Friday, November 18, 2011

Thriller #1 - Psycho (1960)

So the story about Psycho is that everyone was classifying Alfred Hitchcock's movies as horror movies, but he thought they were mysteries. So Alfred Hitchcock says to the world, he says "World, I'll show you what horror really is!" And he made Psycho. And it is terrifying. It's psychological and suspenseful and a violent, sexual slasher movie. It has strong themes about duality and control and a bird motif that I don't really understand but has something to do with preservation and freedom. It is terrific. I really liked Psycho. I especially like how easy it is to italicize, because it's only one word, but that's irrelevant.

So Psycho is about a woman who decides to steal some money from her boss and run away to start a new life. She stops at a motel, has a conversation with the nice owner who's only a little creepy, and then gets killed. This was ground-breaking at the time: You didn't kill your star halfway through the movie in 1960 - or now, actually.

Psycho was shocking and violent and scary because it's a random murder out of nowhere in the middle of nowhere. It's a terrifying movie - I hate serial killers: They are my least favorite things. I do not like serial killer movies. And in this movie it is not even the scariest part. I accidentally ruined the end of it for myself months ago, and I seriously lost sleep over just the summary. The ending is so disturbing to me. I cannot imagine watching this movie not knowing how it ends - That would be awful.

The shower scene I had seen before, obviously, so that wasn't that bad. The other murder made me jump, though - I just comes out of nowhere - like all of the murders. I heard they had to shoot the shower scene something like 24 times. It looks really good, and it's no wonder it's such an iconic scene. The fact that it takes place in a shower is just weird and common enough to make it memorable and of course the music is great and terrifying. Bernard Herrmann wrote the music for this movie, and it's awesome - You've heard it. whether you've seen the movie or not. Fun fact - Bernard Herrmann also wrote one of the other most recognizable pieces of music in the Western world - The Twilight Zone Theme. Now you know.

So I was expecting Norman Bates to be really creepy, and he's not really. For most of the movie he isn't really creepy at all (Although he does have his moments), and I that just makes the end even worse. Anthony Perkins is really terrific - I've actually seen him in something before - In Evening Primrose, a musical about a tribe of people who live in a department store. I don't know, it was weird. But he was very good in it.

I liked the whole movie - it was creepy and unsettling and impeccably well made and I was entertained by the whole thing. The music was great, and the Alfred Hitchcock cameo was really hard to find - I had to go back and everything. It was definitely the best movie in this set.

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