Let’s Talk About… ‘Psycho’ (1960)

Film #25 in FilmExodus’ AFI 100 Movies

Every week FilmExodus does a review/analysis of a different cinematic masterpiece from AFI’s 100 Movies 2007 updated list. For a complete overview and how you can participate, click here.

I don’t know what made me buy Psycho when I did way back then, but I’m sure glad I did. It’s a cinematic masterpiece. I contemplated not even watching it last weekend for this review since I felt I had seen it enough to be able to write this analysis. However, I found myself putting the disc into the Blu-ray player. And I’m sure glad I did.

Right from the beginning, Psycho draws you in. The opening credits sequence is chillingly brilliant. The music mixed with the title sequences give you a weird sense of terror before the first scene has even started. Additionally, the black-and-white mode works in the film’s favor. Sure, it’s not like Hitchcock had a choice, since color wasn’t necessarily mandatory or popular at the time, yet. But, this lack of color adds something to the film in a way that’s hard to describe.

I don’t really feel like going into a full on review, so instead I will make brief mentions of stuff I noticed and enjoyed, followed by some brief facts on the making of the film.

First, Anthony Perkins is brilliantly cast. He’s got that look, smirk, and whole demeanor down to perfection! Perkins should have been nominated for an Oscar. He’s just so calm and collected, but in a snap he could be on the edge and ready to burst.

Second, here’s some quotes I found funny:

  • “He was flirting with you. I guess he must have noticed my wedding ring.” I laughed so hard at this. I guess that’s what married women do when they feel jealous they aren’t hit on anymore?
  • “Eating in the office is just so officious.” Oh boy, some of Norman’s lines were just a bit awkward and painful like this one. Oh, and then there’s, “My hobby is stuffing things. You know, taxidermy.”

Finally, I’ll talk about the flushing scene and the no late admittance policy.

When Marion flushes the ripped up paper down the toilet, this was the first time a flushing toilet had appeared in a mainstream film or TV show in the United States. Hitchcock was a trendsetter!

Next, Hitchcock refused late entry to showings of Psycho due to Janet Leigh only being in the first twenty or so minutes of the film. His reasoning was that if people showed up late and didn’t get to see Leigh in the film they would feel cheated. Despite hesitation from theater owners that this would lower business, lineups remained long and healthy, and this wasn’t an issue.

Are you a fan of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho? What do you think of the Norman/”Mother” dynamic?

  • Larry Version 3

    Exactly. And with school/work they always choose the sophisticated and historically significant films. They know how to ruin your fun lol.
    I’m just glad we didn’t end up doing Blade Runner, which was the second option

  • Haha, the ink was a nice touch.

  • Side note, it sucks how media can be tainted if they’re incorporated into work or school. I used to do a lot of editing projects, and there are certain songs that I’ve ruined because I spent so much time with them.

  • Feels good to be back Pop

  • I know. *face palm* Gonna add it when I have time.

  • Poppity ⚰️

    Good to see Superman back, Mister S! It really suits you! 😀

  • Poppity ⚰️

    Psst … you forgot to add the tag “Psycho Week”. 😛

  • Arbogast is my favorite character. He deserves redemption! I smell a spinoff!

  • Almost included that image in the post lol

  • I would have loved to have seen this back in 1960- fresh- opening weekend-

  • Poppity ⚰️

    That’s funny as crap! There are so many great references to the original scene. hahahaha

  • Joe Newman
  • Poppity ⚰️

    Thanks for the effort, Duke! 😀

    Hitch purposefully did not choose to film in colour because he did not want to emphasise the violence, notably he personally did not want to see the shocking red blood. He wanted the viewer to be taken in by the suspense rather than be blindsided by the gore of it.
    The Norman/Mother dynamic was nicely played out. I think another revolutionary, very controversial aspect to this film is the psychologist’s analysis at the end when they verbally use the term “transvestite”. That must have positively made people squirm back then; it still has a lasting effect today.
    Everyone in the cast gave amazing performances. Martin Balsam truly stands out as Arbogast and the scenes between he and Perkins are wonderful. Fun fact: much of the dialogue was largely improved between the two actors with the approval of Hitch.
    There is so much to say about this amazing Classic! 🙂

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    Best horror film ever made for the shower kill alone!

  • Larry Version 3

    I actually had to use Psycho as a film for my exams last year, so that killed a little bit of my love for the film. I purchased it recently though so I’m planning on watching it again soon. From what I remember it was actually relatively engrossing, oddly enough considering how old it is. And having no knowledge of the film prior to watching it, the ending was a hilarious but awesome one that no one in my class saw coming XD

  • sailor monsoon

    A hero is me

  • You are a true champ.

  • sailor monsoon

    I started writing my final entry of my top 100 horror movies list at 11pm last night. I didn’t finish till 6am this morning.
    I had to work at 8am.
    That’s a true story.

  • I didn’t have time for a full review! You’re glad you got this even!

  • sailor monsoon

    Booo!
    That’s not a review!!
    Booooooooooooooo!!!