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Psycho is THE ultimate horror movie. What a brilliantly told story and
equally powerful acting from all concerned. This movie details the
aspects of shock and the macabre to chilling effect, and surely scared
the wits out of cinema-goers back in 1960! Of course back then, a
gruesome murder wasn't really seen on film before, not such a gruesome
killing anyway, but it's highly common today. Hitchcock delivers a
heart-stopping, gripping movie which doesn't let down for a single
second. It's much better that the film was released in black and white;
had it had been in colour, the fear and suspense may have been lost to
Janet Leigh portrayed Marion Crane with wonderful agility, but we all know the real star of the show was (and is) Anthony Perkins. Norman Bates is probably the most twisted and scariest characters in the history of film, and Perkins delivers the vulnerabilities we see in Bates to stunning effect. I have huge respect for Vera Miles, and she was also well cast as Marion's concerned sister, Lila. A shame she has retired from the acting world...
The suspense to Psycho starts right from the word go, what with the extremely haunting music to the opening titles, which continues in certain scenes throughout the film. An equally powerful and shocking ending too...
Psycho is simply the ultimate horror movie, it hasn't been bettered, and cannot be bettered. The gruesome 'shower scene' featured not one violent shot - just illusion. But boy what illusion! Terrific, brilliant, excellent, superb, I can't go on enough!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Chances are that if you go into this movie cold without knowing
anything about it (I know, that's almost impossible), you'll be about a
half hour into the picture and wondering what the title might be all
about. Sure Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) seems highly erratic when
questioned by the patrolman, but hardly psychotic. It's not until
director Hitchcock suddenly pulls the rug out from under the forty
thousand dollar robbery setup, and Marion falls victim to the frenzy of
a slashing knife accompanied by the now historic soundtrack that's been
indelibly identified with "Psycho", that we get the idea that this is
not your standard mystery.
This is a classic and historic movie, the first on many levels to create a new kind of horror film. Hitchcock was a master of thrills and suspense without ever relying on violence. Here he allows a slight departure from that formula, but without overemphasizing the gore. When the naked Marion Crane is attacked in a shower, completely helpless, it was the birth of a new genre, which unfortunately has degraded into the sensationalist slasher schlock of present day. In "Psycho", you never see it coming, except for that shadowed figure behind the shower curtain, but by then it's too late to gasp, you're caught up in the on screen event, and it leaves you breathless.
Some viewers call it a perfect film. I don't know if I would go that far, as I've thought about things I might have changed in telling the story. When Marion leaves the used car lot under scrutiny of the highway patrolman, it makes you wonder why he didn't follow up his instinct that there was something fishy going on. Then at the end of the film, the way the psychologist explained in detail the nature of Norman Bates' psychosis, made it seem like it wasn't enough to let the viewer arrive at a conclusion for oneself. But those nitpicks aside, one has to give credit to the principals for pulling off a great psychological and horror thriller. Anthony Perkins couldn't have been smoother, and it's not until at least a second viewing that you realize how wonderful a set up you have to the film's dire outcome. Sitting there talking to Marion among his menagerie of stuffed birds, Norman Bates gives a subtle hint as to the horror about to unfold - "You know what I think..., I think that..., we're all in our private traps, clamped in them, and none of us can ever get out..."
Watch this one alone..., at night..., in the dark.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Psycho remains the greatest thriller ever made. I consider it Alfred
Hitchcock's last great film (apologies to all Birds lovers out there
I'm sorry, but in Hitchcock's standards that movie really was mediocre
at best) as well as the best he had made, and the one in which the
efforts of terrific films like Rear Window, Vertigo and North By
Northwest finally culminated into one timeless masterpiece. Hitchcock
knew what most of today's directors of thrillers and horror movies have
forgotten how to build up tension and sympathy for his characters. In
no film did he do it better than in Psycho. And so, even if it doesn't
seem half as violent and horrific as it did four and a half decades
ago, and even if the shower scene isn't as convincing as we'd like to
remember, it's still one of the scariest and most effective thrillers
Psycho was clearly years ahead of its time, and it laid the groundwork for modern thrillers from Taxi Driver and The Conversation to Fight Club, Se7en and The Usual Suspects. Other than the fact that it's a perfectly constructed film, from the opening titles (by the great master Saul Bass) and the wonderful music (by the irreplaceable Richard Herrmann) which compliments and build the tension and horror to perfection; to the editing, the subtle dialog and the construction of each scene and each shot Psycho stood out for the focus Hitchcock put for the first time on the villain character, to whom the heroes Janet Leigh as the victim, John Gavin as her lover, Vera Miles as her sister, and of course the great Martin Balsam as the investigating detective all take second place.
Norman Bates is not only a lifetime performance for the great Anthony Perkins; he is the single greatest creation in the entire Hitchcock catalog, and one of the most fascinating villain characters in film history. It may be remembered that in Hitchcock's previous films Rear Window in particular springs to mind the 'madman' or villain character was the most unsatisfying and undeveloped element of the film. The murderer's motives are tackled here head on, and in this way it foreshadows many of the greatest thrillers of the 70's, 80's and 90's. Psycho is not about discovering the identity of the killer that much can be figured out by any viewer from the first time Norman Bates is on screen. It's about exploring Bates's mind and psych; his dialog is written to perfection and Perkins's performance goes without a hitch.
The only scene I still have problems with is the one in which Simon Oakland appears as a psychiatrist to explain to us Bates's motives and his story, thus spelling out what it seems an observant viewer can figure out for himself. Still, maybe viewers in 1960 weren't as immersed in psychological thrillers as we are today and so needed the explanation. This scene anticlimactic and slightly too long aside, the finale is still one of the most memorable and chilling in film history, and in my mind more impressive that the famed shower scene, making the entire film an unforgettable experience and one of the most effective ever made. Psycho is an essentiality to any cinema lover.
Hitchcock declares up front that we're going to be on the edge of our
seats while he has us captive. The music is shrill, obsessive.
We float in through the window on two lovers breaking up. A tailing police cruiser drifts out of the rear glass while we watch the girl watching her mirror. The camera floats out of the girl's dead eye, pulls back on her face frozen in fear, it swings around, pulls in on the newspaper, then swings away to the haunted madhouse on the hill. It levitates up the staircase, focuses on the 'conversation' in the next room, backs away and upwards and views the hallway straight down, all in one movement...a more impressive minute than the entire contents of many other movies.
Required film school viewing, absolutely. But also for us more casual viewers, this is a key movie we all need for understanding where visual vocabularies come from.
The later borrowings from this are uncountable. The most literal borrowing from the shower scene is in the "Raging Bull" Lamotta/Robinson bout, matching the cuts from angle to angle and in the same rhythm.
Brilliant vision and music, medium story and acting, though Perkins made every tic and stutter count.
Being an avid movie fan, I have seen too many motion pictures to even
bother trying to count. I love all types: drama, comedy, action,
sci-fi, foreign and horror. But I would have to say that my favorite
genre is suspense. Something about thrilling audiences without the use
of special effects, and creating realistic settings which cause a sense
of dread for the audience. And nobody, in my opinion, accomplished this
with a greater sense of style, polish, and dignity than Alfred
Hitchcock. His films are full of great dialog, well-rounded characters,
and genuine and original shocks.
Of all of his films, my favorite would have to be "Psycho". 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.
'Psycho' is one of the most famous and talked about suspense movies ever made. In fact it has been copied, ripped off and parodied so many times it's often easy to underrate it, but every time I watch it it really works for me. No matter how many times you view it you will notice something new, some shot or bit of business that impresses. Of course there's hardly a movie fan on the planet who doesn't know the major twists in the plot (like the original 'Planet Of The Apes' even people who have never seen it know what's going to happen), but that doesn't really matter, there's more than enough going on here to enjoy. Hitchcock's direction is masterful, and the movie has been hugely influential. Not just obvious films like William Castle's 'Homicidal' or Brian De Palma's 'Sisters' (and let's not even mention Gus Van Sant's misguided remake of some years back!), but Italian giallo and the whole slasher sub-genre wouldn't be the same without 'Psycho'. Even film makers outside the horror/suspense field have been influenced by it, Quentin Tarantino for example. One very famous shot in 'Psycho' is deliberately quoted in 'Pulp Fiction'. The cast of 'Psycho' are all very good, particularly Janet Leigh ('Touch Of Evil') and Vera Miles ('The Searchers') as the Crane sisters, and Martin Balsam ('Cape Fear') as Detective Arbogast. The real stand out performance is by the late Anthony Perkins ('The Trial') as Norman Bates. He is absolutely superb and surely deserved an Oscar. 'Psycho' is one of THE great American movies and should be watched and enjoyed by any movie fan. Hitchcock made many outstanding films, but 'Psycho' must rank with the best of them. A classic movie that has stood the test of time, I don't doubt that it will influence generations of film makers to come.
Psycho, A true classic, is the classic of all classic movies in my opinion. The music is simple but yet some of the best ever composed! The acting and sets and everything else couldn't be any better and I love the end!
Been meaning to watch this reputed 'masterpiece' for years and finally
I got hold of it. Is it as good as everyone says? The thing is, nothing
can describe the experience. Even though I have watched almost
countless psychological thrillers over the years, nothing really
compares to 'Psycho'. One would have to experience the film in order to
find out the answer to the aforementioned question. Luckily, I haven't
watched the remake which is said to be a scene by scene copy.
An atmosphere of darkness is set right from the beginning where one witnesses Sam and Marion who have just made love in a hotel room. Nothing particularly happens in that scene but there seems to be a lingering doom that will follow one of the characters soon. The black and white seems to work towards the film's benefit and stress on the chilling atmosphere. The closeup shots are especially effective. For example, notice the policeman wearing the sunglasses looking as though wearing a cold unsympathetic expression that creeps out Marion.
All the actors do a great job in that department. John Gavin is quite dashing as Sam Loomis. Janet Leigh is sensual and sophisticated. Vera Miles is terrific as Marion's concerned sister. Martin Balsam too leaves a mark and Anthony Perkins immortalizes Norman Bates.
The dialogues are clever and the editing is sharp. The twists are great as they 'make sense' with the story. Although I saw the ending coming, it fits well with everything. Hitchcock's film is very much an atmospheric piece and he has succeeded greatly in drawing the desired response from the viewer (even by forbidding cinema halls to not allow customers who arrived late). The sense of chill looms over, especially after viewing the final scene.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Marion Crane steals $40,000 from her employer's client, and
subsequently encounters a young motel proprietor, Norman Bates who has
spent too long under the domination of his mother.
Janet Leigh as Marion Crane was riveting to watch. She performs realistically and she is beautiful and radiant. The story of a young woman in love, who gets her hand on some money and wants to be better off in life with her lover. The scenes with her and the cop were absolutely thrilling. I was expecting the cop to search her bag and bring her to justice. The shower scene in the hotel room is a classic. How many films we know have tried to copy it!! And the scene which was shot from her eye was haunting.
Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates was absolutely wonderful and terrifying in the end. He made me care for his character who was under his mother's subjugation and did what any son who loves his mother would do (atleast, to him it was true. I would have been scared out of my mind).
Also, the little things in the movie do count. Milton Arbogast as the private detective, I wanted him to leave Bates alone as Norman was such an understandable character. Hitchcock delivers horror in a movie which has no gore. I never thought this old movie could be this awesome. I mean, the score was chilling and its still used today with all kinds of variations. This is the one of the films which spawned every horror filmmaker out there to follow the footsteps of Hitchcock and be as great as him (unfortunately, there are only a few).
Words don't do justice to this movie. Hitchcock does not disappoint by leaving out his trademark dark humor. He is brilliant by making the climax so scary. I really didn't see the ending coming. It was sheer brilliance on the part of Hitchcock. We still got films that have the same theme recycled over and over again. But, nothing is as good as the original. As they say, "old is gold" (I never thought I would say that). Hitchcock's decision to make this in black and white is impressive as it is more scary without the colours.
Do yourselves a favour and make your kids watch this film before they can get brainwashed into thinking today's horror films are scary. The smile at the end by Norman Bates (I'm so awestruck and scared by it) - so creepy. I loved it..!!
We all know what is synonymous with this movie, the famous shower scene!! In addition to all of the macabre details that this film so brilliantly portrays, "Psycho" brought on an introductory revelation to the American movie viewer about schizophrenia!! If you have seen this movie, I am not sure if you remember seeing Alfred Hitchcock in it! One of the office scenes he was standing outside!! It is a fact that in all of Alfred Hitchcock's movies that he made a cameo appearance in each and every one of them!! This gave the movie a little bit of a mystique about the direction it was going in!! A director feels that he must have a gimmick to acquire a popularity with the movie audience!! The film "Psycho" evokes an eerie genre to the entire make-up of the movie!! Personal problems become a potpourri of predicaments with all of the major characters in the film, Remaining impervious to the thought patterns of a psychotic serial killer gives way to the potential of artistic creativity!! The complexity of emotions in this movie wound up captivating the American public!! Any enormously classic scene in a film, makes this film a masterpiece of the American cinema!! "Psycho" "North By Northwest" and "The Birds" all had classic scenes which endeared millions to these three Hitchcock films!! 1960 was a year for change in America on so many dimensional playing fields... Start with the fact that that was the year that I was born, I do not think that the world was quite ready for me!! I still have my doubts about that one actually!!! 1960 was the year "Psycho" made it's debut, and it is considered by virtually every movie expert to be one of the greatest films ever made!! I concur mostly due to the fact that many new concepts that this movie delved into were executed flawlessly!! A PERFECT TEN!!!!!
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