Psycho (5/15/12)

PsychoMovie One Hundred Nineteen

Psycho is considered one of Alfred Hitchcock’s finest films and to date stands as one of the best thrillers ever made.

Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) steals $40,000 from a client at her office and flees from Arizona to California to be with her lover. After being paranoid about the police after a brief run-in with an officer that follows her, Marion finds herself at the Bates Motel. She soon meets Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) and before spending some time talking with him, hears Norman’s mother from the house behind the motel. While taking a shower, Marion is stabbed to death and the mystery of the Bates Motel begins to unwind as people begin looking for Marion and the stolen money.

Psycho is a timeless film and considering its age, holds up remarkably well considering the myriad of horror films that we have been inundated with since. Hitchcock builds a distinct level of tension and mystery very early on and holds it until the finale. While many of you are likely aware of the ending, don’t worry, I won’t spoil it.

As with other Hitchcock films there are many hidden layers that reward multiple viewings of Psycho. Things like all the references to birds or the shots through mirrors may not be picked up at first but are a delight. My grandparents went to see Psycho in the theaters and they still talk about how it was the only movie they’ve ever walked out of. Considering the shower scene alone, I’m not surprised. Even though it is fairly tame by some of today’s standards, it still evokes a heart-in-your-throat reaction for me. For fans of Psycho, I would also highly recommend Clouzot’s Les Diaboliques, which came out about 5 years prior to Psycho and shares many similarities. In fact, Clouzot got the rights to Les Diaboliques as Hitchcock was trying to. Oh, and do not bother with the 1998 remake, it is awful.

For those who have not yet seen Psycho, it’s a must. Very few films come close and even fewer thrillers, including some of Hitchcock’s own, match it.

I give it 5 Bates Motels out of 5.

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