58. Psycho


Movie: Psycho

Release Date: September 8, 1960

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Starring: Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam, John McIntire, Janet Leigh.

Tag Lines: “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.”

“An Alfred Hitchcock Masterpiece.”

“The Essential Alfred Hitchcock.”

“A new- and altogether different- screen excitement!!!

“No One … BUT NO ONE … Will Be Admitted To The Theatre After The Start Of Each Performance Of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.”

“It Is _Required_ That You See Psycho From The Very Beginning!”

“Don’t give away the ending – it’s the only one we have!”

“The screen’s master of suspense moves his camera into the icy blackness of the unexplained!”

“Electrifying shocker!”

“The master of suspense moves his cameras into the icy blackness of the unexplored!”

“Exploring the blackness of the subconscious man!”

Relevance: I am definitely a “mutt” when it comes to my personality traits, quirks and nuances. My dry sense of humor, the way I walk and my knack of singing my answers to people’s questions, totally my dad. My love for wine, my worrying nature and my introverted fondness for staying home in my robe is totally inherited from my mom. When it comes to pop culture, as discussed quite a bit on this blog, I am also a “mutt.” Both of them had a huge impact on what music and movies I watched and listened to. With that said it is no surprise that one of “their” movies is on my list of most influential films of all time.

My mom and dad were high school sweethearts, although they never once referred to themselves as such. When my mom was a Freshman, my dad, a Senior, asked her out, and the rest as they say is history. On one of those dates, my dad took my mom to see the movie ‘Psycho.’ The Alfred Hitchcock thriller was released in the Fall of 1960 to mixed reviews from critics. However, due to its clever marketing and good word of mouth from its audience, it was a box office success and eventually became the second highest grossing film in the United States that year. Since then, over its sixty years of existence, ‘Psycho’ has become one of Hitchcock’s best and most revered films. My mom, however, was not a fan.

My mom despised all things horror. She loathed being scared, did not like scary movies and her least favorite holiday was Halloween. With that said, she went to see ‘Psycho’ with my dad, who did enjoy that genre of film. Boy, she must have been in love. As a young kid, I heard this story over and over again and it always made me smile. My mom would talk about how she watched the movie through her hands, how she was glad she didn’t have a shower because she would never get in one and how she couldn’t sleep for nights after seeing the movie. Again, she really must have been head over heels in love, for which I am grateful or I wouldn’t be here. Like my dad, I was a fan of scary movies and hearing my mother’s tale only made me want to see what all of the fuss was about.

I first saw ‘Psycho’ on a local television station sometime in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s. There was a show that used to play movies with a different theme each week. Some times it was musical week, sometimes Abbott and Costello week and sometimes, like when I watched ‘Psycho,’ it was horror week. The movie played in the early evening before dinner. In fact, sometimes I would be called to dinner before the movie was over. I hated when that happened. However, for the most part, I usually got to see the full movie and that was the case with ‘Psycho.’ With my mom safely in the kitchen preparing dinner, my eyes were glued to this black and white, creepy movie. It was a very tense thriller to a then young child and I was riveted to my chair. Because it played on a regular television station, there were commercials. Each commercial break I ran in to the kitchen to tell my mom what was happening in the movie. All she did was shake her head and say “Eww, ‘Psycho.’

I loved ‘Psycho’ from the first moment I watched it and my love for it increased immensely the more I watched it and the older I got. I would always watch the film when it played on television and it was one that I eventually rented from Blockbuster, so I could finally watch the movie sans commercial. I of course loved the overall creepiness of the movie as well as the fantastic performance by its star, Anthony Perkins, but I was also starting to admire the art of ‘Psycho.’ The direction and camera shots alone were so artistic it really advanced my love for all things cinema. Because of this, I started watching many more of Hitchcock’s movies and by the time I reached college, I was a full on fan of the director.

Although I loved all of Hitchcock’s films (see 237. Rear Window for his other film on my list), ‘Psycho’ was by far my favorite. It is a movie that I have referenced countless times throughout the years. I mean, who hasn’t made stabbing motions to someone while screeching out that theme music? The movie got quite a lot of sequels, remakes and television adaptations that I devoured up and loved as well, but there really is nothing like the original. It is simply a masterpiece from the master of suspense. It may have scared my mom, but it was a film that I have loved as both a young kid and as an adult.

Today’s Thoughts: “A boy’s best friend is his mother.”

After watching ‘Psycho – the Orange American President Story’ on every news channel, I focused my attention to Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho.’ I can’t honestly say which story is more frightening, but I do enjoy the star of Hitchcock’s version much better. With that said, I let Anthony Perkins be a distraction from reality, and fell back into the world at the Bates Motel.

I adore every second of this classic thriller. It is still chill inducing after all these years thanks to the artistry that is Alfred Hitchcock. He really knew cinema and how to tell a story through a camera lens. Yes, it is a psychological horror movie, but it really is art in the highest sense of the word. The cast, especially Anthony Perkins, is perfect. He made Norman Bates more than just a character in a movie, he made him a pop culture phenomenon, one that has lasted for decades.

I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting ‘Psycho’ in my living room today. Like I have already mentioned, it was a welcome distraction to the stress we have all come to simply call, 2020. Regardless of the date, the movie is always one that I welcome to watch no matter the audience or circumstance I am entertaining. With friends, family or alone in my robe, I am always thoroughly entertained. I really should have showered before watching it though.

*insert stabbing motion and theme music screeching here*

Awards: Academy Award for Best Director, Alfred Hitchcock (nomination), Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Janet Leigh (nomination), Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White, John L. Russell (nomination), Academy Award for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White, Joseph Hurley, Robert Clatworthy, George Milo (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress, Janet Leigh (winner), Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures, Alfred Hitchcock (nomination), National Film Registry (1992), Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written American Drama, Joseph Stefano (nomination).

Ways to Watch: YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, Amazon Prime, DVD Availability.


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