Wednesday, June 16, 2010

“It’s Not As If She Were ... a Maniac”

I’m not old enough to have seen Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho on my own when it was first released in theaters, 50 years ago today. And there’s no way my protective mother would’ve allowed me to watch it before puberty. In fact, the first time I remember seeing Psycho was as an adult, sometime after graduating from college.

Since then, I’ve watched the film several more times. And on each occasion, I have tried to imagine the shock Psycho’s original viewers must’ve felt when, in the midst of the Cold War, they sat through this black-and-white suspenser based on Robert Bloch’s 1959 novel of the same name (which was, apparently, inspired by the true story of a mid-20th-century serial killer in Wisconsin). Even after wheeling by the infamous Bates Motel on the guided Universal Studios Tour in Los Angeles, and seeing for myself that it’s just a cinematic set, nothing more, I still get goosebumps whenever I watch Janet Leigh arrive at that hostelry in the movie. And though I generally find showers refreshing, the picture’s deadly shower sequence makes me think every time about converting to baths.

Even at age 50, Psycho remains as seductive--and scary--as ever.

READ MORE:50 Years Later, We’re Still Psycho for Psycho,” by Chris Epting (AOL News); “Hitchcock’s Psycho Premiered 50 Years Ago” (Television Obscurities); “The Secrets of Psycho’s Shower Scene,” by Steve North (Salon); “The Murder that Changed the Movies,” by Dick Polman (Obit).

1 comment:

kathy d. said...

I was 13 when Psycho came out. I didn't see it, my family didn't and wouldn't see a scary movie like that.

My 14-year-old cousin did see it and was terrified by it. She told me about the shower scene and I didn't take a shower for a week--and I didn't even see the movie.

Needless to say, I've never seen it and the thought of it spooks me.