Psycho (1960)


Director Alfred Hitchcock managed to set a precedent in 1960, not only for creating one of the greatest psychological thrillers, but for films that could become masterpieces despite their low budget. He also helped pave the way for the classic shocking twist that many directors continue copying today. Adapted from the novel that was based on the murders of Ed Gein, Hitchcock offers film-goers as much twists and turns as possible while managing to scare us at the same time. “Psycho” is the psychological examination of the twisted human psyche, the darkness in every human as Hitchcock was brilliant in conveying.

Hitchcock never made monster movies, yet instead chose to put on display the monster in the human; what we’re capable of when our souls are twisted to no ends. Casting then big star Janet Leigh as the lead was unorthodox if only for Hitchcock’s narrative that treat Leigh’s character Marion as an crucial plot point of the film, but not an essential one. Norman Bates is one of the ultimate horror movie monsters as he bears the innocent friendly face and unassuming demeanor of the All American boy, but holds somewhat of a dark side to him. There are many Freudian themes present within Bates, who has a bit of an Oedipus complex and longing for his mother he aches to stay loyal to, but doesn’t dare leave her side.

Despite her overbearing ways. But the true plot twist is Marion’s fate. Easily one of the best sequences in horror movie history, Hitchcock composed a hyper sexual predecessor to the slasher movies of the latter years of horror cinema, while also devising a method of exploring Bates’ own sexual perversions he formed through his phallic knife. Hitchcock who was forced to use black and white to diminish the gore factor, makes due with what he has and produces a moody, and bleak picture that plays out seamlessly with immense tension he conveys upon the audience, and he never lets up.

Hitchcock takes the story and continues pushing upon the audience this great weight of fear and apprehension, providing amazing camera work, and excellent editing. Unlike modern directors, he uses his slick camera work to help tell the story along with the brilliant uneasy score by Bernard Hermann. As the characters, along the with the audience delve deeper and deeper into the Bates’ house and his macabre motel, the experience leads to a grim discovery ending on one of the most twisted notes in horror film history. Hitchcock is the puppet master in this film and keeps the audience on baited breath throughout the entire story which leads up to the haunting final moments of the film in which we stare into the face of the monster. “Psycho” is an absolute work of art.