Thursday, October 1, 2009

#32 - Psycho

Psycho (1960)
Moderately Trashy

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock. Written by: Joseph Stefano, based on the novel by Robert Bloch.

Plot: A young woman (Janet Leigh) robs her boss and, while on the run, stops over at a motel in the middle of nowhere. There she meets the sort of charming but sort of creepy owner (Anthony Perkins) and gets stabbed to death in the shower. Her sister (Vera Miles) and boyfriend (John Gavin) begin investigating the motel and owner and uncover the least surprising twist ending ever.

Unfortunately, everybody knows what the twist is, which sort of detracts somewhat from the movie. It’s sad, really.

However, the movie is still made well enough to make up for that. It actually seems somewhat old fashioned today, not in subject matter but in the rigid protocol in which the scenes are structured, which was always one of my problems with Hitchcock movies - not that I’m shitting on the Hitch, I actually really like his stuff and his horribly morbid sense of humour, it’s just… there’s that thing he do. He does certain things in a certain way, always. His movies are always very obviously suspense films and there aren’t very many variations in the scene formula. Or something. You know what I mean.

That being said, the film is very suspenseful, even though you know what the twist is. You never know who is going to die and when, which I guess is some of the suspense. Suspense!

Um, yeah, it is also an extremely influential film, almost ridiculously so. It has been homaged, ripped-off, referenced and spoofed probably a thousand times in different things. It’s scary when you think about it, but that’s another thing which takes away from the film. I know I have been bombarded since an early age with Psycho imagery, so that when I actually saw it (and I still would have been fairly young), most of everything had rubbed off, which is too bad because it really is a good movie.

Mind you, at my current age I am able to take it away from that a bit better and appreciate it for itself. Yay for me.

Anyway, I just watch it now because I think Norman Bates is hot.

Favourite Part: Norman Bates. He really is a nice guy, if only he weren’t so screwed up. Although, the problems are part of the appeal. I would say that no woman can resist Norman Bates but I think it’s just me. It’s that awkward nerdiness that gets me. It’s so cute and sad. And it doesn’t help that Anthony Perkins is totally adorable.

Other versions: There is the really unnecessary remake.

Sequels: Psychos 2 and 3 were sort of indistinguishable and pathetic, Psycho 4 was a little different, taking the ‘origins’ approach, but is still a piece of crap, just going to prove that you shouldn’t watch any movie subtitled ‘The Beginning’. It’s just a bad idea.

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