Psycho

Film , Horror
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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Where would we be without ‘Psycho’? Fifty years on and Hitch’s delicious cod-Freudian nightmare about a platinum-blonde embezzler (Janet Leigh) who neglected to consult a guide before selecting her motel still has much to answer for. It blazed a bloody trail for the much-loved slasher cycle, but it also assured us that a B-movie could be A-grade in quality and innovation. It dared to suggest that your star didn’t need to surface from an ordeal smelling of roses (or, indeed, at all). It combined a knife, a scream, a melon, some chocolate sauce,

Bernard Herrmann’s greatest score and more than 70 edits to push the envelope of screen violence. It lent ‘The Simpsons’ some of its best gags: (Seymour Skinner: ‘Oh there’s Mother now, watching me. What’s that, Mother? That sailor suit doesn’t fit any more!’). It offers perfect case studies of suspense, paranoia and montage for lazy film-studies tutors. And, of course, it was the first movie to show a toilet flushing, so we might also credit it with spawning the entire gross-out genre. ‘Psycho’: we salute you.

Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Thursday June 16 1960
Duration: 109 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Screenwriter: Joseph Stefano
Cast: Anthony Perkins
Janet Leigh
Vera Miles
John Gavin
Martin Balsam
John McIntire
Simon Oakland
John Anderson

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Average User Rating

3.9 / 5

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jutney
Tastemaker

Although you can point out some dated scenes or ideas, it still thrilling, scary and beautifully filmed. I’d recommend watching it in the theatre. After having watched Hitchcock/Truffaut, even better: you can truly appreciate how each camera movement, each visual cue enriches the experience, heighten the fear; you realise how the choices of this genius director controls our expectations, making it ‘the’ classic horror film. 

I had extra fun watching with someone who (how’s that possible?!) didn’t have any idea of the story (besides the ubiquitous shower scene).  You can only imagine what it meant when it was first released!

Magmabulle

The horror movie to which all other horror movies are compared. It is suspense and well-made, although maybe not as frightening as it was fifty years ago.