Thursday, October 30, 2008

HORROR EPICS: Psycho

PSYCHO (1960)
More than a few horror fans I’ve known write off Alfred Hitchcock as old-fashioned, but as far as I can tell, he was one of the few that took the art of scaring film audiences seriously in his day. And what’s a better movie to feature here in Horror Epics besides the one that drove my late grandmother screaming from the theatre? True story! Psycho has managed to stand the test of time where a lot of other horror/suspense movies from the same time haven’t. This is where I give the Hitchcock haters some due—it’s hard to relate to the obviously well off characters in most of his movies. Forget about the shower scene and all that for a minute; Psycho is about real people who actually have to work for a living. Marion Crane is a hot woman who deserves better than what she’s got at the moment. She works at a real estate office where sleazy rich fuckheads have no qualms about hitting on her. Her long-distance boyfriend Sam probably won’t get out of debt until he’s on his deathbed, and their relationship amounts to nothing more than fucking away Marion’s lunch hour in a cheap hotel whenever he comes to town. When some rich sleazebag pays $40,000 cash for a new house, Marion skips town with the money to bail out her loser boyfriend so they can get married. But a heavy rainstorm forces her to take a detour to the lonely Bates Motel, where things definitely take a turn for the worse. Janet Leigh (Prince Valiant, Touch of Evil, Manchurian Candidate, Jamie Lee Curtis’ mom) is the doomed Marion Crane, and Anthony Perkins defines his career as Norman Bates, the mother of mad killers. I think Hitchcock shows up waiting for a bus, and his daughter Pat has a bit part as Marion’s co-worker. Psycho may not be bloody and gory like many of the movies reviewed here, but it continues to deliver the thrills after who knows how many viewings and hold a permanent spot in my top five favorites.

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