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Thriller, Mystery, Horror
IMDB rating:
Alfred Hitchcock


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Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates
Vera Miles as Lila Crane
John Gavin as Sam Loomis
Martin Balsam as Milton Arbogast
John McIntire as Deputy Sheriff Al Chambers
Simon Oakland as Dr. Fred Richmond
Vaughn Taylor as George Lowery
Frank Albertson as Tom Cassidy
Lurene Tuttle as Mrs. Chambers
Patricia Hitchcock as Caroline
John Anderson as California Charlie
Mort Mills as Highway Patrol Officer
Psycho Storyline: Phoenix officeworker Marion Crane is fed up with the way life has treated her. She has to meet her lover Sam in lunch breaks and they cannot get married because Sam has to give most of his money away in alimony. One Friday Marion is trusted to bank $40,000 by her employer. Seeing the opportunity to take the money and start a new life, Marion leaves town and heads towards Sam's California store. Tired after the long drive and caught in a storm, she gets off the main highway and pulls into The Bates Motel. The motel is managed by a quiet young man called Norman who seems to be dominated by his mother.
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This is what good movies are all about.
This is one of the best movies ever created and Alfred Hitchcock is one of the most intriguing film makers ever to live. (in my opinion) There's just so much to say about this film I hardly know where to start.

I first saw this movie about five years ago and wasn't impressed at all. Of course, I was about ten years old at the time. I didn't think that the famous shower scene was anything to frightening and the characters seemed a little boring. A little less than a year ago, I became very interested in the history of the film and not so much of the film itself. I read articles, reviews, anything that I could get my hands on. Then, Psycho was shown on AMC and I immediately thought that it was a masterpiece. Shame on me for not appreciating it sooner.

The film as a whole is spectacular, but I like to break it down into little sections. First, I was very surprised and impressed with the actors that played Marion Crane and Norman Bates. Janet Leigh isn't given to much exposure to the film since she is killed off in about the middle of it. I thought that she did a good but not great job. On the other hand, Anthony Perkins blew me away. Both Norman and Anthony are very interesting. Norman's life that is set up and shown to us is so well depicted that I can't imagine anybody else playing the part. All of the characters including Arbogast, Lila, and Sam are so well created.

Obviously, the plot is so unique and odd that you can't help but smile at it. A young woman on the run after stealing $40,000, and then accidentally falls into the wrong hands of a psychopath. It's great! The best thing is that nobody has ever done anything quite like it, and they won't be able to because then the magic will be gone.

Even though the ever so famous shower scene is said to be one of the most chilling death scenes in history, I think that it may be a little overrated. I love it as much as the next person, but it's not all that scary. Who said it was supposed to be scary? Nobody, I know. But the majority of the Psycho audience gathers it to be very frightening. I do still think that it is one of the greatest and shocking scenes ever.

The setting is very well set up as well. The Bates motel and house is so cleverly created that it brings a special atmosphere to the audience. It has something about it that you just can't forget.

Finally, that music played throughout the film is one of the most spookiest sounds I have ever heard. Great job to the music composers and to Hitchcock for this scary addition to the movie.

I think it's safe to say that everybody has heard of Psycho, but not everyone has seen it. For those of you who still haven't seen this amazing flick, go see it! It's a must see.
I Didn't Think It Lived Up To Its Reputation
"Psycho" has gone down in Hollywood history as one of the greatest of horror movies, and even if you've never seen it (which I hadn't until today) you still feel a certain connection to the movie just on the basis of its reputation. That in itself can be a problem, because you're expecting a lot when you watch it for the first time. Unfortunately, for me at least, this didn't quite live up to its billing. It was a good movie, Alfred Hitchcock did a good job of directing with a number of what are today recognized as typical "Hitckcock-ian" touches, particularly with some very effective camera work, and basically the cast, headed by Anthony Perkins as motel owner Norman Bates and supported by Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin and Martin Balsam (I would say in that order of importance to the story) did a fine job. Still, I was expecting something more.

First, I would call this more of a suspense movie with a touch of slasher movie thrown in than a horror movie, although that's admittedly through a modern lens. There are really only a couple of scenes that were "horrific" - one being the famous shower scene and one being the revelation of Norman's mother near the end of the movie. Otherwise you get a mystery - with the end surprise being fairly clearly telegraphed to anyone who was paying attention. The suspense starts with Marion (Leigh) stealing a large sum of money from the real estate agency where she works and running off, eventually coming to the Bates Motel to spend the night. Since the murder in the shower is the classic scene of the movie, you don't expect it to come as early as it does, and you don't expect that so much of the movie is going to revolve around Lila (Miles) and Sam (Gavin) as they search for Marion. Somehow, I expected to see more of Janet Leigh. Still, there is good suspense even if the surprise about Norman's mother is pretty clear from even a mile away.

What knocked this down a bit for me, though, wasn't the obvious solution to the mystery. It was the seeming need to offer a very in depth psychological explanation near the end of what Norman was all about. Maybe there was a sense that movie-goers in 1960 would need such an explanation. I found what was virtually a closing soliloquy (and a very long one) by Simon Oakland playing a psychiatrist who's called in to examine Norman to be tedious in the extreme, and largely unnecessary; filled with psycho-babble. Norman could have been explained - if an explanation was felt necessary - much more succinctly.

One can't diss this movie. There's really very little wrong with it, except that its reputation makes it very hard for it to live up to when you watch it. Undoubtedly, when watched with late 20th-21st century eyes (well conditioned to the point of being almost oblivious to slasher-type violence) it comes across as a bit dull, frankly. Equally undoubtedly, it didn't come across that way to audiences in 1960. Still, I found it to be a little bit of a letdown compared to what I was expecting of it. (6/10)
Timing, Hitchcock made it special.
In reading the comments of some, I think that to have seen Hitchcock's Psycho when it opened in '60, is to fully understand its impact today. It was a masterpiece then and remains a masterpiece today. Superior direction and camera work, and as one person commented, the film was released at a time when [psychological] monsters in the form of the "boy next door," was not explored in films. Yes, Psycho started slow by today's standards, but the style back then was to move from the pleasant familiar to the darkest of horrors. Hitchcock understood how to create atmosphere and mood. His shower scene, while some today wonder what the hoopla is all about, set a standard of horror in an ordinary setting. How many films have copied this scene? I remember as a kid, fearing showers and hotels after seeing this flick. Hitchcock reportedly said that it was a good thing he didn't place Crane on the toilet (sic), or people would have a phobia about toilets. Ironically, in Psycho 3 (?), a character was killed while on the toilet. The remake of two years ago sucked--big time. Hitchcock's Psycho not only had the master at the helm, but it was also a matter of timing in cinema history. Those elements cannot be duplicated.
"Television has brought murder back into the home - where it belongs." - Alfred Hitchcock
"Television has brought murder back into the home - where it belongs." - Alfred Hitchcock

I am often asked what my favorite film of all time is. My reply is always the same: I do not have a favorite from all the genres. But from the thousands of films I have seen, I have not seen a film more horrifying nor terrifying as Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho," the only movie that has ever truly scared me in my entire life. And so I can honestly say that "Psycho" is the scariest film I have ever seen, and is quite probably my favorite horror film of all time.

This is the movie that redefined the genre, and literally gave birth to psychological thrillers. By today's standards, "Psycho" may seem - at the most - tame. Audiences may not be scared by the plot anymore - a plot that was, at the time, unlike anything other, but nowadays quite normal. Gus Van Sant remade Hitchcock's classic in 1998 with both critics and audiences blowing it off. Modern audiences of today are used to slashers such as "Halloween," "Friday the 13th," "A Nightmare on Elm Street," "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," etc., and so Van Sant's "Psycho" did nothing but disappoint them. But I guarantee that if you place modern audiences in front of Hitchcock's "Psycho," they will come out of the film terrified to death (like I was when I first saw it).

Why is this? It is simply because modern audiences don't expect such creepiness and evilness to be in a 1960 film. Most modern audiences think that "Star Wars" (1977) was the start of motion picture history, that anything beforehand is stupid, cheery and not worth their time. They will go into Hitchcock's "Psycho" and expect a happy little picture, which is why they will come out pale with fear.

It all comes down to the fact that in 1960, mainstream films did not have such subject matters as split personality disorder (seen in this year's "Identity"), figures with homicidal tendencies (like John Doe in "Se7en"), or characters who are literally insane (like Hannibal Lector-type-criminals). "Psycho" set the course for these films. It blew audiences out of the water. They had never seen anything like it before. It is probably the only film that has ever really, truly scared me to death. I didn't want to take showers for weeks.

Hitchcock once said, "Cartoonists have the best casting system. If they don't like an actor, they just tear him up." I'm glad Hitchcock didn't try to tear up Anthony Perkins, who plays Norman Bates in "Psycho," as a shy, awkward fellow living off of a re-routed highway. He is perfectly cast and soundly directed by Hitchcock, coming off as a somewhat strange, implacable fellow. We aren't quite sure what to make of him.

Phoenix banker Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) is a poor creature living off of practically nothing. She wants to get married to Sam Loomis (John Gavin), but the costs of a wedding outweigh both their incomes. And so one night when her employer entrusts Marion with 40,000 dollars, she flees with the money in the back of her car to go find Sam. However, tired from a long drive, she stops at the Bates Motel for the night. She never leaves the motel, because Norman Bates' reclusive mother becomes jealous of Marion and kills her. Or does she?

Hitchcock masterfully weaves the suspense and horror in "Psycho," so much so that we simply do not know what to think until everything unravels towards the end. The infamous shower scene remains one of the most impressive and wonderful segments in all motion picture history, ranking up there with the unveiling of Harry Lime in "The Third Man," the revelation by Darth Vader in "Star Wars," and one of my personal favorites, the part in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" when Neal Page and Del Griffith wake up in bed entangled with each other. ("Those aren't pillows!")

I think that the anticipation of fear, or the insinuation of something sinister lurking behind a shadowed doorway, is much scarier than blood and guts. Freddy Krueger does not scare some people. Modern horror films tell us what we are supposed to fear, whereas films such as "Psycho" leave the images up to us. Not every person may leave a Jason Voorhees movie scared. Everyone will leave "Psycho" scared. Because as our mind tries to place a face on the fear, our mind incorporates our very fears into the image.

Alfred Hitchcock is undoutedly one of the greatest and most influential film directors in the history of motion pictures. He can create suspense like no other and he can make even the simplest story the most nail-biting, terrifying picture of all time. I recently purchased a DVD with four of Hitchcock's early British films from the thirties, including "The 39 Steps" and "The Lady Vanishes." Hitchcock's sense of solid suspense can be felt even in those early films. He is, quite simply, the master of suspense. Is it no wonder he has gained the exact reputation as mentioned?

Some films land on greatness and don't always deserve their reputation quite so much as everyone seems to think so. "Psycho" is not such a film. Here is a movie that bent and broke every set rule of film making for the time, and changed the course of horror films for the better. The nineties have shown a return to the classic horror/mystery/thriller mix of Hitchcock and Agatha Christie. Here is the granddaddy of them all. Here is the best horror film ever made.

5/5 stars.

- John Ulmer
Perkins Is Remarkable
Most modern-day horror films make the killer to be an absolutely inhuman, grotesque, unimaginable monster in order to scare the audience out of its wits. Most of the time, however, these stereotypes create a generic murderer a raving, ranting, clearly demented psychopath. One of the few memorable cinematic killers that does not adhere to these restraints and cliches is, of course, Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter, whom manages to effectively cause the audience to recoil without such drek as the aforementioned devices.

Anthony Perkins' skillfully crafts his performance as Norman Bates, avoiding a ranting, raving, drooling, murder-happy, manic characterization; instead his performance as Norman is subtle, creepy, cool, and unsettling. He is brilliant; from his quiet conversations with Marion Crane amidst the stuffed birds, to his weasling wimpiness when confronted by Arbogast, his performance is so exact that it chills the viewer, all without the unnecessary disturbing images prevalent in more modern films (read The Cell, Henry: Portrait of A Serial Killer).

Perkin's fine performance, a tight script, and Bernstein's classic score make Psycho a film that is now and will always be remembered as one of the pinnacles of the horror genre.
a classic, but hardly Hitch's best
The first time I saw this film I was quite disappointed. So much of it has become cliché in the four decades since its release, including the famous shower scene, Perkins' oedipal relationship with his mother, and even Bernard Herrmann's unsettling score. I had known the identity of Perkins' "mother" even before I saw the film and had to be told by a sibling that the audience was not supposed to be aware of this up to the last. It was like knowing the punch line in advance and not really getting the joke once it was actually told. It is, to be sure, a tribute to Hitchcock that this film has become so much a part of North American popular culture, but the downside is that the element of shock that so affected audiences back in 1960 is almost entirely lost on a later generation of viewers. One thus has to imagine what it would have been like to see it during its first run in the movie theatres.

Had I been there at its opening, I think I would still have judged this film to be inferior to the string of excellent Hitchcock offerings preceding it during the previous decade–from "Strangers on a Train" to "North by Northwest." Why? So much of his previous work had relied on the use of suspense to draw the viewers into the plot. A good thriller builds this up carefully and deliberately until the final climax at or near the end of the film. Good suspense leaves much unstated and works its way subtly into the imagination. It's what you don't see that's the scariest. Think, for example, of the murder in "Rear Window." You hear a crash and a short, shrill scream followed by ominous silence, but you're not really sure what's happened until much later. Here, on the other hand, Hitch kills off his heroine brutally near the beginning of the film, leaving little if anything to the imagination, and largely putting aside the issues we had been misled to think the plot was building up to.

Moreover, despite Hitch's tongue-in-cheek claim that he had intended it as a comedy, there is little of the director's famous humour so much in evidence in the immediately preceding film, "North by Northwest." There is not much humour to be found in shock, while there is great humorous potential in suspense. He should have stuck with suspense and left shock to a lesser director.

I alluded to Herrmann's score. Without it, I think this would have been judged a far less effective film and less the classic it is generally reputed to be. Imagine Leigh driving along the highway without the composer's jittery music in the background–or, perhaps more accurately, the foreground. In such scenes it is the music that almost entirely creates the suspenseful atmosphere. Without it there is nothing of the sort–just Leigh driving and looking in her rear view mirror. Period. Not very scary.

Is it a classic then? It is, insofar as it influenced a whole generation of movie-goers and film makers who sought to imitate it. But on its own merits, I don't think so.
Truly the original horror movie of all times .
Psycho , Alfred Hitchcock's classic about a guy and his mother is the movie that is at the origin of all horror movies ever made . It is truly an experience to live !!!!!!!!!!!!

The music has a great part in this movie .

Anthony Perkins is the ultimate psychopath ever !!! He and his "mother " are the best killer duo ever produced.

The new version is good but not quite as great as the original.

Still I urge all movie lovers to see it , whether it's the original or the new version , GO SEE THIS ULTIMATE EXPERIENCE!!!
Brilliant Classic!
It's hard to think of a thriller more well known than Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho! Unfortunately the films popularity may spoil the shock value. Upon seeing the film for the first time I thought knowing the outcome may make the experience less enjoyable. This was not the case! I now see why Psycho is considered masterpiece! Hitchcock is a master of suspense. As the film begins, the plot immediately makes the audience uncomfortable. As Marion Crane makes off with the money, I had no idea what would happen next. Hitchcock adds in various ideas that lead me astray and even stress me out. When the police officer was questioning Marion and began to follow her, I felt her anxiety. Also when she was rushing the car salesmen I felt uneasy. This is great film-making. The emotions that Hitchcock draws out don't exactly correspond with the direct plot. After all we haven't even met the infamous Norman Baits yet and already I am on the edge of my seat with anticipation.

We arrive at Baits Motel as the rising action rolls into the main plot. What an astounding actor Anthony Perkins is! Perfect casting for a psychopathic mamma's boy! He is an actor that truly understands his role. When he peers through the hole in the wall, spying on Marion you can almost tell the moment when the mother personality clicks on. The only thing that I could have found more satisfying would have been if we saw Norman doing his mothers voice.

I love Hitchcock's style. When Marion was stopped by the police officer the way he shot the actors close-up really gave me the impression of invaded personal space and added to my discomfort. He also had great techniques for moving the camera into may different positions without cutting. When the camera follows Norman Bates up the stairs to his mothers room the camera does a 360 as it climes and we are left with the perspective of a bug on the wall.

Psycho is a classic horror/thriller that I will watch again. It provides an outstanding cast and fantastic cinematography. The timeless score that accompanies the film could not be any better.
Hitchcock at his scariest
"Psycho", the Hitchcock masterpiece of 1960, is still a scary ride. TCM presented it on Halloween night, which was an appropriate way to add to all the horror being shown on television.

As the film opens, we are treated to Saul Bass' titles that herald some of what one is expecting will come in the film. Then, one hears the magnificent opening bars of Bernard Herrmann's music score and one realizes this is not an ordinary movie. The crisp black and white cinematography by John Russell, as well as the intelligent editing by George Tomasini, surpass any doubt this was one of Alfred Hitchcock's best work. Of course, the film owes a debt to Joseph Stefano who adapted the Robert Bloch novel, in which the movie is based, with great flair.

"Psycho" works because of the wonderful cast assembled for the movie. Anthony Perkins was an actor who could play anything. His range was enormous, as he shows in the film. His Norman Bates shows a man that appears to be in complete control of himself. We watch him as he begins to unravel when confronted first by Arbogast, and then by Sam Loomis. Mr. Perkins' performance is one of the best he ever gave in his film career.

Janet Leigh who plays Marion Crane is perfect as the small would be criminal who happens to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time. It's a tribute to Ms. Leigh's talent that she underplays Marion because she is battling with her own conscience as she realizes the enormity of what she has done. Alas, she was not going to make good on her resolve.

The supporting cast is also interesting. Martin Balsam plays the private detective well. He is instrumental in cracking Norman's confidence, but of course, it comes with a high price he must pay for trying to shake the sick man. Vera Miles and John Gavin are seen as Marion's sister and boyfriend.

"Psycho" will remain an exercise in horror by a man who knew how to scare us, Alfred Hitchcock!
Hitchcock's masterpiece is the greatest thriller of all time.
Psycho is a movie with an incredible twist-turned plot that throws the audience's perspective of the film way out of proportion. It is Hitchcock's best, without a doubt. His nervous and jittery Norman Bates is outstanding. If you can guess the ending of this timeless classic, you are considered a genius in my opinion. I have watched this movie a number of times and still find it enjoyable to watch again and again, I also learn something new about the film every time I view it. Look for the various mentions of birds in the film (i.e. Marion Crane, stuffed birds). It is not a scary movie, so don't expect to be terrified of showers or of hotels-maybe this wasn't the case in 1960 though when the movie came out. It is more a thriller or a mystery, one that will still seem unsolved after you learn "who done it". #4 on my all time favorite list. It is excellence, 4 stars. -Jake Klim (
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