BQB’s Classic Movie Reviews – Psycho (1960)

Stay out of the shower, 3.5 readers.

BQB here, still checking out Peacock’s Alfred Hitchcock collection as I wait for corona lockdown to wind down.

It’s funny, I’ve seen the original movie, but I and I bet most people know the gist of the story.  I did see the 1990s remake and I recall bits and pieces of the 1980s sequels and of course, the movie has been parodied extensively, especially that shower scene.  Honestly, who among us hasn’t had a moment where we are taking a shower alone and take an extra peak out the shower curtain just to make sure no one’s trying to slice and dice us?

The plot? Marion Crane and her boyfriend, Sam Loomis (Janet Leigh and John Gavin) are very much in love. Unfortunately, they can’t get married because of money woes – Sam has to pay his ex wife so much alimony that he can’t afford to care for a new wife, and it is 1960, so they just can’t openly bang, they have to sneak around and bang in seedy motels lest they get labeled by the public as unsavory ne’er-do-well unmarried bangers.

In a moment of weakness, Marion does a bad thing. Though she’s lived a relatively good life, when he boss asks her to deposit a customer’s $40,000 cash in the bank, she gives in to temptation and skips town with the loot. While on the run from the law, she checks in to an old, dumpy hotel aka the Bates Motel and the rest is super scary history.

If there was ever a reason to wish you were around in 1960 (let’s not delve into a discussion of the many reasons why you wouldn’t want to be) it would be to be a member of the original audience when this flick was shown the first time.  Since it is embedded in the pop culture, you pretty much know what’s going to happen from the start, but people who saw it for the first time must have literally crapped their pants.

Hitchcock pulls the rug out from his audience many times. First, it seems like the film is going to mostly be about Marion and what she is going to do with her ill gotten gains. Then she’s ganked by Norman Bates’ mother in the shower and then the film changes gears, making you feel bad for Norman, that he’s this poor young man, stuck in a shitty life, having to take care of his miserable pain in the ass mother who bosses him around all day and even worse, pulls off the ultimate cockblock by stabbing the shit out of any woman who gives Norman the time of day.

Spoiler alert if you’ve been living under a rock: the film changes gears yet again when we learn that Norman, as the title suggests, is a psycho, and that he has been impersonating his mother, who has been dead for years.

What a movie.  It’s funny, take all of today’s CGI, all the special effects, and this movie is scarier.  The music (ree ree ree!) is scary, the plot is scary, and I mean, really, what is scarier than the idea of getting stabbed in the shower?

I mean, holy shit.  Think about it. You’re butt naked. There’s water and soap in your eyes. There’s a frigging plastic sheet that’s going to get wet and cling to you when you try to move. When the killer gets in front of the shower, you’re trapped in an enclosed space…holy shit. Hitchcock really put a lot of thought into this shit.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy, and its funny, I only knew Anthony Perkins as an older actor, but it was interesting to see him so young here, and there are times before the story unravels where you really feel sorry for him.

I get that today we’re trying to not demonize those with mental illness. That guy is crazy is therefore evil is a double edged sword in film because, you know, feeling bad for the guy trying to stab the shit out of you doesn’t lead to your shit being less stabbed out of you.  Its still scary.

Hitchcock spins a lot of plates and they all land successfully.  How we all think we are good until we reach that one moment where we are tempted by a certain set of circumstances to do wrong. How we fear being trapped by circumstances, torn between wanting to be happy and wanting to please our families. How you never know when you might be trying to hose down your junk only for a crazy ass bastard to do some ginsu action on your ass.  Egads.

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3 thoughts on “BQB’s Classic Movie Reviews – Psycho (1960)

  1. Memarge says:

    Great review! Your sound effects (ree ree ree) are so funny as is your commentary!

  2. Clip is way too cool. Fabu. The tattered and worn drain ring adds something I cannot describe at the moment…

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