Writer: Joseph Stefano (Screenplay) Robert Bloch (Novel)
Starring: Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Janet Leigh, Martin Balsam, John IcIntire
Plot: A Phoenix secretary embezzles $40,000 from her employer’s client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.
Tagline – No One … BUT NO ONE … Will Be Admitted To The Theatre After The Start Of Each Performance Of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho
Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: The Suspenseful Classic
Story: Psycho starts when secretary Marion Crane (Leigh) steals $40,000 from her boss and heads off for a life of paradise across America she finds a remote motel, The Bates Motel, where the clerk Norman (Perkins) welcomes her with open arms, as we hear the difficulties she is having with his mother. What seems like a peaceful place soon shows the darker side when Mrs Bates murder Marion leaving Norman to clean up the mess.
Now learning that the money is gone private investigator Arbogast (Balsam) goes in search for Marion, before her boyfriend Sam Loomis (Gavin) and her sister Lila (Miles) uncover the truth about the Bates Motel.
Thoughts on Psycho
Characters – Marion Crane is the secretary wanting to leave her life for a life in paradise, she steals the money and is left questioning her decision on her journey, she will soon become one of the most iconic characters in horror history. Norman Bates is the shy hotel manager that is polite even if social awkward when talking to the guests, but comes off like a kind man, he is controlled by his mother, he does have a darker side and he becomes a prime suspect in the missing Marion Crane case. Lila Crane is the sister of Marion that heads off with Sam to investigate the whereabouts of Marion.
Performances – Anthony Perkins gives us one of the most disturbing performances in any horror movie and one that is still talked about today nearly 60 years later as one of the best ever. Janet Leigh is wonderful in her role as we can clearly see the conflict she is facing, while Vera Miles is goo din her role in the film too.
Story – The story here held redefine horror movies as we know them by having an extended opening act with Marion only to kill her off that surprised the audience believing she would be the star of the movie. This helped introduce us to a new type of horror villain in Norman Bates, one that is human and able to cover for mistakes. We have one of the greatest twists in horror history here too, one that nearly everyone knows now too. To have experienced this movie without knowing the reality of what we know now would have been one of the most shocking experiences in cinema history.
Horror/Mystery – The horror in this film shows us just how to create a serial killer that could easily be real with his aggression coming from a mental disorder over being drawn to blood. The mystery keeps us guessing to who is the killer and what is their connection to the Bates Motel.
Settings – The film takes place in the Bates Motel, this is an isolated location which has now become one of the biggest iconic locations in horror history.
Special Effects – The effects for the kills show us just what you can achieve by showing less for the same effects.
Final Thoughts – This is one of the greatest movies ever made, it creates suspense with ease, a killer that will reveal us one of the greatest twists of all time and a style of storytelling which created a new style.
Overall: Classic on every level.