HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Dolce Vita, La
Pig
I Am Belmaya
Lodger, The
Show, The
Beta Test, The
Medium, The
John and the Hole
Survivalist, The
Ape Woman, The
Black Widow
Cop Secret
Dark Eyes of London, The
V/H/S/94
Fay Grim
Night of the Animated Dead
Freshman Year
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Anne at 13,000 Ft.
Even Mice Belong in Heaven
Death Screams
Freakscene: The Story of Dinosaur Jr.
Demonia
East, The
Mandabi
Seance
Green Knight, The
Beasts of No Nation
One of Our Aircraft is Missing
Picture Stories
Another Round
Tape, The
Limbo
Supernova
Man Who Sold His Skin, The
Sweetheart
No Man of God
Gaia
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Scenes with Beans
   
 
Newest Articles
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
   
 
  Psycho We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes
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, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
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 5301 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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: