5.0 out of 5 stars The "Mother" of all horror films
An undisputed classic, PSYCHO is the mother of all horror films. Released in 1960, the master's most macarbe film was seen by audiences as tasteless and vulgar, now, 42 years later, it's seen as one of the great lessons in suspense. As Hitchcock himself once put it, "The trick is to pull the rug out from people's feet". Indeed, in what other film before or after do we see...
Published on Aug 28 2002 by Kristy M. Ross
3.0 out of 5 stars Psycho Review
.In the beginning of the film "Psycho," by Alfred Hitchcock, was a film that didn't catch my attention. The film seemed to be moving by with out a lot of excitement in the start and really felt as if it was getting no where. Astonishingly towards the end of the film I found myself getting into the movie and realized that it had some great suspense.
Published on Mar 22 2004
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5.0 out of 5 stars The "Mother" of all horror films,
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Of The Best,
Well, he started with the novel by Robert Bloch, a cast including Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins <whose career might has well ended after "I wouldn't even hurt a fly" and who wasn't even PRESENT during the shower shot as he was finishing a play in New York while that sequence was being filmed>, Martin Balsam, Vera Miles, and John Gavin <who actually goes beyond "b" in the emoting alphabet>. And then Alfred Hitchcock takes over, and makes a "slasher" film into an unparalelled work of cinema noir classicism, setting the standard by which all succeeding films will be measured, and typically fall short.
I remember seeing this movie in a theatre, and not taking a shower for weeks thereafter.
Buy it. Turn out the lights. Don't get up, watch it straight through. If you can breathe when Simon Oakland gives the denoument, you are permitted a medal. But you've been thoroughly scared. . .
If not, well. . . you don't know good film-making when you see it. And it "PSYCHO", you're hit over the head with it. It's a masterpiece.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Movie That Cut Movie History In Half,
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This restoration is worthy of Criterion,
This review is from: Psycho (50th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)***Spoilers within***
VC-1 | 1080p | 1.85:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English: DTS-HD 2.0
French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
English SDH, Cantonese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin (traditional), Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish
Single 50GB Blu-ray disc, region free
Alfred Hitchcock directed 67 titles, including more than 50 movies, but most people would rank Psycho among his five best works. It's certainly one of his most influential.
The marketing for the movie was clever and audiences were refused admission after the show had started. Hitchcock wanted them to experience the story from start to finish. He also urged people that had seen it to avoid spoiling it for others. I mention that because I don't want to spoil the experience for you. It's 50 years old, so the following comments contain spoilers and assume that you have seen the movie. If you haven't, please stop reading now and remedy the situation as soon as possible.
Psycho might seem a bit tame by today's standards. It was shot in black and white to lessen the impact of seeing the blood. The murders appeared brutal through the clever cuts and camera angles rather than explicitly showing flesh being cut. As with all of Hitchcock's work, what you imagine in your own mind is more frightening than what you see on the screen. To truly appreciate the impact of the movie, imagine what had gone before when this was originally released.
Without Psycho, we may never have seen franchises like Friday the 13th, Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Saw. But unlike some of those mentioned, Psycho isn't remotely humorous. The reason is that Norman Bates, or someone like him, could exist. That's the most frightening thing about the movie. Compare it to Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker for instance. The Dark Knight is elevated above every other superhero movie because it could happen.
Hitchcock uses misdirection effectively by opening the movie as if it is a romance. Marion Crane, played by Janet Leigh, meets her lover and the audience assumes that she is the focus of the story. We see her steal the money and flee the city. The camera hints at her thought processes without the use of narration or dialogue, and we see her nervous reaction to harmless encounters. It's a fascinating look at how people change under stress.
Crane eventually needs to stop for the night and we are introduced to Norman Bates and the Bates motel. The story still focuses on Crane's character, but changes dramatically after Bates attacks her in the infamous shower scene. This is usually the first scene that comes to mind when thinking about Psycho, and it's a shame in a way. The movie is so much more than a simple murder.
The plot switches as people start to wonder what happened to Crane, leading to a second murder. We then realize that Norman Bates is the true focus of the story. He's brilliantly portrayed by Anthony Perkins and appears familiar when we first meet him. He's shy around women and outwardly calm, but he's clearly nervous when under pressure.
Until the revelations near the end, Hitchcock cleverly lets us think that the mother exists. In a way I suppose she does. This is a sad story and Bates becomes a character we can pity. If you think things through from his point of view, his actions make sense. Wouldn't you cover up a crime committed by someone you love? There many layers to the story and several different ways to appreciate it.
The initial setup uses well-established Hitchcock techniques and themes. He misdirects us and uses suspense. The initial focus of the story, Marion Crane, is a woman on the run. Because she's in that situation, she becomes more interesting to us. The $40,000 she steals is a MacGuffin that serves no purpose other than to give Crane's character a reason for her actions.
Everything flows smoothly and the pacing is effective. It's hard to be bored even for a second. The term masterpiece is overused, but Psycho qualifies.
The universal VC-1 transfer is region free and very pleasing. Detail is excellent and instances of dirt on the image are infrequent. Even though the presentation is in black and white, the upgrade is definitely warranted. Detail is incredible throughout. Take for instance the shot of Marion Crane's eye as she lies dead in the shower.
One of the special features goes into a detailed explanation of how the audio track was converted to 5.1 and the results are satisfying. Ambient sounds, such as rain, greatly enhance the feeling that you are immersed in the story. Dialogue is clear and Bernard Herrmann's score has never sounded better. For the purists, the original audio track is included. Check the beginning of this review for full details of languages and subtitles included on the disc.
Remastering Psycho HD
The making of Psycho
In the master's shadow: Hitchcock's legacy
Newsreel footage: the release of Psycho
The shower scene: with and without music
The shower sequence: storyboards by Saul Bass
The Psycho archives
Posters and Psycho ads
Behind the scenes photographs
Psycho theatrical trailer
Psycho re-release trailers
Feature commentary with Stephen Rebello, author of 'Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho'
The 'making of' feature is fascinating and you'll love it if you are an admirer of the movie. With interviews from many of the original cast, the 95 minutes passes quickly and leaves you with a better understanding of how the movie was made.
The extensive features cover just about everything and it's nice to hear Hitchcock talk about some of the issues that he faced at the time.
This Blu-ray looks exceptional and the package is worthy of a Criterion release. I only hope that all of Hitchcock's important movies are given similar treatment.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Has Made Many People Afraid To Take A Shower!!!,
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping Melodrama at Local Motel,
This review is from: Psycho (VHS Tape)VARIOUS OBSERVATIONS
Psycho is a nightmare film. Not because it is scary - because it isn't particularly frightening. It is deeply unsettling, perhaps, more than scary. ''The Birds'' left me in shivers; this one only left me with deep elusive emotions and the memory of Norman's maniacal, psychotic smile at the close of the film, an image which almost twelve hours later has not left me. Any more than has ''Mother's'' voice. I suppose this film is a study: a disturbing, but true look into the human nature. We all could be psycho killers if we had been in his place, and although we cringe at the horror and sickness of Norman's twisted mind and split personality, we find it hard to despise him.
Norman Bates looks at first glance as innocent as anyone - he is really quite ordinary. Who would suspect he is a maniac scizophrenic? After all, practically anyone can acquire the aggravating habit of continuous candy corn consumption, or be twittery and stuttering, or look creepy in certain lights. But the moment the illumined ''Bates Motel'' sign comes into view through the weeping night, it is an edgy feeling that crawls over the viewer. But why? The cabins are no different from many others; in fact they are quite charming. Still, a peculiar air seems to be pervading the place, an air of dread, uncertainty and darkness. Not only the darkness of the hour, but of the mind. Perhaps it is the old house that stands guard of the cabins which is so menacing; perhaps she is protective of them. She looks as though she could reach out and destroy anything which threatened the solitude and silence of those twelve vacancies.
Mother's room is heavy, oppressive in its ornateness and antiquity. The imprint she left on the bed direct's one's mind - rather unsettlingly - to the thought of those plaster casts made from the hollows left by the victims of Pompeii. Trapped for years, perhaps, leaving a mark that will take many more years to efface. Norman's room is suggestive of the child he still is. His life as Norman ended at five, after all. When did he have a chance to grow up? At five his father died, and Norman began his long slow descent into madness. His toys have never been taken out of the place. The record in the player is Beethoven's ''Eroica'': powerful music, almost light at times, frightfully aggressive at other moments. The motive goes in circles, first loudly, then softly, sometimes overlapping, never really reaching a resolution until the slamming close.
Mother Bates herself isn't all that frightening. I expect we are too desensitised by this time - after all, one see hundreds of such masks and worse at Hallowe'en time. No matter how revolting they may be, such things no longer frighten us as they would have done the general public in 1960. Lila touches her shoulder; the corpse turns about - eyeless, all smile and teeth and grey hair and shawl. When Norman comes in, looking ridiculous and far too tall in Mother's dressing-gown and wig, and is taken over by Sam, Mother rocks peacefully, the eternal smile fixed. The light bulb as it swings gives a weird shadow effect. Where Mother's eyes should be, the shadows play back and forth as if she is glancing from side to side - laughing at what she sees, laughing at the destruction she has helped to create.
I would say everyone should see this film at least once, for the experience. It is well-done and thought-provoking, with much more depth than the cheap horror flicks of today. This is a real situation, this could actually happen (only let's hope not very much). I know a Bates Motel. I've never been in it. Perhaps someday I'll go check it out, but I think I'll stay out of the shower.
5.0 out of 5 stars Alfred Hitchcock's famous movie,
This review is from: Psycho (50th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)I think the original version of Psycho is excellent because it is Alfred Hitchcock's famous movie. This is even terrific to see this original version on blu-ray. I can assure you that this is the blu-ray for anyone. If you saw the video tape or DVD version, you should stick to the blu-ray version.
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of the ultimate mama's boy!!!,
This review is from: Psycho (Special Edition) (Universal Legacy Series) (DVD)XXXXX
Early in this movie the viewer is told that a boy's best friend is his mother. Is this true??
This movie is a suspense/horror/the first psychoanalytic thriller directed by the "master of suspense" himself, Alfred Hitchcock. It is based on the novel "Psycho" by Robert Bloch, which in turn was inspired by the crimes of Wisconsin murderer Ed Gein.
Briefly, this film depicts the encounter between secretary Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) who is hiding in a motel after embezzling from her employer, and the motel's owner, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), and the aftermath of their encounter.
Look for Hitchcock's traditional cameo that appears early in the story. (Note that it is difficult to find.)
The now famous motel mentioned in the summary above is called the "Bates Motel." It's sign is first seen just over 24 minutes into the movie. We learn later that business is bad at the Bates' Motel since it has "12 cabins, 12 vacancies."
About 28 minutes into the movie, we encounter Norman Bates. He lives with his mean, emotionally unstable, possessive, invalid mother in a now famous sinister-looking house (dubbed the Bates' Mansion) on top of a hill near the motel. His hobby: taxidermy (that is, "stuffing things."). He also stutters when under pressure.
This movie has several scenes that are legendary but perhaps the most famous is the shower scene. It occurs 46 minutes into the movie. This unforgettable scene took seven days to film and required about seventy camera set-ups. It lasts three minutes.
The performance given by Anthony Perkins (as Norman Bates) is incredible. Janet Leigh (as Marion Crane) also gives a decent performance. In fact, both performances were so good that they both suffered from typecasting after this movie was released. (Also look for Hitchcock's daughter Patricia and Ted Knight, best known for "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," in bit parts.)
This movie is open to many interpretations especially psychoanalytic ones. For example, the Bates' Mansion has three floors paralleling the three levels that psychoanalysis attributes to the human mind: (1) superego (first floor) (2) ego (ground floor) (3) id (basement).
The background music is incredible. It effectively adds to each scene.
This movie had four Academy Award nominations. It also spawned several sequels and a remake, all of which are generally seen as works of lesser quality.
Finally, the DVD itself (the one released Oct. 2008) is perfect in picture and sound quality. It has many interesting extras.
In conclusion, you have to see this movie to see why it's regarded as one of Hitchcock's best films and highly praised as a work of cinematic art by international critics!!
(1960; 1 hr, 50 min; wide screen; black and white; 27 scenes)
<<Stephen Pletko, London, Ontario, Canada>>
4.0 out of 5 stars "We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven't you?",
The main character is Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), a beautiful blonde that makes an enormous mistake in a moment of weakness. Marion steals a lot of money from her boss, and drives away in order to meet her unsuspecting boyfriend. Alas, she makes an even bigger mistake in the way, stopping at the "Bates motel". What is hidden there? And will she get out alive?
All in all, this is an excellent movie, the kind of film all are you are likely to enjoy (unless you absolutely hate any kind of scary movie). Even if you are not partial to black and white films, give "Psycho" a chance, it deserves it! Highly recommended :)
PS: Pay attention to the bonus features, and try to watch "The Making of Psycho". It is long, but more than worth your time.
4.0 out of 5 stars Psycho: A Deeper Slash (with no spoilers),
Marion Crane was inwardly bitter of the fact that she could not marry her boyfriend Sam Loomis due to his financial woes. At her job with the real estate office, Marion's resentment was pushed further when an overbearing client boasted to her of the $40,000 home he was purchasing as a present for HIS daughter's wedding. After blatantly waving the $40,000 bankroll in Marion's face, he dropped it on her desk and beckoned her to "count 'em!" It was a demonstration he would later regret. Acting on a romantic notion, and perhaps also a spiteful impulse to punish the obnoxious client, Marion absconded with his money in an attempt to create a new life for herself and Sam.
The scene of a lifeless, colorless desert hung on the wall behind Marion's desk. When she left her office for the last time (with the client's money), the scene of a lush, colorful paradise behind a VACANT desk was shown right before the disolve. Those were symbolic of Marion's virtual escape or transition from her drab existence as an unhappy single secretary to her much prefered lifestyle with Sam as a happily married wife and mother; safe and financially secure on their own "private island."
On the run, Marion became lost in a rainstorm. A lighted sign in the distance announced the Bates motel. She decided to stay there for the night and wait-out the storm. Marion was brutally murdered at this motel and her body cleverly disposed of in a seemingly routine fashion.
Interesting Psycho Fact #1: Mr. Cassidy, whose money Marion stole, uttered the rather uncharacteristic phrase "Hot Creepers" in reaction to the news of the theft. That sounded more like the vernacular someone such as Beaver Cleaver would have used to express astonishment than that of the shrewed, free-wheeling, man-of-the-world Cassidy.
Interesting Psycho Fact #2: At home, as Marion packed suitcases for her fateful journey, her shower, complete with flowered curtain, was visibly looming in the background like an ironic premonition.
Marion was a somewhat sexy and sophisticated blonde number whom Norman Bates took an immediate liking to. She was quite fascinating to him - fatally fascinating, and as things turned-out she became "Norman's fatal blonde." She was a good-looking number all right, but an UNLUCKY number just the same.
When the police finally pulled Marion's Ford from the swamp, even before they could pry open the trunk, one of the first things they probably did was to scrape the mud off of the license plates in order to positively identify the vehicle. Marion's plates were NFB 418. If they had read the letters and added-up the numbers correctly, the contents of the trunk would have been foretold: NFB = Norman's Fatal Blonde - Marion. 4 + 1 + 8 = 13, an unlucky number - Marion.
Interesting Psycho Fact #3: For a guy that had as much to conceal in his home as Norman Bates did, he never seemed to be too concerned about keeping the front door locked.
Enter Lila Crane, Marion's sister. She arrived at the Bates motel with the intention of searching for any and all possible clues to Marion's disappearance. Lila eyeballed Norman suspiciously while registering in his office, when he smiled at her she could barely bring herself to reciprocate. Lila was a gutsy woman who didn't like to take "no" for an answer; "no," however, seemed to be a favorite reply of Norman's mother, Mrs. Bates. It would have made for an interesting confrontation had Lila been able to question Mrs. Bates as Lila had planned.
Interesting Psycho Fact #4: While in Norman's bedroom, Lila was drawn to a book that had no title on its cover or spine. She opened the book and saw something inside that interested her, we were not shown the page, only Lila's expressionless face. What was the book? What did she see in it?
Lila was almost murdered after finding Mrs. Bates, and the last we saw of Norman, he was sitting in a room at the county courthouse. Look closely at the cop standing by the door of the room, it was future TV star Ted Knight.
Theater-goers in 1960 had never experienced anything like Psycho before, it was the first of its kind, and like a recurring nightmare, its images and sounds would continue to haunt them LONG after the curtains closed and the house lights went up.
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Psycho (50th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray] by Alfred Hitchcock (Blu-ray - 2010)
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