Monday, July 6, 2009

Summer of Hitchcock Discussion: Psycho

Summer of Hitchcock

Am I a little bit Psycho if I admit that Psycho is one of my favorite Hitchcock films? It never fails to entertain me and creep me out!

I also think it's one of his better known films if not best known.

Psycho is the story of Marion Crane who is having a love with Sam Loomis. They are unable to marry since Sam has many other financial obligations so one day, Marion steals some money from a client at her office and heads out of town. Stealing this much money is of course out of character for Marion and she is nervous and in my opinion acts really really suspicious as she makes her way. Finally, she stops in the at The Bates Motel where she meets Norman Bates. Norman Bates seems like a nice guy a little shy and perhaps a bit tied to his mother. He just gets stranger and stranger, though, especially as he spouts off lines like, "my hobby is stuffing things."

Anyway, Marion begs off and ultimately meets a grisly fate in the famous shower scene at the hands of what we believe is Norman Bates mother.

Well eventually, people notice Marion is missing and start to look for her. A private detective also meets an ugly death at the hands of Mrs. Bates and it's not until Marion's sister and Sam go looking for her that the twist is revealed...Mrs. Bates is long dead and it's been Norman all along.

I studied this film as part of a film unit in my high school Humanities class and one thing I remember from that is that Psycho is one of the first films where they really used music to build suspense. Every time I've watched it since then, I've noticed just how much music they's almost overpowering!

Also I gleaned from watching this on TCM last weekend, that the film was shot in black and white as it was suspected it would be too grisly in color. This also allowed for chocolate syrup to be used in the shower scene. Speaking of the shower scene, what do you think of the fact that Marion was killed off? Did you feel the movie lost some of its energy at that point?

I still find this film to be incredibly entertaining and creepy. I'm interested in your thoughts as well as what you think about the themes. I did learn that this was based on a book that was based on a real serial killer, Ed Gein.

Just a reminder that next week's movie is The Birds and we'll be chatting about it live on Twitter at 9 PM EST/6 PM PST. This is based on a short story by Daphne du Maurier and if you read the short story and watch the film and participate in next Monday's discussion, I'll draw a winner for a ten dollar Amazon gift card. See you then!


Sandy Nawrot said...

I do love of my favorites, right behind Rear Window! I guess I've never watched it with a critical eye, so I never felt there was any steam lost when Marion was knocked off. Myself, I wanted closure for her...for people to find out what happened to her, and that made me even more anxious. You are right about the music, this was the pioneer that birthed the likes of Halloween the Exorcist, whose music is almost larger than the movie.

Eva said...

Psycho isn't one of my very favourites, but I definitely enjoy it more than a lot of his films. :)

It's the movie that made him rich, too. The studio wanted him to tune it down, so they kept slashing his budget. In return, he invested his own money, so when it became a blockbuster, he got the profits! Isn't that interesting?

Have you ever seen Hitchcock on a talk show? He's got the best sense of humour.

Chrisbookarama said...

I think this was the first time I watched it all the way through! I knew Marion was going to die but I kept thinking, "Maybe she won't this time and Norman will turn out to be a nice guy." Yeah, right.

I didn't think it lost it's energy after Marion is killed. I wanted everyone to find out what happened to her.

bermudaonion said...

Oh, I agree this movie is totally creepy. I think it proves that you don't have to have blood and guts and loads of violence to create great suspense and tension. I can never watch Anthony Perkins in anything else without thinking of this movie.

SuziQoregon said...

Defintiely one of my all time favorites. Even when you know the end, it's still creepy and suspenseful. The more times I see it, the more I'm impressed with Anthony Perkins. He just does a brilliant job in this one.

The Hubster had never seen it and I think he was a little concerned about watching it. I told him he's probably seen just as creepy and probably gorier on an episode of CSI or Criminal Intent.

When I lived by myself I had to have a shower curtain that I could see through just because of this movie.

Lori L said...

I didn't think the film lost any energy after Marion was killed. It had already changed into a different movie with a different focus when she checked in and met Norman. I thought Hitchcock handled the transition of having the audience now feel sympathy for Norman brilliantly.
Psycho isn't one of my favorite Hitchcock films, but watching it again, after you already know the story, really helps you see his brilliance as a director.

Amee said...

This one is definitely creepy! I saw it for the first time last year and totally didn't realize Norman was Mrs. Bates! I truly thought she was her own person even knowing the basics about the movie before I saw it. :P

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