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Reviews & Ratings for
Psycho More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

I guess it's never too late to thrown in your own love and admiration for a classic film...

Author: dee.reid from United States
27 June 2009

I have to admit that I have a terrible habit of getting around to watching classic movies when it's really late in the game. I guess my excuse is that I'm only 23, and most of the so-called "classic" movies of the 20th century were made well before I was even born. I'm ashamed to say that I fell in love with both "Jaws" (1975) and "Halloween" (1978) just last year; this year, just about a half-hour ago, I had the great pleasure to see Alfred Hitchcock's classic 1960 suspense-thriller "Psycho."

A lot has already been said about this film, so I won't comment too much on what it's actually about, and instead I'll only comment on significance and my reactions to it. "Psycho" has a plot based heavily in reality: adapted from the novel of the same name by Robert Bloch, the book and film were loosely based on the crimes of real-life Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein. "Psycho" finds its story revolving around Marion Crane (the late Janet Leigh), a lowly Phoenix, Arizona, secretary who embezzles $40,000 from her boss and hits the road, later stopping in at the isolated Bates Motel, and meets the owner and sole employee of the establishment, Norman Bates (the late Anthony Perkins).

The rest of the plot is well-known to anyone who has seen the film, so I won't describe it. Plus, to really describe the rest of the plot in any sort of detail at all will ruin the shocks and surprises that the film has in store for the viewer (most notoriously, the infamous "shower scene," which has to be seen to be believed, and experienced). The "shower scene" itself is one of the chief reasons to see this picture; it's shocking, Bernard Herrmann's theme slices away at your eardrums, and it's one of the iconic death scenes - one of the most iconic scenes, period - in movie history.

"Psycho" is a phenomenal piece of film, from a master filmmaker and an equally talented cast and crew; it's a true cinematic landmark. Most importantly, and the reason why I now hold this film to the high degree that I do now, is that "Psycho" is partially (or is it entirely?) responsible for influencing entire generations of filmmakers, particularly those in the horror genre. "Psycho" has almost single-handedly influenced, and given rise to, the slasher sub-genre of horror, which of course gave rise to, and is populated by the likes of, Leatherface (from "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" series), Michael Myers (from the "Halloween" series), Jason Voorhees (from the "Friday the 13th" series), my personal favorite movie slasher Fred Krueger (from the "Nightmare on Elm Street" series), and countless other imitators. "Psycho" would itself become fodder for the slasher genre nearly two decades after its release, when it was followed up by three vastly inferior sequels, with Anthony Perkins reprising his signature role as Norman Bates in all three films.

"Psycho" has also been the subject of a lot of psychiatric and psychological analysis, for those interested in understanding the criminal mind and how it functions. As a criminal justice major in college, in my studies I've across several opportunities to study "Psycho" (but never did) and exactly how it influenced the slasher genre and why it's fascinated criminology experts in the decades since its release, thus having even greater influence outside of the film community and American pop culture.

Alfred Hitchcock proved that he was a cinematic genius with "Psycho," since I understand that it is arguably his best and most popular film. At least now I've finally had a chance to see a movie that I've heard so much about and never previously got the chance to watch.


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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Milestone in the Thriller Genre

Author: tjsdshpnd from India
16 June 2009

Director : Alfred Hitchcock Cast : Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles

Undoubtedly the most popular movie created by the genius Hitchcock, Psycho is a masterpiece from all aspects of film making, be it the plot, screenplay, cinematography, sound and above all direction. It is a very intelligent thriller and keeps the viewer engaged and enthralled until the last frame.

The plot revolves around a highway motel and it's caretaker and owner Norman Bates, his sick and somewhat spooky mother, a woman who steals large amount of money from her employer to improve her love life with her boyfriend and who comes to stay at this Bates motel . The proceedings that follow are extremely interesting and enthralls the viewer. We get to see perhaps one of the best murder scenes ever shot in cinematic history, the famous shower murder of the lady who stays in the motel . The protagonist of the movie Norman Bates character has been very well written and performed by the actor concerned as well. Sometimes we as an audience feel pity and sorry for him and after knowing his mental condition, this feeling increases even more.

In short, Psycho is one of the milestones of this particular thriller genre. Many thriller movies either based on this or influenced by this have come in many large numbers, but the charm and the greatness of this particular movie will remain in the minds of cinema lovers for eternity.

Rating : 9/10

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Without serious rivals as the greatest thriller ever.

Author: bobsgrock from United States
31 May 2009

One of the most famous of all films, so much so that people who have never seen it know about the shower scene, or can quote, "A boy's best friend is his mother." Yet, Psycho is so much more than "that scary movie with the shower scene." In fact, it is not even a horror film by any stretch of the imagination; Hitchcock was too sophisticated for that. This is a mystery thriller, the first part being thriller and the second being mystery.

One of the elements that make this a timeless piece of cinema is the way Hitchcock sets up the back story to the character of Marion Crane and the relationship between her and Norman Bates. From the moment these stories begin, we start to get involved without knowing that Hitchcock is toying with us. I cannot ruin any spoilers, since this is a film to enjoy the first time and then maybe a second time. But, it is important to know that even though this has influenced practically every horror movie since, it is nothing like any of them. Hitchcock shot in black and white to not appear gory and used old-school tricks like music and editing to create images in our mind much scarier than on the screen.

Speaking of music, has there ever been a more perfect score written for a film since this masterful work by Bernard Herrmann? In every scene it is used, it underlies the drama and increases the suspense in a way no modern director could ever do with blood and grotesque imagery.

The cast is wonderful, especially Janet Leigh as Marion and Anthony Perkins as Norman. As good as Leigh is in bringing us to her side, Perkins gives arguably one of the greatest performances in all of cinema. The little details, the stuttering, the twitching, the eyes moving all around go unnoticed the first few times. Then, after awhile you notice it and see that he almost completely makes us sympathize with this character. If you've seen this before, you know what an incredible job it is, although it is a shame Perkins never got out from under Bates' shadow. What is even worse is that they made three sequels to this movie, focusing more on Norman and the violence that I am sure ensued. Forget those attempts to capture your attention and be sure to view this masterpiece at least once. That's all it takes before you will look at your mother a little differently.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Great movie, greater soundtrack

Author: b_havag from Norway
16 January 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Psycho" is a movie nearly everyone has heard of, either through the movie itself, or through the countless references to it in the media. And so it should be; it is undeniable one of the best horror-experiences in cinema ever as well as a timeless cultural icon.

The story about Marion Crane, how she has to run away having stolen 40.000 dollars, leads her to an old motel out of the main road. The owners name is Norman Bates... From here there isn't long until the famous shower-scene, and that's even just the beginning of the movie.

What makes this movie so great is the tension, the uneasy feeling that something isn't right, present throughout the whole feature. The key-factor in this tension is the soundtrack, one of the greatest ever. One would have to be a psycho like Bates himself to not feel uneasy when listening to "Murder" by Bernard Hermann

When I saw the whole movie for the first time last night, I actually knew the story first. Still, because of the immense power of "Psycho" i had trouble getting to sleep. I saw Norma Bates in every corner of my room. This just proves that it is an outstanding feature and the greatest horror flick I have seen. 9/10

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

"We all go a little mad sometimes."

Author: Daniel Kincaid from Canada
4 November 2007

"Psycho" is undoubtedly among the tensest films ever created, if not the tensest. The film's story first introduces Marion Crane, but eventually leads to the Bates Motel, which acts as a vortex that sucks a host of characters in.

Anthony Perkins gives an unforgettable nuanced performance as Norman Bates, and develops the character expertly with stutters and expressions as well as dialogue. Janet Leigh is equal to giving a critical performance as the anxious Marion Crane, who carries the first part of the film. The performances of Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam and the supporting cast are also solid.

Other than some brief pauses, this film consistently has heart-throbbing tension. Bernard Herrmann's famous score is an important contributing factor in the near constant tension. However, importantly this film also has an underlying mystery which ensures that the film is fascinating as well as tense.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

a brilliant puzzle game

Author: (winner55) from United States
4 September 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

*SPOILER* "Psycho" is something of a puzzle game, like the '3 dimensional chess' played in the old Star Trek TV show. When we think the film is moving in one direction, we find it has caught us up from behind on another level.

On one level, the film is about guilt, but not in any way most people think about it. Janet Liegh's hapless victim is actually guilty of a number of old-fashioned sins - illicit sex, theft, lying, sloth, waste, hubris and self-obsession, all of which is soon to be discovered (after the film's end) when her car is dragged from the swamp revealing the stolen money in the trunk along with her body. Of course, the audience knows that she would have repented, had she lived, but nobody in the film will.

Anthony Perkins' character, on the other hand, is guilty of - nothing. That's right, not a thing, nada, zip. That's because he's crazy: even his voyeurism is merely a manifestation of his psychosis. This is not simply a rule of Anglo-American law, by the way - it dates back at least to St. Augustine's Civitas Dei and his definitive statement that where the will is absent, there can be no guilt. And one cannot have will when the mind is so wholly disordered, it can no longer discern a choice to be made (that part is Aquinas).

Perkins' psychopath thus becomes mere act of nature to the people he kills. If Leigh's character had decided to drive to a church for confession to a priest, and then suffered a fatal heart-attack at the wheel, the moral sociology of this would have been the same for her, discovered in a car with stolen money and no immediate sign that she repented of her sins.

Does this make "Psycho" a heavy lesson in Christian morality? Absolutely not! Because Hitchcock is not playing just the one game, but several. As to the morality, for instance, it would certainly be a heavy message if it weren't so dam'ed obvious that Hitchcock doesn't take it seriously! The Freudian explanation, and Perkins' final dissolution into the persona of the dead mother form a bizarre bit of comic relief, intended to provide quick and easy explanations to any audience needing these.

It may help some viewers to know that Hitchcock said that the only really frightening moment in the film - for him - was the sudden cut to a close up of a state trooper wearing sunglasses when Leigh awakes in her car. Hitchcock was almost paranoid about the police (it actually does show up in a number of films, beginning with "Blackmail" from '29). This is one reason his characters frequently seem to have nowhere to turn when they find themselves in legally questionable or suspect situations. And it is this state trooper who first suggests to Leigh that she ought not to sleep in her car but find a bed for the night - which suggestion finally leads to her decision to visit the Bates Motel....

Well, who's guilty now?

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The craft of film-making brought to perfection

Author: bw92116
13 July 2007

There is no finer example of the craft of film-making than "Psycho." Every aspect of the production is brilliantly executed, and contributes to the film as a whole, rather than detracting from the whole. The script laden with double meanings, the note-perfect acting, the astonishing camera work and editing, the background music, the sleazy, run-down atmosphere - it all coalesces into one unforgettable excursion through the prurient, dishonest, anxiety-ridden substratum that lies just an inch beneath the supposedly placid, polite surface of American society. Hitchcock masterfully manipulates not only the audience's emotional states but its train of thought as well. The viewer is kept in a subtle state of confusion and bewilderment as to what is actually happening, what is going to happen, and what the characters' true motivations are - while at the same time the story is propelled forward at a brisk and steady pace. Even though I have seen this film all the way through 6 or 7 times, I always find myself irresistibly drawn into it all over again whenever it is shown. This is one of the true masterpieces of cinema, in that it exemplifies masterful film-making in all the disciplines required to produce a great film.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

My favourite Hitchcock film

Author: usersince03
18 February 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I recently bought this DVD on Ebay and thought it was a brilliant film. This is my favourite Alfred Hitchcock film. Psycho is one of my favourite movies of the 1960's along with Wait Until Dark, My Fair Lady, Mary Poppins, Two For The Road, The Sound Of Music, Breakfast At Tiffanys, Oliver, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, West Side Story. In my opinion I thought it was more a scarier film than the Audrey Hepburn film Wait Until Dark. Anthony Perkins was great as Norman Bates and I found him scarier than Alan Arkin in Wait Until Dark (not that Alan Arkin wasn't scary in Wait Until Dark). The music playing when Marion (Janet Leigh) got stabbed in the shower was freaky.I found the scene where the detective Arbagast (Martin Balsam) gets killed unexpected.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

THE greatest horror movie ever made.

Author: bradman-neelabh from Chicago, United States
17 February 2007

A very natural, or unnatural and unpredictable movie about Norman, the owner of Bates Motel and his mother. Truly Hitchcock's greatest ever.

Well it starts off when Marion Crane, an employed woman is given duty by her office to carry $40000 to a place. She sees this as her best opportunity to change life forever and live it up to the most. Like any other cunning human being, Marion steals the money and heads to Phoenix in Arizona. On the way, she is forced to change her car to avoid any suspicions by anybody about the crime she's just committed, as the thought goes through her mind every minute. Somehow managing to exchange her car to a pre-owned one, she carries on when suddenly there is a huge storm and finds no other choice but to stop nearby at Bates Motel near the highway, an isolated place. The owner of the motel, Norman Bates escorts her to her room and even offers to have dinner with him. The two have a long conversation, Norman mostly talking about himself and his dear old mother. Marion listens with interest and finally ends up going back to her room for a shower, where the story begins....

Remarkably the greatest horror or thriller movie ever made, Hitch's best. Like ever, no scene in this movie is imaginable for any first time viewer. Hitch being intelligent ever to make it black and white adds to its brilliance. My all time favorite.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Chilling and totally unpredictable

Author: Anna Kouremenos from United States
3 February 2007

This is rightly considered Hitchcock's greatest film. The black and white cinematography, combined with low key lighting in most of the (indoor)scenes, gives the story a mysterious look which is reminiscent of the film noir genre of the 1940s. The film score is at its most powerful in Marion's driving-in-the-rain scene and in the famous shower scene. Anthony Perkins is really perfect as the psychotic killer, having just the right combination of rage, vulnerability, fear, and compulsion. The finale, where the psychologist explains the character of Norman Bates,completes the film very well. All in all, one of the greatest films ever made.

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