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Psycho
Year:
1960
Country:
USA
Genre:
Thriller, Mystery, Horror
IMDB rating:
8.6
Director:
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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Reviews
This is what good movies are all about.
This is one of the best movies ever created and Alfred Hitchcock is one of the most intriguing film makers ever to live. (in my opinion) There's just so much to say about this film I hardly know where to start.

I first saw this movie about five years ago and wasn't impressed at all. Of course, I was about ten years old at the time. I didn't think that the famous shower scene was anything to frightening and the characters seemed a little boring. A little less than a year ago, I became very interested in the history of the film and not so much of the film itself. I read articles, reviews, anything that I could get my hands on. Then, Psycho was shown on AMC and I immediately thought that it was a masterpiece. Shame on me for not appreciating it sooner.

The film as a whole is spectacular, but I like to break it down into little sections. First, I was very surprised and impressed with the actors that played Marion Crane and Norman Bates. Janet Leigh isn't given to much exposure to the film since she is killed off in about the middle of it. I thought that she did a good but not great job. On the other hand, Anthony Perkins blew me away. Both Norman and Anthony are very interesting. Norman's life that is set up and shown to us is so well depicted that I can't imagine anybody else playing the part. All of the characters including Arbogast, Lila, and Sam are so well created.

Obviously, the plot is so unique and odd that you can't help but smile at it. A young woman on the run after stealing $40,000, and then accidentally falls into the wrong hands of a psychopath. It's great! The best thing is that nobody has ever done anything quite like it, and they won't be able to because then the magic will be gone.

Even though the ever so famous shower scene is said to be one of the most chilling death scenes in history, I think that it may be a little overrated. I love it as much as the next person, but it's not all that scary. Who said it was supposed to be scary? Nobody, I know. But the majority of the Psycho audience gathers it to be very frightening. I do still think that it is one of the greatest and shocking scenes ever.

The setting is very well set up as well. The Bates motel and house is so cleverly created that it brings a special atmosphere to the audience. It has something about it that you just can't forget.

Finally, that music played throughout the film is one of the most spookiest sounds I have ever heard. Great job to the music composers and to Hitchcock for this scary addition to the movie.

I think it's safe to say that everybody has heard of Psycho, but not everyone has seen it. For those of you who still haven't seen this amazing flick, go see it! It's a must see.
2000-11-25
Best horror movie ever?
OK, this is the tough one! This was first Hitshock's movie that i watched so far, and i'm thrilled. Except the story that movie follows, it send one very clear message (at least for me) that money, and human greed for money can be very destructive. It also show that we can never know what is hiding in minds of people, even the one we know very good (Not just Norman twisted mind, but Marion Crane's "betrayal"). Movie has very original story lines, it's not just some "stereotypical horror movie" on what are we accustomed when it come to them. I liked that as movie progressing mystery for the main characters become bigger and bigger, but not for us. Trough the whole movie we think that we know what's happening, until that plot twist at the end (one of the best horror movie plot twist ever) which surprise us all. I honesty didn't expect something like that happening! Acting in the movie was awesome,and every single one of the main characters pulled out an excellent performance. Anyway i really like this film, and all though i don't appreciate horror movies that much, i can surely say that this is one of my favorite movies, and possibly best horror movie ever (for me definitely)!
2017-06-18
An intelligent thriller/horro
As with most very old films, Psycho is unlikely to have the same impact on a modern audience than it had upon its first release. So those who are watching it expecting the 'masterpeice' they are often told it is, prepare to be disappointed. Having said that, if you take Psycho of its pedestal as 'one of the greatest films of all time' (though through a historical perspective and in terms of influence, the title is richly deserved' and watch it treat it for what it is, a psychological horror, than the film remains very enjoyable. The acting performance put on by Anthony Perkins is highly believable and at times chilling and, if you have not been exposed to the shows twists and ending already, they still have the potential to shock and surprise even the most seasoned horror fan. On the subject of horror fans, it is worth a watch on that merit alone or for any fan of cinema, to see the film that has shaped cinema today more than almost any other film
2007-07-19
"A Psychiatrist Doesn't Lay The Groundwork ... He Merely Tries To Explain It."
A respectable 30-year-old spinster steals $40,000 from her workplace and takes off on a solo car journey to nowhere. She makes the fateful mistake of staying overnight at the Bates Motel ...

There is a difference between a great film, where the cast and technicians seem inspired and the project is carried along on the energy of its ideas, and a merely good film, in which the cleverness is calculated, and the tricks are consciously inserted. "Psycho" is merely a good film.

But what cleverness! The incidental music of Bernard Herrman, Hitchcock's composer of choice, has a discordant, staccato leitmotif in the strings which repeats constantly, building almost hypnotically towards the shrill climax of the shower scene. Hitchcock deploys a battery of subtle devices to keep the viewer feeling vaguely uneasy. Sexual frankness was a shocking thing in a mainstream movie in 1960, and the opening scene (showing Marion's "extended lunch hour" with Sam) is so sexually honest that it cannot have failed to disturb contemporary cinema audiences. Faces are lit from below or the side, creating an inchoate sense of foreboding. Owls and ravens, traditional omens of evil, preside silently over Norman's parlour. The windshield wiper which fails to clear the rain is a symbol of Marion's guilty conscience.

The film's abiding mood is one of creepy uneasiness, and this is reinforced at every turn by Hitchcock's system of visual imagery. There is, of course, the Old Dark House, but far less obvious techniques are also at work. As Arbogast mounts the stairs, the camera retreats disconcertingly before him. The tines of the rakes in Sam's store are raised like bony, clutching fingers behind Lila's head. Marion's unblinking eyeball is compositionally echoed by the circular plughole, the water draining out as her life force ebbs away.

In the long dialogue scene between Norman and Marion ("We all go a little mad sometimes"), the rhythm of the cutting is exquisite. Sometimes we see the speaker, sometimes the listener, as the rapidity of the cuts forms a counterpoint to the text, and emphasises the discomfort of the characters (Marion wary but self-possessed, Norman outwardly affable but painfully shy).

The cinematic axiom, "Show it, don't tell it", is beautifully illustrated in the scene in Marion's bedroom. The camera closes in on the bundles of banknotes lying on the bed, then pans to the packed suitcase, telling us without the need for words that she has decided to take the money and run.

Then something puzzling happens. The film seems to lose all belief in its own precepts, and the rich visual symbolism is abruptly abandoned. Lila opines, "I'll feel better when all this is explained," but she is wrong. The explanation is a huge let-down. We get Dr. Simon, a psychiatrist, lecturing us at tedious length about Norman's condition. "Show it, don't tell it" flies out of the window. Maybe Stefano, the scriptwriter, realised that the running time was already over two hours and the thing needed its loose ends tied up rapidly. Perhaps the flat, prosaic ending is the price Hitch has to pay for the slow painstaking build-up in the early reels (it is almost half an hour before Norman makes it onto the screen). Whatever the reason, I for one found the closing section very disappointing.

2000-12-30
Hitchcock did it all in this one.
When Psycho came out, the horror industry of movies was merely monsters, zombies, werewolves, and vampires. So when Psycho hit screens, the audience was finally introduced to psychological thrillers. It hit with such a huge bang that the audience was shocked...with fear and suspense. Psycho created what the thriller genre is today. It sliced through clique monster movies and changed it forever. Still today when you look at Norman Bates and his extremely freaky look when you see him watching the inspector's car sinking into the swamp sends chills down my spine. And when Marion Crane met her bloody demise in the middle of the movie, Hitchcock proved to everyone that this movie is different, different from every other movie you have ever seen. The cinematography in this movie is fabulous, the music is marvelously freaky, the acting is magnificent, the story is exceptional, and everything else about the movie is great. Too bad the sequels and the new remake was complete trash.
2000-01-19
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!!!
1998-12-13
Two Words: Hitchcock's Best (...and you know that's no small feat!)
Yes, everything you've heard is true. The score is a part of pop culture. The domestic conflict is well-known. But nothing shocks like the experience itself.

If you have not seen this movie, do yourself a favor. Stop reading thse comments, get up, take a shower, then GO GET THIS MOVIE. Buy it, don't rent. You will not regret it.

"Psycho" is easily the best horror-thriller of all time. Nothing even comes close...maybe "Les Diaboliques" (1955) but not really.

"Psycho" has one of the best scripts you'll ever find in a movie. The movie's only shortcoming is that one of the characters seems to have little motivation in the first act of the movie but as the story progresses, you realize that Hitchcock (GENIUS! GENIUS! GENIUS!) in a stroke of genius has done this on purpose, because there is another character whose motivations are even more important. Vitally important. So important that you totally forget about anything else. I was lucky enough to have spent my life wisely avoiding any conversation regarding the plot of this movie until I was able to see it in full. Thank God I did! The movie has arguably the best mid-plot point and climactic twist in thriller history, and certainly the best-directed ending. The last few shots are chilling and leave a lingering horror in the viewer's mind.

Just as good as the writing is Hitchcock's direction, which is so outstanding that it defies explanation. Suffice it to say that this movie is probably the best directorial effort by film history's best director. I was fortunate enough to see this movie at a big oldtime movie house during a Hitchcock revival. Janet Leigh, still radiant, spoke before the film and explained how Hitchcock's genius was in his ability to 1) frighten without gore and 2) leave his indelible mark on the movie without overshadowing his actors (like the great Jean Renoir could never do). "Psycho" is clearly its own phenomenon, despite all the big-name talent involved.

Hitchcock does not disappoint by leaving out his trademark dark humor. His brilliance is in making a climax that is at once both scary and hilarious. When I saw it in the theatre the audience was both gasping in disbelief while falling-on-the-floor laughing.

One more thing...

Tony Perkins. Janet Leigh got much-deserved accolades for this film, but it is Perkins who gives what remains the single best performance by an actor in a horror movie. He is so understated that his brillance passes you by. He becomes the character. The sheer brillance of the role is evidenced by the ineptitude of the actors in Gus Van Sant's 1998 (dear God make it stop!) shot-for-shot "remake." Though the movies are nearly identical, Hitchcock's is superior mostly because of the acting and the atmosphere (some of the creepiness is lost with color). This is made obvious by the initial conversation between Leigh's character and Perkins, a pivotal scene. The brilliance of Perkins in the original shines even brighter when compared with the ruination in the remake even though the words and the shots were exactly the same. The crucial chemistry in this scene lacking in the remake gives everything away and mars our understanding of upcoming events. The fact that Perkins could never escape this role - his star stopped rising star as it had done in the 50s - proves that he played the part perhaps too well.

I keep using the word brilliant, but I cannot hide my enthusiasm for this movie. It is wholly unlike the overblown, overbudget, overlong fluff spewing all-too-often out of Hollywood today. "Psycho" is simple, well-crafted and just the right length.

Eleven-and-a-half out of ten stars.
2001-07-31
Pure Cinema
The hardest movies to review are the accepted classics. What can be said that hasn't already been said? And how can I write a glowing review that offers up genuine love and appreciation for the film, and not just regurgitate some propaganda that Psycho is the greatest slasher ever made? Well, here goes nothing . . .

From imitation and its popularity among film scholars and horror buffs, Psycho has no more surprises left – that's a given. However, Sir Alfred Hitchcock foresaw this problem and infused Psycho (as well as his other pictures) with the more effective element: suspense. We know where, why, and when the murders take place. So what? The key to Hitchcock's famous bomb analogy is that suspense comes from the audience's knowledge of the bomb, not a lack of knowledge. We know, but the characters do not. That's suspense.

I watched Psycho again just recently, and felt an unprecedented excitement as those famous Bernard Herrmann strings began playing and Saul Bass' credits filled the screen. I was watching one of my favorite movies again, and I couldn't wait to dive into the film, itself. I couldn't wait for that opening shot of Phoenix – I looked forward to seeing that look of horror on Marion Crane's face as her bosses crosses the street in front of her car while she's escaping to Fairvale. I wanted to see Anthony Perkins to appear on screen with his brilliantly subdued performance of Norman Bates, and I leaned closer to the screen and smiled when he says, "We all go a little crazy sometimes."

Needless to say, I love this movie.

What amazes me about Psycho, and I didn't consciously realize this until reading the Truffaut book "Hitchcock", is how the film manages to smoothly switch protagonists midway through the film (from Marion to Norman). As Hitchcock and Truffaut talk in the book, when the car is pushed into the swamp and it stops – the audience's heart stops. We want the car to sink, and we want Norman to succeed. More amazingly is how even after knowing all the revelations the film has to offer – the truth about Norman Bates and his mother – we still want that car to sink. We still sympathize with Norman Bates in that moment.

That, in my opinion, is what truly separates Hitchcock's Psycho from the pack. Sir Alfred actually made us care about his killer. I can't think of any other slasher film that attempts this and succeeds. Most slashers are content to have a killing machine under a mask, but only Hitchcock has the balls to show us the face of his killer. Only Hitchcock would dare to make his killer a full-fledged characters with intelligent thoughts and complex emotions, and only Hitchcock was good enough to pull it off.

As if that's not enough, in the final act Hitch plays the audience like an organ and switches our sympathies once again (from Norman to Lila) – and all the while, the audience never really consciously recognizes that their loyalties fly from character to character on a whim. We want Marion to succeed because the man she's stealing from is a prick, we want Norman to succeed because of the love for his mother and his humanness in reacting to the murder, and we want Lila to succeed because we want to know the truth behind Norman Bates' mother.

One of my favorite moments in all of cinema occurs in Psycho. Watch the film while Sam Loomis is searching and calling out for Detective Arbogast at the Bates' motel. Then Hitch cuts to a slow fluid push in on Anthony Perkins at the swamp, and Perkins looks up at the camera with a mixture of emotions in his eyes. It's one of the simplest camera movements in the film. Perkins doesn't say a word - he just quietly looks on. Yet it's one of the most effective shots in the entire film. A simple movement and silent look is all Hitchcock needs.

When the marketing gimmicks have all been forgotten, when all the surprises are known, and when imitators have sucked away and blatantly stolen whatever they can get to work for 45 years, Psycho still stands as solid as ever. It did not need the shock of killing its star, nor did it need the shocking revelation at the end, it didn't need the gimmick that "audiences won't be admitted after the start of the picture." Psycho works just as well without them because Hitchcock delivered great characters played by competent actors, and he let the audience know there's a bomb waiting to go off that none of those characters know about.
2005-10-14
A Hitchcock masterpiece—thanks to Bernard Herrmann
"Psycho" ranks second on a list of Alfred Hitchcock's four masterpieces, following "Vertigo" and followed by "North by Northwest" and "Rear Window," which ranks number four only because it lacks a Bernard Herrmann score. While Hitch's camera is always the best feature of his films, Herrmann is the artist who puts three of them over the top and into the realm of true greatness—setting them beyond such near-great movies as "Notorious" and "Strangers on a Train," which both had good scores, but nothing like the sublime and haunting music of this film. There is no underestimating Hitchcock, nor the work of Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins, who play the film's two main characters; but without Herrmann this could not have been a great movie.

The opening scene is the best place to appreciate both Herrmann and Hitchcock. Joseph Stefano's script is extremely well-structured and it was his idea to make Marion Crane the story's main character, before switching over forty minutes later to Norman Bates. (In the original novel, Robert Bloch dispatches Mary Crane much sooner.) But his dialogue is often stilted, and the opening scene, where Marion and Sam Loomis (John Gavin) share a lunchtime tryst in a cheap hotel, is badly written. The fault is made worse by Gavin, whose performance is stiff and awkward throughout, nowhere more than here. Yet this scene is among the glories of the movie, with the camera, the music and Janet Leigh's performance all giving it an aching poignancy that haunts our minds long after the film is over. Our sense of Marion's longing and frustration, which could not be conveyed by Leigh alone, is necessary for us to understand why she commits the rash act of stealing money from her boss's client. Watch how much is conveyed to us by the camera when Marion suddenly rises from the bed. Listen how much is conveyed by Herrmann's music when Sam spreads out his hands in mock-surrender and says, "All right." The scene as written would seem unworkable in other hands; in the hands of Herrmann and Hitchcock (and Leigh) it becomes masterly.

Gus Van Sant's remake, a fascinating failure, helps us appreciate many things about this film, including the performances—even, perversely, the performances of Gavin and Vera Miles, who plays Marion's sister, Lila. Gavin is incompetent and Miles is thoroughly competent, but both have the same effect on us: we don't care about them. Or rather, we would be bored by them if they were doing anything other than solving the mystery of Marion's disappearance. Viggo Mortensen and Julianne Moore give these bland characters more dimension, and in doing so, annoy us with their distracting personalities. Characters that are deliberately featureless often excite our imaginations more than ones that are full of tedious quirks. As is so often true with old movies, their "faults" prove to be virtues when remakes attempt to correct them.

Oddly, I vividly remember everything about the Van Sant film, except for Vince Vaughn's performance as Norman Bates; I only remember that at the time I thought it was excellent. Anne Heche, by contrast, was memorably awful, especially in the one scene that enhances our appreciation of Janet Leigh. When Marion is in her apartment alone (and without any monologue), packing her things and worrying about her mad plan, Leigh conveys all the anxiety in her decision with a minimum of affectation. But Heche not only makes the putrid decision to play the scene as if she is half-amused by her own craziness; she conveys this idea with the maximum of overplaying, as if she were compensating for her lack of dialogue with broad gestures and eye-rolling. Leigh shows us how she feels; Heche announces it over a megaphone.

Anthony Perkins' performance as Norman Bates is among the most memorable ever recorded on film. He is sympathetic and frightening; innocent and malign; horrifyingly unlike us and even more horrifyingly like us. Stefano gives him the best lines; and Hitchcock's camera is preternaturally adept at drawing us into his world when necessary and then coldly keeping us distant when needed. Yet with all this, how much more than a satisfying thriller with a clever trick ending could "Psycho" have been without Herrmann's score to help it transcend itself? Could Norman Bates have haunted us as much with a merely excellent score, like the ones for "Strangers on a Train" and "Frenzy"? Neither Bloch nor Stefano is Shakespeare, and Norman Bates does not live on the page, as Macbeth, Edmund and Iago do. Could Norman Bates, like Shakespeare's characters, live for four-hundred more years? If he survives, it will have been the joint genius of Perkins, Hitchcock and Bernard Herrmann that rendered him, and his story, an immortal nightmare.
2006-12-07
A Chilling Classic.
The first time I saw Psycho, I watched the first 20 minutes and stopped the tape. I thought it was boring. But, alas, I rented it again a few weeks ago and I didn't like it. Didn't like it at all. I bloody loved it! Psycho is a freakin' masterpiece! It is easily Alfred Hitchcock's best film, and it is definitely an unforgettable chilling classic. Anthony Perkins was brilliant as Norman Bates, I will certainly look out for more of his work in the coming months. Janet Leigh was also very impressive, she was a real gem of Psycho.

So, don't make the same mistake I did, watch this classic today, and I guarantee you'll never forget it.

Rating: 10
2000-08-18
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