Classic Franchise Month – Psycho (1960)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

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.

PerformancesAnthony 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.

StoryThe 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/MysteryThe 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.

SettingsThe 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 EffectsThe effects for the kills show us just what you can achieve by showing less for the same effects.

Scene of the Movie –
The basement.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not being able to experience this movie without knowing anything about it.

Final ThoughtsThis 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.





Original v Remake – Magnificent Seven (1960)

Director: John Sturges

Writer: William Roberts (Screenplay)

Starring: Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, Horst Buchholz, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, James Coburn


Plot: An oppressed Mexican peasant village hires seven gunfighters to help defend their homes.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Good Americanised Remake


Story: The Magnificent Seven starts as the small Mexican town gets visited and raided by Calvera (Wallach) and his men, they promise to back again for more too. Worried about the future of their village the town goes in search for a defence against the raiders and find seven cowboys, Chris Adams (Brynner), Vin Tanner (McQueen), Chico (Buchholz), Bernardo O’Reilly (Bronson), Lee (Vaughn) Harry Luck (Dexter) and Britt (Coburn) who all come for different reasons.

The gunmen set up a defensive line ready to do battle as the town is ready to go to battle against the Calvera and his men, who will come out on top in this battle to protect a small town.


Thoughts on The Magnificent Seven


Characters/PerformanceThe seven gunmen all have different reasons for going to this town, but the one thing they all have in common if just how deadly they are with a weapon which is the most important characteristic needed for our characters. Calvera is the villain of the piece and easily a great by the book villain needed for this film.

Performance wise, instead of going through all the actors it would be fair to say each and every one of the cast does a great job in the roles they are playing.

StoryThe story one a small group of gunmen protecting a small town from raiders is a remake of the Seven Samurai, which was one of the most popular films ever made. This version brings the story to the American audience dealing with the cowboys battles which does work but doesn’t change the formula to make anything complicated for the audience.

Action/Adventure/WesternThe action is all big cowboy style which works for the film, the music adds to the adventure side of the film which is fun through a situation that is darker. The western theme also works because it makes it easy to relate to for the American audience.

SettingsThe settings are simple but effective for the film as we know we will be in the old west for this battle.

Final ThoughtsThis is yet another classic film that took me time to watch and it gave us a mega cast of big names, simple to follow story and a western worth watching.


Overall: Classic western fun.




Peeping Tom (1960)

tomDirector: Michael Powell

Writer: Leo Marks (Screenplay)

Starring: Karlheinz Bohm, Moira Shearer, Anna Massey, Maxine Audley, Brenda Bruce, Miles Malleson, Esmond Knight


Plot: A young man murders women, using a movie camera to film their dying expressions of terror.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Cult Classic


Story: Peeping Tom starts as we follow our estranged cameraman Mark Lewis (Bohm) as he shows his work to his beautiful neighbour Helen Stephens (Massey) as we learn how he became the social awkward man we are following.

We see how Mark has been working on a film where he gets an interest in stand in Vivian (Shearer) where he gets to practise his killing style as we see how Mark follows his victims before killing them on film.

Peeping Tom is considered one of the classics in the horror genre because of the new dimension it bought to the genre. I will say it is slow moving which doesn’t help us really engage with his killing style as I do think we did need a large body count for what Mark was trying to achieve. Everything plays out like a misunderstood monster while now it would be studied a lot more before villainous the first victim which is Mark himself.


Actor Review


Karlheinz Bohm: Mark Lewis is a small time cameraman who dreams of directing his own film but his dreams become others nightmares as he starts stalking his victims before killing off becoming the serial killer around town. Karlheinz is good in this role as we see the full social awkward character coming through.

Moira Shearer: Vivian is a stand in on the film Mark is working on she gets interested in Mark but she does become the most famous of the victims so far in his killing spree. Moira is good in this role without really being a major part.

Anna Massey: Helen Stephens is the beautiful neighbour of Mark’s who become fascinated with Mark’s work as the two start with their own relationship. Anna is good as the innocent girl next door.

Support Cast: Peeping Tom has a good supporting cast with each member coming of wondering what Mark’s real motives are being it Helen’s mother or the detectives searching for the killer.

Director Review: Michael PowellMichael does give us an original idea for a horror which for the time would have struck fear in everyone.


Horror: Peeping Tom would have been good for time but it doesn’t really work to the same levels now.

Thriller: Peeping Tom tries to keep us guessing but sadly it just doesn’t get us involved enough.

Settings: Peeping Tom does have good use of settings trying to make us wonder how gritty the world are going to be.
Special Effects
: Peeping Tom uses the effects well for the time to show the kills.

Suggestion: Peeping Tom is one for the horror fans to go back and try. (Horror Fans Try)


Best Part: Style works.

Worst Part: It has dated.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: £135,000

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

Tagline: WARNING! Don’t see Peeping Tom unless you are prepared to see the screaming shock and raw terror in the faces of those marked for death!


Overall: Dated horror that has lost the real shock value it once had.




Inherit the Wind (1960)

Rob picked this Oscar nominated film about religion versus evolution

rob challengelogoDirector: Stanley Kramer

Writer: Nedrick Young, Harold Jacob Smith (Screenplay) Jerome Lawrence, Robert E Lee (Play)

Starring: Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gene Kelly, Dick York, Donna Anderson, Harry Morgan, Claude Akins, Elliot Reid

Plot: Based on a real-life case in 1925, two great lawyers argue the case for and against a science teacher accused of the crime of teaching evolution.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Strong Historical Story

Story: Inherit the Wind starts with Bertram T Cates (York) getting arrested for teaching his class about evolution going against the religious beliefs the nation has. When top lawyer Matthew Harrison Brady (March) agrees too go against Bertram in is the flash E.K. Hornbeck (Kelly) who brings highly respect lawyer Henry Drummond (Tracy) to defend Bertram.

What follows in the courtroom battle between two of the biggest lawyers and friends over whether evolution can be taught in schools who still heavily believe in religious.

Inherit the Wind brings us into the story that shows just how naive we were as human less than 100 years ago. The whole religion versus evolution is still talked about now but people are more open to looking at both sides of the discussion. This really does end up playing very political but still just does what they all do now. To see this case as a court case almost feels like a joke but in the end I think this is important step how far and open human finally have become. (7/10)

Actor Review

Spencer Tracy: Henry Drummond is the highly respected lawyer who is bought into defend Bertram and uses all his skills to make sure the trial is fair, even if the most part of the town is against him. Spencer does a good job in the leading role of this film. (7/10)

Fredric March: Matthew Harrison Brady is the prosecution lawyer who wants to use his fame to help him win the case as he gets a heroes welcome to the town. Fredric does a goog job opposite Spencer in this battle f the egos. (7/10)

Gene Kelly: E. K. Hornbeck is the flash reporter who comes to town to help write the story about this case, he easily likes to spin the story in his favour. Making himself enemies inside the town. Gene does a good job in this role. (7/10)

Dick York: Bertram T Cates is the teacher who gets charged with teaching evolution to his class that is heavily religious. He wants to stand up for what he believes in even if it means going against the whole tide of the town. Dick does a good job in this role without really getting the screen time his character deserves. (7/10)

Support Cast: Inherit the Wind has a supporting cast that includes people who are on both sides of the fence as we see how each side gets defended.

Director Review: Stanley Kramer Stanley does a good job with this courtroom drama that lets both sides shine with their defence. (7/10)

Drama: Inherit the Wind shows all the traits that show how powerful the story is one both sides of the fence. (7/10)

History: Inherit the Wind shows just how far the human race has come from its naive look at the world in the 1920s. (9/10)

Settings: Inherit the Wind uses the settings well with large parts of the film being in the courtroom. (8/10)

Suggestion: Inherit the Wind is one for all the historical fans to watch but I think the casual fans won’t see much of an appeal in it. (Try It)

Best Part: Courtroom.

Worst Part: The fact this actually went to court.

Believability: Based on the real case. (9/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 4 Oscars

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

Tagline:  It’s all about the monkey trial that rocked America.

Overall: Important drama that shows just how ignorant humans once were.

Rating 70