109 Min. | Horror – Mystery – Thriller | September 1960
IMDB Rating: 8.5
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Staring: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles
Psycho Review: “Psycho” has gone down in Hollywood history as one of the greatest of horror movies, and even if you’ve never seen it you still feel a certain connection to the movie just on the basis of its reputation. That in itself can be a problem, because you’re expecting a lot when you watch it for the first time. Unfortunately, this didn’t quite live up to its billing. Psycho was a good movie, Alfred Hitchcock did a good job of directing with a number of what are today recognized as typical “Hitckcock-ian” touches, particularly with some very effective camera work, and basically the cast, headed by Anthony Perkins as motel owner Norman Bates and supported by Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin and Martin Balsam.
First, would call Psycho more of a suspense movie with a touch of slasher movie thrown in than a horror movie, although that’s admittedly through a modern lens. There are really only a couple of scenes that were “horrific” – one being the famous shower scene and one being the revelation of Norman’s mother near the end of the movie. Otherwise you get a mystery – with the end surprise being fairly clearly telegraphed to anyone who was paying attention. The suspense starts with Marion (Leigh) stealing a large sum of money from the real estate agency where she works and running off, eventually coming to the Bates Motel to spend the night. Since the murder in the shower is the classic scene of the movie, you don’t expect it to come as early as it does, and you don’t expect that so much of the movie is going to revolve around Lila (Miles) and Sam (Gavin) as they search for Marion.
One can’t miss Psycho. There’s really very little wrong with it, except that its reputation makes it very hard for it to live up to when you watch it. Undoubtedly, when watched with late 20th-21st century eyes (well conditioned to the point of being almost oblivious to slasher-type violence) it comes across as a bit dull, frankly. Equally undoubtedly, it didn’t come across that way to audiences in 1960. Overall, Psycho is an excellent film.
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