Sunday, October 7, 2012

After Thoughts...Psycho [1960] (spoilers)


+ If you have never seen Psycho and don't know what happens turn away now!!!  I would hate to be the cause of spoiling it for anyone.

Norman Bates is nothing I imagine a serial killer would be.  He is a shy and bashful; a young rather good looking guy who spends his days managing the family motel for his ailing mother.  But then again, after revisiting Psycho, Norman might just be everything I imagine a serial killer to be- he is shy and bashful, and awkward, reclusive and very, very creepy.

Revealing the timid and sincere Norman Bates as the psychotic, two-faced transvestite serial killer might be one of the greatest surprises the movie have ever given us.  Remembering all those reprimanding conversations overheard from his mother, the reveal comes as disturbing and the sympathy, out the window.  But for horror junkies watching the movie again, there could be a small sense of delight.  Watching that severely awkward dinner of sandwiches and milk as you wait for Marion Crane to step behind the shower curtain.

Anthony Perkins gives the performance of a life-time, one that many say he was born to play and never quite left behind.  Perkins took part in three more Psycho sequles, even directing the made for TV Psycho IV in 1990, 30 years after the release of Hitchcock's classic.

When the script was in the process of adapting Robert Bloch’s 1959 novel, Norman had to be changed drastically to suit Hitchcock’s liking.  The Norman Bates of the book took the form of an overweight 40-something year old man with drinking problems.  Inspired by real-life serial killer Ed Gein, also the inspiration for the equally creepy characters of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Silence of the Lambs, there is nothing subtle about Bloch’s literary Norman Bates.

 But the legacy of the film rests largely on the unexpected reveal at its end, where we find out the boy next door is really a perverse maniac.  Everything we thought was true is now not, exactly how Hitch wanted it.  The film, while typically considered a horror piece or even slasher is one of the great psychological thrillers ever made.  But it is only until after its over do you realize this.  If Hitchcock’s Norman stayed true to the novel, none of that would have been possible.  The reveal would have more obvious and the thrill, much less thrilling.  I doubt Psycho would have been a bad movie if Hitchcock retained the character written by Bloch,  but it certainly would not possess the legacy it has today.  Sure, we would still have the infamous shower scene and Bernard Herrmann's screeching violins, but no Anthony Perkins, and frankly I cannot imagine a Psycho without him.


  1. My god, I am so happy ol' Hitch stuck to his vision and created the Norman in his head. Perkins gave a lifetime performance as Bates. One of the best there ever was.

    How pumped are you for the new movie, Hitchcock?

    1. Totally agree, one of the best performances there ever was. Im usually against big changes from literary sources but this is undoubtedly an exception.

      So pumped to see Hitchcock, especially with Hopkins playing the man. That should be something.

      Btw, caught the director's commentary on Earrings today. Good stuff. It was cool to get all the inside info about the making of and your directing style/inspirations. I feel like I know so much more now. Haha. Congrats again.

    2. Thanks for listening dude! Really glad you dug what I had to say. I just kind of went into it blind and talked it out. Hadn't watched the flick in over two months, so it was interesting going back to it. ANYWAY, thanks again for the support!