Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at 7:17AM
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.