HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Gangster, the Cop, the Devil, The
Brightburn
Satanic Panic
Claudine
Harpoon
Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, The
Dark Phoenix
No Mercy
Arctic
Fate of Lee Khan, The
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Ladyworld
Rocketman
Kid Who Would Be King, The
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound
America America
Darkest Minds, The
Along Came Jones
Hummingbird Project, The
Under the Table You Must Go
Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War
Hanging Tree, The
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare
Itsy Bitsy
Witchmaker, The
Prey, The
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Happy Death Day 2U
Full Moon High
Strange But True
Kamikaze 1989
Never Grow Old
Time of Your Life, The
Mountain Men, The
Epic
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Isabelle
Non-Stop New York
   
 
Newest Articles
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
   
 
  Psycho We All Go A Little Mad SometimesBuy this film here.
Year: 1960
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam, John McIntire, Simon Oakland, Vaughn Taylor, Frank Albertson, Lurene Tuttle, Patricia Hitchcock, John Anderson, Mort Mills
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rating:  9 (from 4 votes)
Review: It is a hot early afternoon in December in Phoenix, Arizona, and Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) has been spending her lunch break with her boyfriend Sam Loomis (John Gavin) in a hotel room. They are both frustrated that they have to hide their love away from the eyes of Sam's ex-wife who is crippling him with her alimony demands and dream of the day when they're financially free enough to get married. So when Marion returns to work as a secretary and is confronted with a boorish businessman waving forty thousand dollars under her nose, part of a deal with her boss, she starts thinking of what she could get away with when she's meant to be taking the cash to the safety deposit box...

It's no exaggeration to say that Psycho changed cinema for all time, not only in the field of thrillers and horrors but in any film that tries to pull the wool over its audience's eyes. Alfred Hitchcock had tried psychologically intricate suspense before, most blatantly in the shakily Freudian Spellbound, but here the ins and outs of a twisted mind were far more convincingly mapped, and not only the mental makeup of the killer, either. Marion is also a criminal, and it is she who brings out the main theme of the film when she drives away with the money that weekend: when she sees her boss crossing in front of her car at a traffic light, what she feels defines the story.

And what she feels is guilt, an emotion that constantly erupts in the characters, largely born of a fear of authority figures and what they can do to punish you. Bosses, cops, detectives and mothers - they all elicit that uncomfortable sense of not simply doing wrong, but being found out and taken to task for whatever misdeeds you have committed. Psycho was based on a novel by Robert Bloch, who himself grew weary of his association with the film which overshadowed his whole career, yet Hitchcock saw not only the clever tricks the author used that could be dynamite on the big screen, but a way of playing out his sense of humour and penchant for menacing blonde women - in his movies, of course.

Leigh is especially good at making us feel Marion's discomfort: it's all there written on her face as she nervously looks around while gripping the wheel of her car, and a policeman who seems to be trailing her makes her all the more anxious. Could she have been found out so soon? She drives from Phoenix to the middle of nowhere in California, eventually getting off the highway and onto the lesser used road, but she cannot risk being found sleeping in her car and as luck would have it there's a motel up ahead that she can check into. It's a quiet place where she can gather her thoughts and the owner, one Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) seems unassuming enough.

Of course, Norman has every right to feel as guilty as Marion does in a superb performance from Perkins which ruined the perception of sensitive chaps the world over. He's a lonely soul, with the only company he has being his invalid mother who we glimpse at the upstairs window of his house, but is mother as powerless as she appears? As Marion overhears, she certainly has a vice-like grip over her son which we find out can only lead to tragedy, and watching Psycho a second time it's amusing to see how all the signs to what is really going on are there if we care to notice them. There is far more to this film than a simple surprise ending, which is probably why it has been discussed and referenced to the incredible extent it has, from the shocking shower scene to Bernard Herrmann's unforgettable, jittery score, and so rich is it with complexities that it's easy to see why it has been awarded classic status. Its nastiness, its ironies and its black humour endure, as does the weird way in which poor Norman is the character who bears our strongest sympathies.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3942 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Alfred Hitchcock  (1899 - 1980)

Hugely influential British director, renowned as "The Master of Suspense" for his way with thrillers. His first recognisably Hitchcockian film was The Lodger, but it was only until Blackmail (the first British sound film) that he found his calling. His other 1930s films included a few classics: Number Seventeen, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The 39 Steps, Secret Agent, Sabotage, The Lady Vanishes, Young and Innocent and Jamaica Inn.

Producer David O. Selznick gave Hitchcock his break in Hollywood directing Rebecca, and he never looked back. In the forties were Suspicion, thinly veiled propaganda Foreign Correspondent, the single set Lifeboat, Saboteur, Notorious, Spellbound (with the Salvador Dali dream sequence), Shadow of a Doubt (his personal favourite) and technician's nightmare Rope.

In the fifties were darkly amusing Strangers on a Train, I Confess, Dial M for Murder (in 3-D), rare comedy The Trouble with Harry, Rear Window, a remake of The Man Who Knew Too Much, To Catch a Thief, the uncharacteristic in style The Wrong Man, the sickly Vertigo, and his quintessential chase movie, North By Northwest. He also had a successful television series around this time, which he introduced, making his distinctive face and voice as recognisable as his name.

The sixties started strongly with groundbreaking horror Psycho, and The Birds was just as successful, but then Hitchcock went into decline with uninspired thrillers like Marnie, Torn Curtain and Topaz. The seventies saw a return to form with Frenzy, but his last film Family Plot was disappointing. Still, a great career, and his mixture of romance, black comedy, thrills and elaborate set pieces will always entertain. Watch out for his cameo appearances in most of his films.

 
Review Comments (3)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: