SLASH FACTS- Psycho
There’s no one who can love you quite like your parents. But let’s face it. Sometimes, parents can be lame. In the words of Will Smith, “Parents just don’t understand.” I believe that this is exactly how Norman Bates felt in one of the most beloved films in and outside of the horror genre, Psycho. It’s often considered one of the most iconic movies of the baby boomer era and in my opinion, still remains to hold up the standards of modern-day slasher films. Alfred Hitchcock not only set the bar for all future horror films with Psycho, but built a foundation for the films we all are fans of. Slashers.
Released in US theaters- September 8, 1960
Directed By- Alfred Hitchcock
Written By- Joseph Stefano & Robert Bloch (Based on the Novel By)
Run Time- 1 hour 49 minutes
Kill Count- 4
Killer- Norman Bates
Number of Sequels- 3 + 1 Remake in 1998
Personal Rating- 8/10 Motel Rooms
- Norma Bates- Although we never see Norma pre being skinned alive, the suspense and mind-blowing twist that this added to the film was gold. She was voiced by Jeanette Nolan, Paul Jasmine, and Virginia Gregg. For not having on screen character development, it sure took a lot to nail Norma Bates’ character. And nail it they did. If anyone says they saw the end coming when they first watched Psycho, they’re full of shit. It was so smart to have his Norman’s split personality be a result of his own actions. Norma is a vital part of the story and has one of the best scares, if not the best in the entire film.
- Unidentified Girl #1 and #2- It’s not until later in the film that we learn about a couple of other ladies that are missing in action. One’s throat was cut with a scalpel and the other never really got any recognition outside of being mentioned by Norman Bates. I wonder if it would’ve taken the movie too far. For instance, would a few more on-screen kills portray mother (Norman in her clothes) as a serial killer rather than a methodical and concerned mother with a distinct plan? Who knows? Luckily, the sequels gave us more kills for decades after!
- Marion Crane/ Janet Leigh- By far the most iconic scene in Psycho. From the chocolate syrup that was used as blood, to the sharp corner turn after the attack, it’s a very vulnerable and uncomfortable scene. Anytime the pants drop, the hairs on your neck seem to stand up. That on top of being in a motel that seemed to come out of nowhere in the storm. Some people would argue that Marion may have deserved what she got. She did steal $40,000 from her job for her boy toy Sam Loomis. What the hell is up with Janet Leigh and her daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, being connected with certain people named Samuel Loomis? Just stay away from them! … And butcher knives. Coincidence?
- Detective Milton Arbogast/ Martin Balsam- This guy was super smooth but perhaps too persistent. His career got the best of him and Norman seemed to have enough of it. When Arbogast was stabbed, he back pedaled down a staircase like his legs were his last line of defense. It was a very ‘Oh shit!’ moment. Because at this point, you know that something is up at this motel. A shadow speaks volumes in black and white films. Maybe Det. Arbogast should’ve left that one remain a silhouette. Cool kill scene.
Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates
John Gavin as Sam Loomis
Patricia Hitchcock as Caroline
Find one person that doesn’t love Psycho. I dare you. It has become synonymous with horror movies down to the sounds and tones that were used to emphasize the terror that was happening inside of the Bates Motel. The “stabbing” sound that has paralleled this suspenseful and witty film has possibly become even more popular than Psycho itself. It’s been mocked and referenced throughout modern day pop culture and lived on through generations. That is because, I believe, Psycho tapped into mankind more deeply than I think was realized in the ‘60s. Hitchcock was far beyond his time and he will always live on through his inspiring way of shooting film, his practical effects, and his compassion for the macabre. So, pull up your rocking chairs and give Psycho another glance. I promise, it will leave you… mad.
“We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven’t you?”