Tagline: The picture you MUST see from the beginning… Or not at all!… For no one will be seated after the start of… Alfred Hitchcock’s greatest shocker Psycho.
Based on the novel of the same name by Robert Bloch, Psycho tells the story of a young woman called Marion Crane and her unfortunate encounter with motel owner, Norman Bates. The film explores the darkness that lurks behind closed doors, in what is largely a bloodless story, but one that is filled with tension.
In the movie, Marion is a secretary for an Arizona real estate company who feels as if her life is stuck on hold. One day, she is asked to deposit $40,000 in cash into a safety deposit box belonging to her employer, but believing the sum could greatly improve her life, Marion makes the split decision to steal the money.
As Marion goes on the run, she finds herself raising suspicion from a traffic cop and a used car salesman. She also feels increasingly guilty about her actions, and as darkness falls and the weather turns sour, she calls in at a motel for respite and reflection. But of all the decisions Marion makes, stopping off at the motel is by far the worst, and leads to a chance encounter with a man who has even more skeletons in his closet.
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and shot in black-and-white, Psycho is a seminal horror film. Not only is it a masterclass in suspense, which greatly influenced many pictures that followed, it also contains one of the most memorable scenes in any horror film. Yes, I am talking about THAT shower scene.
Even people who have never watched Psycho, are familiar with the iconic sequence, which put Marion in a vulnerable situation, became a milestone moment in cinema, and left a lasting impression on audiences who at one time enjoyed taking a shower.
The shower scene, which is accompanied by a nerve-shredding score from Bernard Herrmann, is the stand-out moment from the movie, but in truth it is merely a snapshot from what is a captivating and compelling tale. From start to finish, Psycho grabs the audience’s attention and refuses to let go. It is cold, bleak, but exceptionally effective.
Although Psycho was released in 1960, and some of its secrets are well known, the film has not lost any of its power to enthral. Put it in front of a modern audience, and once they get over some of the more dated elements of the story, it still has the ability to shock and surprise.
Psycho isn’t a movie filled with gore, and the scares are kept to a minimum, but the horror is there for all to see, and decades on Psycho continues to fascinate film fans. It has spawned multiple sequels and spin-offs, and has attracted many imitators, but it is yet to be bettered.
Marion Crane – “Do you go out with friends?”
Norman Bates – “Well, a boy’s best friend is his mother.”
Cast and crew
Psycho is produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, based on a screenplay by Joseph Stefano, and features a score from Bernard Herrmann. The cast includes Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, and Martin Balsam.
Thank you for stopping by It’s A Stampede! to read this spotlight post focusing on a must-see horror movie. This ‘spotlight’ on Psycho is one post in a series of ten posts looking at superb horror movies and shorts which you may or may not have seen.
Other posts in this series include: Suspiria (1977), The Strange Thing About the Johnsons (2011), Don’t Look Now (1973), The Omen (1976), The Blair Witch Project (1999), The ‘Burbs (1989), Lights Out (2013), The Woman in Black (2012), and Bone Tomahawk (2015).
The aim is to spread some horror love around the internet, and possibly introduce you to a slice of horror that you may have overlooked. So, make sure to add this movie to your next horror movie marathon.
And for more horror-related content, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.
- 120 best horror movies you must watch
- Review: Love and Monsters
- What is the order of the VHS horror movies?