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Happy 50th Anniversary, 'Psycho'

You might want to watch Psycho tonight. It's the 50th anniversary of Hitchcock's classic, the godfather of the modern horror film. It's a little dismissive to just give it credit in that department, because it set quite a few standards.

Alfred Hitchcock self-financed it, costing him about $800,000, because Paramount was understandably afraid of the content. Remember, this was 1959, 1960. The trick of killing off the heroine early was uncommon, as well.

Then you have the physical elements of the film, from the shower scene to Bernard Herrmann's unmistakable score to Anthony Perkins' undoubtedly creepy portrayal of Norman Bates. Oh, and matricide. Not a lot of that popping up in the age of Pillow Talk. Some have said it was the first real psychoanalytic thriller, although it's easier to just put it in Hitchcockian context as his likely his last of many classics.

We discussed the 50th anniversary Blu-ray, which isn't out yet, nor will it be available for quite a while. That's actually coming in October. Hopefully you have the film in your collection already. But if you want some supplemental information about the making of the film - it's probably the most complete and digestible Psycho analysis I've ever read - pick up Stephen Rebello's Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho. I bought it in college way back in what we call "the early 1990s" and have gone back to it several times, for reference and entertainment.

Good planning: Rebello's book - with a newer cover than the copy I've basically hollowed out by now - is available as an e-book today from Open Road Media. Give it a read. Watch the movie. And be careful in the shower.

Reader Comments (13)

Good article except I'm pretty sure it was Anthony Perkins that played Bates not Hopkins. (Or was that suppose to be a joke I just didn't get?)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterD

No...that was the power of suggestion. He was on in the background when I wrote the article.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 | Registered CommenterGet The Big Picture

I've always found it interesting how Hitchcock used chocolate syrup rather than artificial blood for the famous shower scene. With Psycho's budget only being $800,000, you would think there would be more b-horrors like the ones in Fangoria frightfest having success nowadays.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStiner42

Psycho is easily one of the greatest horror movies of all time! I had no idea Hitchcock had funded the movie himself... I checked out the Fangoria movies, some of them look interesting... I added them to my netflix que for when they come out.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJimbone

Psycho is at least my #1 favorite horror film of all time. Period! I'm definitely gonna take a look at these other films on Blockbuster. Especially Pig Hunt or Dark House. I wanna be scared for once in my life.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCornballin11

This article reminded me of what I read in the trailer for "Catfish." Some critic had made some Hitchcock comment and that made me think the talk in Hollywood about a remake of The Birds. Hollywood needs to walk away from this idea that in order to make money you need remakes or sequels, start creating horror films like the Frightfest films (for ex. Pig Hunt, The Haunting, Road Kill, etc.) that just came out on Netflix.

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