Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Psycho (1960)

"She just went a little mad. We all go a little mad sometimes"

Alfred Hitchcock was known as the master of suspense, and this is the movie to watch if you want to see why. During the 1950s horror was still very much like the horror films of the 1930s, monster movies. There was a sci-fi boom during the 1950s so we got movies about giant spiders, or shrink rays. And during this time that author Robert Bloch wrote a book entitled Psycho and soon movie history would be made.

Psycho is about a young man named Norman Bates (Perkins) who runs the Bates Motel. The movie starts off with the character of Marion Crane (Leigh) who steals $40,000 from her job to help her boyfriend out. On the way to Sam (Gavin), she feels guilty about what she has done and decides to turn back and do the right thing. But, it’s late so she stops at the Bates Motel to rest for the night. There she meets Norman, who seems to be a very lonely man who cares for his mother. While showering, Marion is brutally killed by an unseen woman. And the rest of the movie is trying to figure out what has happened to Marion.

This movie is suspenseful, it’s that simple. This movie also gave birth to the slasher genre, a genre that I follow carefully and enjoyably. Although the slasher era wouldn’t start for another 18 years, this film is considered by many as the first slasher film, and rightfully so. Psycho was released in 1960, during a time when a movie like this would never be seen. This movie was so kept under wraps that Hitchcock made sure that no one was allowed into the theater after it had started. There were many surprises in the movie that people hadn’t seen in a movie before. Like the main character of Marion being killed off within the first 20 minutes of the movie. They got an established actress inside of Janet Leigh (the mother of future scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis) and killed her off without any warning. The ending was also a complete shock to most people when the film first came out.

Since 1960, this film has been parodied thousands of times and 3 sequels would follow in 1983, 1986 and 1990. This film became Hitchcock’s trademark film and would cement his name even further into horror. Anthony Perkins gladly came back for the three sequels, the last being released 2 years before his untimely death. In 1998, Universal released the abomination remake, which starred Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche & Julianne Moore. There is something Hollywood needs to understand, don’t remake classics they don’t need it. No one can play Norman Bates, except for Anthony Perkins.