1998; Rated R; 109 Minutes
Anthony Perkins: Norman Bates
Vera Miles: Lila Crane
John Gavin: Sam Loomis
Martin Balsam: Milton Arbogast
John McIntire: Sheriff Champers
Produced and directed
by Alfred Hitchcock; Screenwritten by Robert
Bloch and Joseph Stefano
by DAVID KEYES
"A mother is a boy's best friend."
- Dialogue from "Pycho"
Can you ever think of a horror film that pushed so many
boundaries at a time when horror was nearly nonexistent
in the cinema? In 1960, Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" was
not only the first truly inspired horror film of modern
cinema, but also the first to reveal moments and occurrences
on screen that had never been attempted before in the previous
years. The most famous scenes, one where Janet Leigh is
butchered behind a shower curtain and the other where Norman
Bates emerges dressed as his mother with a large knife in
his hands, were also the most intense, violent, and inspired
moments of film making at the time of its release.
30 years later, the movie remains a benchmark for the genres
of horror as we know them. It's creation prompted several
sequels and spun off hundreds of imitations, clones, and,
in a way, inspired several more eras of the horror that
exists in the movies.
believe me, it did. Where do you think "Halloween" and "The
Exorcist" got their inspirations to expand on the horizon
of horrific possibilities? The greatest horror movies were
the ones that tested our expectations and limits of cinema,
often emerging with refreshing and unique approaches that,
too, inspired the future of cinema.
a process that has existed for almost 40 years, and all
of them, of course, must have been inspired by "Psycho."
Why? Because it was the first, and next to "The Exorcist,"
it's also the best.
the movie is completely original, even compared to the films
of today. It's easy to make movies where the death toll
rises, but it takes the passion and knowledge of a man like
Hitchcock to add to these things. The story of Norman Bates
has many twists and turns in the movie, and each twist and
turn is important to understand the story at the same time
to truly appreciate the most frightening scenes of the picture.
You've undoubtedly seen the famous shower scene with Janet
Leigh, but unless you've actually seen the movie, I find
it doubtful that you appreciate the scene as much as us
who saw the movie do.
you believe it or not, things like this, as are the famous
scenes of "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Exorcist," are more
scary and more intense only when you know the situation.
Seeing segments of a film like these only tarnishes our
excitement for the more prolific and artistically provocative
sequences that jumble our nerves in a movie. Unless you've
seen "Psycho," I doubt you truly know how terrifying it
"The Exorcist," "Psycho" remains a force of raw power and
mystique after all these years. It tests our stamina and
reactions at the sheer darkness of the horrific elements
in film and in life.
you have just read is not a review to honor the film's anniversary.
It is to honor a movie which, perhaps, might be ruined as
Gus Van Sant currently remakes the movie, which will probably
ruin the whole thing.
at least the planned remake gives us a chance to look back
on how great and how terrifying the original has remained.
1998, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
Please e-mail the author here
if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.