HOLLYWOOD—While channel surfing something hit me, as a movie marathon of all Alfred Hitchcock classics were playing for like 2 days. As a film student, I deciphered, ripped apart and overanalyzed so many films by Alfred Hitchcock it took the fun out of the flicks for me including the films “The Birds” and “Rope” America. However, it hit me that in 1960 he released “Psycho” the film that many deem as ushering in what we know as modern day horror.
I suddenly came to the realization that it has been 60 years; yes count it America, 60 years since “Psycho” first hit theaters. Either I’m getting old or time flies America. It is so hard to realize that, but the black and white horror classic that changed the notion of getting into a shower is that old, yet it still packs that same punch as it did all those years back. Now, was I born when the movie first arrived in theaters? No, I wish I could have been born and watched this iconic flick where Hitchcock was so concerned about the big twist and surprises being leaked that he wanted theaters to prevent people from entering the multiplex once the movie started.
It still baffles me that Hitchcock never won an Oscar for any of his iconic flicks, let alone the directing of “Psycho.” The storytelling aspect was incredible and unlike anything seen in cinema before it was a twist within a twist that has been mimicked and redone to death in the horror genre. I mean Janet Leigh, the star of the movie is killed midway in the movie; that just doesn’t happen in horror, but when it does the impact is that much greater for the audience and delivers and amazing impact on the narrative. It opens the door for more mayhem if we’re being honest.
That shower scene is pure genius. The music spine-tingling and that extreme close-up of Marion Crane’s eye as her body lies in the tub as the shower water continues to run, a touch of shear brilliance people. “Psycho” has inspired me so much as a filmmaker, because it makes you constantly think about challenging yourself to think outside of the box and not necessarily repeat what has already been done. “Psycho” is a classic; you cannot outdo a classic even if you remake it, just look at the 1998 version of the flick that literally followed the original to a ‘T’ just for a modern audience and if you KNOW the twist, the impact just doesn’t work people.
You can literally watch EVERY horror flick after “Psycho” came out and see touches or influences of that movie in those movies. We’ve talked about Janet Leigh’s iconic role, mainly because of her departure in a way that the audience never expected, but let’s talk about Anthony Perkins. He is fantastic as Norman Bates. Quirky, daunting, witty, chilling and just nuanced in a way that him being overlooked for a Best Actor Oscar is unfathomable. Perkins was typecast after his role in the flick which is a shame because the actor really never got a fair shot to showcase his acting talent.
“Psycho” delivers great narrative, stellar acting, phenomenal acting, chills, surprises and an ending that just blows you a way because it had never been done before in cinema. Now tell me, what horror film has NOT been influenced by Norman Bates and his wicked ‘mother?’ Not a single one America, not a single one.