ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Hitchcock's 'Psycho' returns to movie theaters as testament of frightfully good filmmaking

Updated on September 14, 2015

House of secrets

Norman Bates had a mother complex that played out in a deadly way in "Psycho" (1960).
Norman Bates had a mother complex that played out in a deadly way in "Psycho" (1960). | Source

55 years after its release, this masterpiece still reverberates

A young man’s strange, motherly obsessions form the core of a landmark film released 55 years ago.
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, “Psycho” -- shot in stark black and white -- jolted audiences with chilling imagery and unorthodox narrative.
“Psycho” is returning to the big screen on Sunday, Sept. 20, and Wednesday, Sept. 23, in more than 550 movie theaters across the United States.
“This is one of the most influential films ever made,” said Dann Gire, president of the Chicago Film Critics Association. “The impact of this film cannot be underestimated. It subverted the conventions of storytelling.”
The special showings of Hitchcock’s masterpiece are set for 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. local time on both Sept. 20 and 23.
They are presented by Colorado-based Fathom Events and television’s Turner Classic Movies (TCM). Ben Mankiewicz, TCM host, will provide an on-screen introduction for the classic. "Psycho," rated R, is being brought to screens via Fathom's digital broadcast network.
Gire said that one way Hitchcock fiddled with cinematic tradition was to introduce Janet Leigh -- playing Marion Crane -- as the heroine or protagonist who faces an enthralling moral, and legal, predicament.
“Then, 45 minutes into the movie, she’s dead,” Gire noted.
Audiences at the time expected main, likable characters to be around much longer.
Known for its gritty depiction of the stabbing murder of a woman in a shower at a creepy, remote motel, “Psycho” -- in some ways -- had the feel of a low-budget horror-suspense film.
But it was released by a major studio -- Paramount Pictures -- and had a famous, established director in Hitchcock at the helm.
Much of the film’s violence is in the mind’s eye.
Gire points out that in the taut shower scene, the assailant’s blade is never actually shown penetrating Marion Crane’s body.
But the footage is still graphic because it is accompanied by the sound effect of a casaba melon being stabbed, according to Gire.
He likewise noted that chocolate syrup was enlisted to represent blood in the shower scene, which took seven days to film, according to TCM.
The 1960 motion picture was shot in black and white, as opposed to color, as a way to “soften the gore” and avoid showing bright red blood that may have been too disconcerting for audiences, Gire said.
“You’re already killing a naked woman in front of everybody,” reasoned the film critic for the Daily Herald newspaper in suburban Chicago.
Ben Clement, a screenwriter, recalls seeing “Psycho” for the first time in Gary, Ind.
“It was screened at West Side High School,” he said. “It was the most frightening motion picture I’d ever seen.”
Clement believes the writing and narrative sets the thriller apart from other similar works in the horror-suspense genre.
“Psychologically, it really toys with the audience,” said the executive director of the Gary Office of Film and Television. “The storytelling is what creates the fear it induces in the audience.”
In a twisted way, Hitchcock prompts moviegoers to build up an affinity for the mild-mannered -- but mysterious -- Norman Bates, portrayed by Anthony Perkins.
Hitchcock “got ordinary, regular people to be on the side of the psycho killer,” Gire said.
Despite simmering emotions and his odd relationship with mom, there are relatable attributes of Bates, according to Gire.
“He’s a really nice guy; he gets a sandwich for Marion Crane,” Gire noted. “He’s protecting his mother. You sympathize with him.”
When Norman tries to dispose of Marion’s corpse that is in her car’s trunk, he goes to a swampy area to sink the vehicle.
Strangely, audience members might subconsciously feel sorry for the villainous Norman when he’s taken aback by the sight of the car not completely sinking below the surface.
“The bog isn’t taking the car completely down, and you’re going, ‘Oh, it’s gotta go down!’ -- but yet, you hate Norman,” said Wes Gehring, a film professor at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.
Gire said “Psycho” also managed to fuel the “sexual attraction equals death” theme in future slasher/horror movies.
That plot element seemingly punishes sexual urges.
“Psycho” likewise rocked the boat 55 years ago by merely showing a toilet bowl in a scene that finds Marion ripping up a note and then flushing it, according to Gire.
Visit http://www.fathomevents.com/event/psycho for a complete list of theater locations that have “Psycho” scheduled for the September showings.
The website can also be used for ticket information and buying tickets online.






A shower interrupted

Marion Crane (portrayed by Janet Leigh) steals a big sum of money from her job, and then faces terror in the bathroom of a creepy motel in "Psycho."
Marion Crane (portrayed by Janet Leigh) steals a big sum of money from her job, and then faces terror in the bathroom of a creepy motel in "Psycho." | Source

Keen storytelling

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Robert Kostanczuk profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert Kostanczuk 

      3 years ago from Crown Point, Ind.

      Thanks much Miran

    • profile image

      Miran Shuleta 

      3 years ago

      A personal favourite of mine, great hub.

    • Robert Kostanczuk profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert Kostanczuk 

      3 years ago from Crown Point, Ind.

      Thanks for your comment peachpurple.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 

      3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      Scary movie for the month of aug and sept are chilly

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)