Having discussed 1960’s Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom yesterday, it seems only fitting that I discuss Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho today.
WATCH: Psycho (1960) – “When larcenous real estate clerk Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) goes on the lam with a wad of cash and hopes of starting a new life, she ends up at the notorious Bates Motel, where twitchy manager Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) cares for his housebound mother. The place seems quirky but fine … until Marion decides to take a shower. Director Alfred Hitchcock’s Oscar-nominated shocker has been terrifying viewers for decades — and for good reason.”
Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is still a masterpiece. While it is definitely a progenitor of the slasher genre, there are actually very few deaths in the film. It starts off as if it is going to be a caper film and then abruptly changes direction a third of the way into the film. Janet Leigh and Vera Miles are wonderful and Martin Balsam is good but of course the film belongs to Anthony Perkins. His performance is pitch perfect – charming in a slightly socially inept way, with just a little hint that something is off. The only bad performance is from John Gavin and its not a terrible performance, he just seems to suck the energy out of his scenes. Hitchcock really piques our interest as usual with a MacGuffin (the $40,000) in the first act and he has several impressive scenes with horrific imagery in the second and third acts (including the infamous shower scene). The black and white cinematography and framing are excellent and the sets are iconic enough to be part of a tourist attraction now.
People watchers: look for a young Simon Oakland (Kolchak) as Dr. Fred Richmond.
AVOID: Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus: Great trailer (catch it on youtube) – terrible movie. Bad acting, worse directing, and really bad CGI add up to a truly dreadful film. The scene where the shark attacks a plane in flight is hilarious though.