Psycho (1960)

Another one today! I’ve only got 2 more on my ‘list’ after this. But I’m going to rewatch one of them so I’m putting it off. I’ll be watching a lot more movies in the lead up to Halloween so I wanna try and get them out of the way ASAP!

Psycho (1960)
 Dir. Alfred Hitchcock
 Writ. Joseph Stefano, Robert Bloch
 Stars: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles
 Rated R (would probably be PG-13 if rated today)
 109 mins.
 Horror, Mystery, Thriller
 IMDB Rating: 8.6

What can you say about Psycho that hasn’t already been said? It’s a classic!

I think the best thing to say about this movie is that I love how it’s basically two different stories put together. For the first half of the movie, we’re interested in Marion. We start out with Marion and Sam and we feel for them because they just want to get married and be together. When Marion steals the money, the viewer hopes she gets away because, even if stealing is wrong, the guy she stole it from was an annoying dirty old man. The whole way, you want her to escape with the money and all of the focus is on the money. We focus so greatly on the money for so long that when *insert spoilers I wont say* happens, and the money is no longer important, it’s JARRING!

The movie is one of the Hitchcock psychological greats, because the viewer is always caught off guard by something. When the focus of the movie changes halfway in, we as the viewer find ourselves wanting the murder to be solved, we want them to find out what happened, but we also don’t want Norman to get in trouble for doing what we all perceive as protecting his mother. It isn’t until the fateful “She may have fooled me but she didn’t fool my mother” line that we all start to go ‘… waaaiiiit a minute’.

I love how the movie makes your mind connect the dots. If you notice in the shower scene, we never see the knife pierce skin, we never see wounds, we barely even see the body. It’s pretty much just our brain connecting ‘oh God, sliced and diced!’ when all we saw was a knife, screaming and flailing, and blood washing down a drain. I love that! I also love the way we see Marion THINKING and hear what she assumes is going on rather than being shown what IS going on. Watching her face and expressions changing as she thinks is very good. This love of using the audience’s expectations against them is really interesting, but it also is the reason I hate the ending scene. I heard that Hitchcock hated it too, and I can see why. The psychiatrist breaking it down and explaining felt like an insult to my intelligence. It was so unnecessary and annoying. I was sitting there thinking “… yeah, I got that, thanks. I’m not stupid!” That said, I liked the part where it closed on Norman and the voiceover of the thoughts. It would’ve been great if it skipping the psychiatrist crap and just showing that moment and boom! End!

I can’t say too much else without giving away spoilers, but needless to say, I really love this movie.

My Rating: 9/10

About J. Chelsea Williford

Movie addict, reader, writer, pop culture lover.
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2 Responses to Psycho (1960)

  1. garethrhodes says:

    Great review! I’m with you all the way on this one – a film that set the template for so many to follow. It’s heartening to know that I can be genuinely shocked by a 50-odd-year-old film.


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