Psycho title

 

PsychoTaking a shower would never be the same again after watching this movie. Based on the book by Robert Bloch and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho stars Anthony Perkins as motel owner Norman Bates, an apparent "mummy's boy" in a very real sense of the word.

A young woman named Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), stops over at the motel one night, who's on her way to visit her boyfriend. Norman explains he runs the motel for his invalid mother, and that they don't get many customers since the new bypass cut them off, which is why the place is looking a little run down. Norman appears quite friendly at first but gets a little rattled when asked about his mother (I wonder why?).

Later that evening, Marion goes to take a shower and (screech.. screech.. screech) ends up checking out permanently, apparently murdered by his mother, which is kind of odd considering she's meant to be confined to a wheelchair. Frightened they'll take his mother away, Norman carefully disposes of the body and possessions, but his troubles are far from over.

Marion had run off with a lot of her bosses money, and with neither her boyfriend or family having heard from her in a while, a lot of people are now looking for her. Marion's boyfriend, Sam Loomis (that's right), and her sister do a bit of investigating, and find out about the Bates Motel. However, they're told that Norman's running the place single-handedly, as they find out his mother has actually been dead several years. Norman however tells a different story, claiming his mother to be alive, but incapacitated. It's only when they try to meet Norman's "mother" for themselves, the killers true identity and Normans shocking secret are revealed.

Although looking somewhat old nowadays, having been filmed back in the early days of black and white, the film is still regarded as one of Hitchcock's many cinematic masterpieces. Although not a strict personal favourite of mine, I can still appreciate the effect it must have had when it was originally released, and takes "pride of place" amongst my collection.

Overall marks : 5/10.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • The character name of Marion Cranes boyfriend "Sam Loomis" was also used in the film Halloween for Donald Pleasance's character.

  • Marion Crane was played by actress Janet Leigh, the mother of Jamie Lee Curtis.

  • The infamous shower scene was apparently directed by the storyboard artist Saul Bass.

  • The films budget was $800,000.

  • The movie was filmed in black and white because Alfred Hitchcock believed the movie would be too gory for colour. The "blood" seen running down the drain during the shower scene was actually chocolate sauce.

  • Movie theatres were under strict instructions not to admit anyone into the film once it had begun, owing to Janet Leigh's character getting killed near the start,

  • First American film to show a toilet flushing on camera.

  • The design of the Bates mansion was actually based on the painting "House by the Railroad" (1925) by the American artist Edward Hopper.

  • Norman Bates character was loosely based on the real life exploits of Wisconsin farmer "Ed Gein", who was also the inspiration for Leatherface's character in Texas Chainsaw Massacre, as well as Hannibal Lector and Buffalo Bill's characters in Silence of the Lambs.

  • The film was produced by Paramount Pictures, but released by Universal, as Hitchcock moved his production offices over to Universal just before production began. The movie was actually shot on the Universal back lot, where the house still stands today, which forms part of the Universal studios tour.

  • There was a spin off TV movie that came out in the US during late 80's entitled "Bates Motel", which Perkins refused to appear in, about some former asylum inmate taking over the motel. It was intended as a pilot for TV series, but wasn't developed further. Another spin-off TV series entitled "Bates Motel" was developed in 2012, which was unrelated to the earlier TV movie and focussed on the young Norman Bates and his mother.

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