Psycho (1960) Review

Psycho is a horror/psychological thriller directed by Sir Alfred Hitchcock, the film is a loose adaptation of the 1959 novel Psycho written by author Robert Bloch. The original novel was actually inspired by the Serial Killings of Ed Gein who would also be the inspiration for Leatherface and Hannibal Lecter

The film had some big stars to its name including acting Legends the late Janet Leigh and the late Anthony Perkins who play the films main leads Embezzler Marion Crane and Motel owner Norman Bates.

The films plot revolves around Marion Crane a bank worker who steal $40,000 from a client and goes on the run where she eventually ends up at the Bates Motel, a run down and failing Motel ran by its owner Norman Bates a seemingly friendly person but no one knows that he is being emotionally controlled by his manipulative and psychologically abusive elderly mother who has a murderous side to her personality.

Anthony Perkins was made for this role, I don’t know if anyone else could give off such a convincing performance especially considering he had to play two personalities in one role, we have seen this done in other films but there is something about Norman Bates which feels very real and not in any way silly or over the top. Perkins plays both his Norman and Mother personalities as two different sides to the character with one being overly friendly and the other unhinged and dangerous while managing to maintain a creepiness factor throughout all of his screen time.

Janet Leigh and the supporting cast all deserve credit too because everyone was brilliant in this, out of the entire movie what made me the most nervous wasn’t Norman Bates but Marion Crane on the run, there are so many moments where she almost gets caught and it did leave me on the edge of my seat, two parts specifically where when she was at the traffic light and sees her boss from the bank crossing the road and the other was when she was buying a car with a shot of a police officer watching her from the background. In the scene she is extremely nervous and trying to buy a car as quickly as possible so she can get away from the situation but the car sales man doing his job keeps trying to sell her other vehicles giving the officer more time to come over and see what is going on.

A lot of the best moments in the movie are thanks to Hitchcock’s direction and camera angles, not only does he help to make those scenes with Marion on the run a lot more intense but it’s the way he films the mother so we never see her face that helps to keep the big twist at the end really jaw dropping but it actually makes the character a lot scarier.

The famous shower scene is a great example where we only see the figure behind the curtain before it opens and Marion Crane is murdered, I should say that they originally tried fake blood for this scene but it didn’t look right in Black and White so chocolate syrup was used instead.

This was really the first major twist of the movie because Marion Crane was in all of the advertising and really was the secondary main character of the film, her dying so early on would have shocked audiences back in 1960 this was another reason why the film was put in black and white because Hitchcock wasn’t sure audiences were ready to see a stabbing in colour yet.

The scene is not overly gory and the choice to end the shot with the blood going down the shower drain was really impactful without showing us the grizzly details, I wish more films today would make choices like this as a lot of modern horror is in competition for gory kills and jump scares.

The scariest and in my opinion best directed scene in the movie is actually the big reveal when Lila Crane finally finds Mrs Bates in the basement, she turns her around to confront her and is met with a skeleton, she screams, the iconic music comes on and Norman Bates dressed in his mothers clothes bursts through the door knife in hand screaming.

This twist was huge back then and was such a worry from the studios that they actually made Hitchcock extend it so that we see Bates being incarcerated which is then followed by a dull scene with a psychiatrist explaining why Norman is the way he is.

I loved the entire movie but this one scene at the end, it is so unnecessary and really drags on taking away from the perfect flow the rest of the movie had. Until his death Hitchcock always spoke of how much he despised this scene.

The Studios never wanted to fund this movie and eventually Hitchcock did manage to get a measly budget of around $800,000 which given inflation is only around $8,000,000 today.

Because of this serious budget cuts had to be made such as filming the movie in Black and White and using crew members from his Alfred Hitchcock presents Television series who were more affordable than bigger stars at the time.

Hitchcock agreed to take no earnings for the film giving up his usual $250,000 fee until its release where he would take 60% of its overall gross, this was a way to put Hitchcock off the idea of making the movie but this plan seriously backfired in the studios face because the film went on to make $50,000,000 meaning that Hitchcock walked away a very rich man and made more money than the studios themselves.

Alfred Hitchcocks Psycho is a Masterpiece of the Horror Genre and one of the greatest movies of all time, its one of Hitchcocks most celebrated works and has been forever protected in the American Film Institute.

There isn’t really much to say other than if you haven’t seen this you should definitely go and watch it, it was the inspiration for a lot of horror icons and future franchises to come, this is one movie that I will be watching every October.

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Spielberg Month: ET the Extra Terrestrial Review

Welcome to Steven Spielberg month, every week throughout
April I will be publishing a review of a movie directed by Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg, I have no choice when it comes to choosing the films as the four movies will be chosen randomly for me

The first movie has been chosen and its a classic so without further ado lets talk about E.T.

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E.T follows the journey of an alien that gets lost on earth, this cliche has been done a million times before but unlike most other attempts at this idea E.T manages to stay much more serious and less comedic, E.T isn’t just a film about an Alien trying to get home but it focuses more on how to deal with a lot of real issues that children struggle with, a lot of this is seen through the young boy Elliot as throughout the movie he struggles to handle his parents recent divorce and he gets bullied on a regular basis, Spielberg manages to capture all of this and teaches the younger viewer life lessons without pushing it down their throats, the lessons are very subtle but easy enough to spot if you know they are there, the biggest lesson in E.T is about the hardships of saying goodbye to someone you care about, of course this is due to the divorce but the entire movie essentially focuses on this lesson since the plot is about Elliot having to accept that E.T needs to be back home on his own planet

E.T is a very special movie and not only for the audience, did you know that the movie is heavily based on an imaginary friend Steven Spielberg created after his parents got divorced in 1960?

When the movie came out it surpassed Star Wars for highest grossing movie of all time and even though that isn’t the case today it’s hard to believe that at one point there was a more popular science fiction movie than Star Wars.

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The cast (image above from the 20th anniversary reunion) were all great but none stand out more than Drew Barrymore who played Gertie, that is not the say the rest of the cast were not as great as Drew, Peter Coyote does a fantastic job as Mr Keys and Dee Wallace knocks her performance out of the park as the mother but as for the rest of them although they did put a lot of effort into their performances I didn’t personally enjoy them as much.

48257-etE.T has a lot of iconic moments that have remained in peoples hearts since the first time they watched the film, for some people its when you spot Yoda in the Halloween scene, for others its the part where E.T uses his magic to heal a cut on Elliot’s finger, for me it doesn’t get better than the famous flying bike scene and lets not forget the phenomenal musical score by John Williams whose name I am sure will be turning up in a lot of these reviews, all of these moments are amazing and are a good reason to pick up a Blu-ray however there is no directors commentary for this film and that is a real shame because for me directors commentaries are the best part of owning a movie and few films could really benefit from one more than E.T.

Thankyou for reading the first review of Spielberg month, who knows what we will be diving into next week but if its anything like E.T its going to be pretty magical.

Want to buy this weeks movie? click the link below to get in from Amazon, I recommend subscribing to Amazon Prime to get fast next day delivery as well a lot of other benefits.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/E-T-Extra-Terrestrial-Blu-ray-Region/dp/B00LY0T7MM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1491602069&sr=8-1&keywords=et+blu+ray

You can contact me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com