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Thriller, Mystery, Horror
IMDB rating:
Alfred Hitchcock
Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates
Vera Miles as Lila Crane
John Gavin as Sam Loomis
Martin Balsam as Milton Arbogast
John McIntire as Deputy Sheriff Al Chambers
Simon Oakland as Dr. Fred Richmond
Vaughn Taylor as George Lowery
Frank Albertson as Tom Cassidy
Lurene Tuttle as Mrs. Chambers
Patricia Hitchcock as Caroline
John Anderson as California Charlie
Mort Mills as Highway Patrol Officer
Storyline: Phoenix officeworker Marion Crane is fed up with the way life has treated her. She has to meet her lover Sam in lunch breaks and they cannot get married because Sam has to give most of his money away in alimony. One Friday Marion is trusted to bank $40,000 by her employer. Seeing the opportunity to take the money and start a new life, Marion leaves town and heads towards Sam's California store. Tired after the long drive and caught in a storm, she gets off the main highway and pulls into The Bates Motel. The motel is managed by a quiet young man called Norman who seems to be dominated by his mother.
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Hitchcock and Herrmann
Robert Bloch wrote the original work, Joseph Stefano adapted it into a tight screenplay but it was Alfred Hitchcock with the extraordinary complicity of Bernard Herrmann who transformed this lurid tale into a classic, horror masterpiece. The score propels us into the moment before the moment arrives provoking the sort of anticipation that verges on the unbearable. The fact that the key scenes have become iconic film moments: copied, imitated, emulated and parodied, have not diminished its impact, not really. The anticipation, underlined by Herrmann's strings, creates a sort of craving for the moment to arrive. That doesn't happen very often. No amount of planning can produce it or re-produce it - otherwise how do you explain the Gus Van Sant version - so, the only possible explanation is an accident, a miraculous film accident and those do happen. Everything falls into place so perfectly that even the things that one may argue are below the smart standard of the film, are needed, the film without every frame is not quite the film. Try to turn away after the climax during Simon Oakland's long explanation. You can't. I couldn't. Partly because you know you'll soon be confronting those eyes, that fly, the car...
"A boy's best friend is his mother. "
Without a doubt one of the most influential films of all time. Timeless classic.

Whether this is a true slasher film is debatable, but it's influence on the genres of horror and suspense/thriller is undeniable.

This masterpiece uses amazing black and white cinematography and a very low bodycount (yes, that's correct, a very low bodycount) to weave a fascinating story of a woman caught in a criminal web of her own doing who stops off at the wrong motel on a wet and rainy night. She meets the inn-keeper, a fragile and soft spoken young man who is emotionally and verbally pushed around by his overbearing mother.

What follows is a tension filled and horrifying tale of psychological suspense. I have heard others comment that this film is not really "scary", and I beg to differ. Nothing to me could be more terrifying than the reality that people like some of those presented in this film truly exist in our world. It takes a lot more than fake blood and overly-gory special effects to impress me, and the sad thing is that today's "horror" films and even some claiming to be suspense films rely too much on the supernatural or just plain disgusting to achieve their affect. None of that for me thanks.

One of my true pleasures is to see someone view this film for the first time. Moments in the film tend to shock or surprise people who think they've seen it all. Those who have seen enough knock-offs (and there are a TON of them) may figure out some of the story's plot before it is revealed, but only because so many films have shamelessly ripped this one off. See it for the first time (and even a tenth) and enjoy a master director at the peak of his craft.
Probably, the most terrific thriller made. A film that terrifies even 50 years after it's made.
Probably, the most terrific thriller made. A film that terrifies even 50 years after it's made.

To pigeonhole this as a thriller would be wrong as per me. It has a murder mystery, a psychological thriller, a huge amount of drama, and even a family backdrop. With all such elements, it would be wrong if I were to categorize this as merely a thriller. Yes, it is filled with thrills and for the 110 minutes of running time, there is hardly any dull moment.

I have seen this movie, a number of times before and each time it had a terrific impact. Also, I have always found something new, maybe a new frame, new shot or a new background sound. The discovery does not seem to stop. This I attribute to the many elements that are involved in this film.

From placing the camera, composing the shot, revealing the right emotion and making the audiences wait till the shocking aspect is revealed, Hitchcock is at his best in this film. This is indeed one of the more simpler stories he dealt. Yet, he made it so impact full that it continues to surprise audiences even today. Thanks to the music by Bernard Hermann, whose contribution to the film is very important. I cannot imagine this film without the music and I believe that it's because of the music, that the resonance was acquired.

If it's the shower scene that is most talked about in this film, I believe there are couple or more scenes that are under rated yet very impact full. Now, I do not want to reveal those and give away some details. I can simply say, I was terrified by the climax shot where the mother is shown, more than anything else.

The cast is perfect equally, Anthony Perkins does a wonderful job as Norman Bates. He is cold blooded and yet looks so deceptively humane as an extremely caring human. This film and "The Trial" are perhaps the most important films in his career.

It is the first psychological thriller of it's kind as I read in various other sites and perhaps it is also the most violent films made. Though the violence comes for less than 10 minutes, it haunts so brutally, as if it was there all through the film.

It's a definite 5/5 for one of the finest films of all time by one of the greatest directors.
Truly the original horror movie of all times .
Psycho , Alfred Hitchcock's classic about a guy and his mother is the movie that is at the origin of all horror movies ever made . It is truly an experience to live !!!!!!!!!!!!

The music has a great part in this movie .

Anthony Perkins is the ultimate psychopath ever !!! He and his "mother " are the best killer duo ever produced.

The new version is good but not quite as great as the original.

Still I urge all movie lovers to see it , whether it's the original or the new version , GO SEE THIS ULTIMATE EXPERIENCE!!!
Hitchcock at his scariest
"Psycho", the Hitchcock masterpiece of 1960, is still a scary ride. TCM presented it on Halloween night, which was an appropriate way to add to all the horror being shown on television.

As the film opens, we are treated to Saul Bass' titles that herald some of what one is expecting will come in the film. Then, one hears the magnificent opening bars of Bernard Herrmann's music score and one realizes this is not an ordinary movie. The crisp black and white cinematography by John Russell, as well as the intelligent editing by George Tomasini, surpass any doubt this was one of Alfred Hitchcock's best work. Of course, the film owes a debt to Joseph Stefano who adapted the Robert Bloch novel, in which the movie is based, with great flair.

"Psycho" works because of the wonderful cast assembled for the movie. Anthony Perkins was an actor who could play anything. His range was enormous, as he shows in the film. His Norman Bates shows a man that appears to be in complete control of himself. We watch him as he begins to unravel when confronted first by Arbogast, and then by Sam Loomis. Mr. Perkins' performance is one of the best he ever gave in his film career.

Janet Leigh who plays Marion Crane is perfect as the small would be criminal who happens to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time. It's a tribute to Ms. Leigh's talent that she underplays Marion because she is battling with her own conscience as she realizes the enormity of what she has done. Alas, she was not going to make good on her resolve.

The supporting cast is also interesting. Martin Balsam plays the private detective well. He is instrumental in cracking Norman's confidence, but of course, it comes with a high price he must pay for trying to shake the sick man. Vera Miles and John Gavin are seen as Marion's sister and boyfriend.

"Psycho" will remain an exercise in horror by a man who knew how to scare us, Alfred Hitchcock!
Brilliant Classic!
It's hard to think of a thriller more well known than Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho! Unfortunately the films popularity may spoil the shock value. Upon seeing the film for the first time I thought knowing the outcome may make the experience less enjoyable. This was not the case! I now see why Psycho is considered masterpiece! Hitchcock is a master of suspense. As the film begins, the plot immediately makes the audience uncomfortable. As Marion Crane makes off with the money, I had no idea what would happen next. Hitchcock adds in various ideas that lead me astray and even stress me out. When the police officer was questioning Marion and began to follow her, I felt her anxiety. Also when she was rushing the car salesmen I felt uneasy. This is great film-making. The emotions that Hitchcock draws out don't exactly correspond with the direct plot. After all we haven't even met the infamous Norman Baits yet and already I am on the edge of my seat with anticipation.

We arrive at Baits Motel as the rising action rolls into the main plot. What an astounding actor Anthony Perkins is! Perfect casting for a psychopathic mamma's boy! He is an actor that truly understands his role. When he peers through the hole in the wall, spying on Marion you can almost tell the moment when the mother personality clicks on. The only thing that I could have found more satisfying would have been if we saw Norman doing his mothers voice.

I love Hitchcock's style. When Marion was stopped by the police officer the way he shot the actors close-up really gave me the impression of invaded personal space and added to my discomfort. He also had great techniques for moving the camera into may different positions without cutting. When the camera follows Norman Bates up the stairs to his mothers room the camera does a 360 as it climes and we are left with the perspective of a bug on the wall.

Psycho is a classic horror/thriller that I will watch again. It provides an outstanding cast and fantastic cinematography. The timeless score that accompanies the film could not be any better.
Technical excellence, at it‘s best.
Ever wonder what the movie history would be like, if the "genius" of Hitchcock, were never brought to silver screen? Aside from the story line, the cast, and the acting, the highest point of this film, to myself, is the camera direction. Being a past film and tv school grad', all I can say is, this one is a masterpiece. The angles and the way he let's the camera, lead or suggest to the viewer, the next scene,is alone, among the best direction of any movie. To see what I‘m saying, when next shown, turn the volume off, and just let the camera , under his direction, tell you the story. I believe one will get a different understanding of this film, and a greater appreciation of the director.
Horror Fans Who Consider themselves 'Horror Fans' and haven't seen this movie shouldn't consider themselves horror fans.
Psycho is a film that marks its place in movie history. From beginning to end, you are focused, listening to every word they say. But when stuff goes down, you are hiding behind your blanket, trying to protect yourself from what you're about to see. Yeah, it's from the 1960's, but this isn't like a 1960's horror movie. The film is thrilling and violent, but most of all, it's entertaining from beginning to end. With a killer soundtrack, it's no wonder you jump out of your seat when something surprising happens. And, yes. The twist ending is the father of twist endings. It's great. Long story short, see this movie. I recommend it to everyone reading this, and everyone not reading this, still see the movie. It's really good.

One of the best horror films of all time. **** out of ****
PSYCHO (1960) ****

Starring: Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam, Janet Leigh, and John McIntire Director: Alfred Hitchcock Running time: 109 minutes Rated R (for scenes of strong violence)

By Blake French:

Alfred Hitchcock is easily one of the most acclaimed directors in film history--right up there with Stanley Kubrick and Steven Speilberg. His films defined horror for generations, especially with what many people are still calling the scariest movie of all time: "Psycho." Over the years, the movie has been given much praise. It has had the honor to be placed in the American Film Institute's best 100 movies of all time list. The film has had the privilege to be re-created in 1998 by great director Gus Van Sant, who also added new actors and coloration to this classic tale. "Psycho" also has had the fortunate pleasure to have been followed up by several time-lapsing sequels, although not equal in quality, which continued the story and characters beyond the original film's restrictions. On top of all this, the movie has a unique story line, unusual characters, imagination-provoking motives, and manages to conduct its rare structure like no other film. "Psycho" is one of the better thrillers of our time.

First lets take a look at the unique but perfectly organized structure of this classic horror tale. It beholds what I call a false first act. The first act opens by introducing a character named Marion Crane, sister of Lila Crane, who steals $40, 000 from her employer one day and is in the process of leaving town when her situation is complicated even more. Marion is pulled over by a mysterious police man, who checks out the circumstances, and then allows her to continue on with her journey. He then follows her many miles to a car dealer, where Marion cleverly trades her current car in for a used junkie to camouflage herself from peering foes. Marion then continues to drive along the busy highway until a shielding rainstorm persuades her to stop to rest at The Bates Motel. (spoilers ahead) Then she meets the owner, Norman Bates, who explains to her that his mother is a lunatic. Marion then goes to her cabin where she is stabbed to death in the shower by an unknown predator who looks like an old woman.

Extraordinary, a simply flawless false first act. The movie introduces a character, a problem, and complicates it for the character involved. Then the conclusion (the murder of Marion) solves the first initial problem, throwing us off balance. While we recover, the filmmakers open a brand new series of events, this time detailing the missing Marion Crane. A detective, Milton Arbogast, who tries to investigate Norman's mother, is also killed in the process of doing so. Lila's investigation of her own evolves the second act problems, all winding towards the same awe-inspiring denouement, which I will not have the audacity to reveal to you.

Now for some nice pointers for "Psycho": The opening scene develops Marion Crane's romantic characteristics as well as her personal morals. The scene in which Marion decides to commit theft is never explained to us through dialogue like many lesser films would do, but through Marion's complex stares at the cash and her reactions to it. The police officer's behavior is a whole plot in itself, and since the character's point of view is so focused, we know nothing more about this suspicious man than Crane herself. The Atmosphere of the Bates Motel is one of the creepiest moods I have ever experienced in the movies. Not to mention the famous shower scene, certainly the most shocking and grisly slasher moment of all time. The investigation of Marion's disappearance has a specific odyssey to it--intriguing and unsatisfying. All these minor elements contribute to making "Psycho" the most talked about films ever.

There is a small, but quite noticeable, opinion flaw in the last ten minutes of "Psycho," however. It is the scene where the detective explains the disturbing behavior of Norman Bates to the film's remaining characters, but also to the audience. This scene has never been necessary. The picture would have ended with much more controversy and fantasy if the writers would have left the strangeness of Norman to the imagination rather than explaining elements to us, not to mention the fact that all answers are revealed in the many sequels. I think it would have been interesting to see what happened if Gus Van Sant would have left that sequence out of his re-make, after all, he added a lustful masturbation scene, so why couldn't he have taken out some unneeded material as well. Oh well, I guess, until another actor attempts to master the terror found in the eyes of Anthony Perkins, we'll just have to juggle around these ideas in our minds of how this near-perfect movie could have been better. Don't you love it when movie's make you do that!

Brought to you by Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures.

Psycho changed everything
You would have to say that Psycho was the start of something new. Alfred Hitchcock was at the height of his powers before he made it and it was only because of his standing that it was made at all. The studio was appalled by the idea of the film and released it very grudgingly and with the minimal of assistance. Hitchcock had to use much of his own personal wealth to fund it and released it in black and white, with a far lower budget than he was used to. Despite all this, when Psycho was released it changed everything.

Released in 1960, it heralded the arrival of the 60's in more ways than simply date. It's extremely daring content was an early marker that indicated the coming changes in cinema. Sometimes people think that Hollywood truly changed in the late 60's with the release of Bonnie and Clyde. While it's impossible to argue against that film's influence, it can easily be argued that Psycho was even more ground-breaking and a full seven years older. Taking into account the cinema landscape of the time it was released, it's quite a wild uncompromising concoction that Hitchcock brought to the screen.

There are several boundaries it pushed against. It opens with a scene of an unmarried couple – the woman partially undressed - in a hotel room just after sex. This was taboo at the time. Furthermore, the girl is introduced as the nominal heroine, even having her character's name displayed on the film poster. Yet she is brutally murdered less than half-way in. The disorientating nature of this is almost as shocking as the act of violence itself. Cinema audiences are just not prepared for a main character being disposed of like this. It throws us, confuses us and makes us realise we have no idea what is going to happen next. It's an utterly audacious move to do this and, incredibly, one that really has hardly been used since in the intervening fifty plus years. Hollywood still seems reticent in killing off its A-Listers in this way but Hitchcock was unafraid in subverting this 'rule' and the impact of Psycho is profoundly more effective as a result. Then there is the violence. The expertly filmed shower scene remains one of the ultimate shock moments in cinema and with some justification. For its time, it's incredibly brutal and it's here that Psycho pushed boundaries in the most direct and obvious way. In fact, Hitchcock partially decided on black and white, as he knew this scene would never get past the censors in colour. Now people died with their eyes open. Marion Crane stares at us dead on in a way that allows us little respite. And finally, there is the open depiction of sexually deviant behaviour. Normal Bates disturbing secret life is very psychologically dark, yet he is presented quite sympathetically. The direct presentation of these dark impulses was again quite unfamiliar to audiences of the time.

The story has Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), a secretary from Phoenix, Arizona, stealing $40,000 from her employer's client. After a couple of days on the run she ends up at a motel run by a nervous young man called Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). The structure of the narrative initially suggests that this will be a crime story of a woman on the run with a bag of money. But we have been cleverly misdirected and the seemingly standard thriller suddenly and jarringly changes into something altogether more sinister. Really, Psycho was a watershed movie in that it brought the horror genre into a recognisably real world. Beforehand, the genre always had the distance of either the supernatural or science fiction. Psycho stripped away this protective layer and in doing so made the horror more real and more terrifying. Amazingly, it has retained the palpable tension even today. This has ensured that it still feels quite modern and hasn't really aged at all. But it would be misguided to not acknowledge the black humour that is interspersed throughout and that only becomes apparent on re-watches. This is a result of a clever script but also excellent performances. The real stand-out dramatic scene being the late night supper between Crane and Bates, where there is such an uneasy and strange chemistry. Leigh and Perkins make this work so well; the latter is particularly brilliant in this film. So good it would unfortunately type-cast him forever.

There are other collaborators too who need to be acknowledged too. Firstly, there is Saul Bass who is the legendary credit sequence guy. His work here is pretty simple and straightforward but striking nevertheless. And then there is, of course, Bernard Herrman whose score is one of the greatest in cinema history. Everyone knows the famous screeching that accompanies the murders – rightfully so because it's genius – but the melodic main theme is quite beautiful and truly evocative. But in the final analysis the bulk of the praise has to go to Alfred Hitchcock, as this incredibly provocative work of cinema art would never have been made without him and I think it stands as his greatest achievement.
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