rollercoaster ride that has the audience holding its breath the rest of the way. Hitchcock has manipulates the audience perfectly by misleading us, making us think that the money is more important than it really is.
Horror is a self-conscious genre. We take pleasure in horror in part because it is reflexive which in turns makes us, as spectators, self aware. “Beyond horror“, then, are films that deal with horror's propensity to cause uncertainty. Take for example Andrew Tudor's description of the three part narrative pattern in the horror genre. First introduce instability in a stable situation. Then resist ...
With excellent sound effects along with a heart thumping sound track that sends chills to your spine, once you hear that creepy, high pitched and slightly annoying music, you know; you should be holding your breathe. Everything that happened in that shower scene happened all in our heads. There were no wounds and you never once see the knife entering the body, but we know it’s there. The only thing that is giving us all the visual of brutal stabbing is the sound effect. Who knew watermelon and chocolate syrup could be so scary? This is just another clever technique that Hitchcock had up his sleeves.
If you haven’t seen this film before, you owe it to yourself to do so. This isn’t a gory film, and what few instances of violence take place with relatively little actual on-screen violence. In fact, it contains just three big shocks, with the rest of the 110-minute running time devoted to setting scenes, building suspense and playing with our minds. But those three shocks comfortably better practically anything from the modern day canon of horror fair – Hitchcock sees to that nicely.