Sunday, 21 February 2016

Cutting Edge | Film Review | Psycho

Fig 1. Psycho Film Poster

Psycho (1960) is one of Hitchcock's most renowned films that shocked audiences worldwide. It can be said that it is the reason that we have been graced with the slasher horror genre, leading into other films like 'Scream', 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' and 'Nightmare on Elm Street'.

The film Psycho is also known as one of Hitchcock's best films because of his spectacular use of camera, a defining soundtrack and the fact that he chose not to film the movie in colour as it the film being in black and white would make for a memorable and better horror experience.

Hitchcock deliberately manipulates the viewers’ sympathies. There are numerous
red herrings: the initial tryst, the stolen money, the traffic cop’ (Total Film 1998) He manages to do this with his camera work, throughout the film he purposely points the camera at what the character is looking at and flicks back to convey the emotion of the character. This is so that Hitchcock doesn't need to worry about dialogue to properly tell a story.

Psycho is a film that first introduces us to the female character that is called Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) who steals $40,000 and attempts to escape from the man she stole it from. The man she stole it from entrusted her to place it into a bank. After a paranoid journey she finally arrives at the motel, this motel is what can be said to be the main setting of the whole film. This motel is where we meet Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), Norman is a self-proclaimed taxidermist, whose favourite thing to taxidermy is birds. At first Norman comes across as a young man who hasn't really seen many people as "it appears, he has a mother—a cantakerous old woman—concealed." (Crowther 1960) who he is always caring for his mum and attending to her needs. But things become more sinister as Marion goes to prepare for the shower and Norman has a peephole in his wall, which he looks through to spy on Marion as she washes. This is of course why he wanted her to stay in that room.
Fig 2. Image of Norman 

Moments after One of the most iconic scene in a horror film happens, the shower scene where Marion is brutally murdered. It's in this scene where we are thrown into the action with Hitchcock's infamous montage editing, where the camera would bounce between Marion and the murderer. "Unlike modern horror films , "Psycho" never shows the knife striking flesh. There are no wounds. There is blood, but not gallons of it." (Ebert 1998) . This scene is also one of the most controversial as it seemed that Hitchcock had killed off the main character half way through the film.

Fig 3. Marion screaming in shower and murderer with knife

After Marion's Death, a private investigator called Arbogast (Martin Balsam) heads up to the motel to uncover some things but ends up with the same fate as Marion, although this time the murder has happened in the house atop the hill. The murderer also appears to be the mother of Norman. Time passes as Sam and Lila grow ever weary that something truly terrible has happened. They decide to go to the motel as well, but soon after checking in they head straight up to the strange house. They head straight down into the basement to discover that Norman's mother has in fact been dead the whole time and Norman had been treating her with chemicals in an attempt to preserve her. At this moment Norman flies out dressed as his mother and swiftly gets taken down and handed into the police.

Overall it can definitely be said that Psycho will never be forgotten and will always be hailed as a horror great. After all no film gets two re-makes unless it was something truly special. Although the original is still by far the better of the three.


Ebert, Roger. (1998) 'Psycho' Available at: [Accessed 21/2/2016]

Total Film (1998) 'Psycho Review' Available at:
Accessed 21/2/2016

Crowther, Bosley. (1960) 'Psycho Review' Available at:
 Accessed 21/2/2016

Image Sources

Fig 1. Psycho Film Poster [Film Poster] 1960 At: Accessed 21/2/2016

Fig 2.  Image of Norman [Film Still] 1960 At: Accessed 21/2/2016

Fig 3. Image of Marion screaming in shower and murderer with knife [Film Still] 1960 At: Accessed 21/2/2016 


  1. Hi Sam,

    Couple of pointers... make sure that your film names are in italics, to keep them apart from the rest of your text.
    Make sure that your font is the same throughout (I think you have copied and pasted a quote, which has come through in a different one to the rest of your writing, and make sure that the writing is formatted properly (you have a strange double line spacing going on in one quote. Also be careful that you don't randomly use capital letters!

  2. See link :)

  3. Hi there - just a gentle prod from me re. completing the Internal Student Survey. Go here for the original post and a bit more info about the survey and why it's important to participate.

    They should have emailed your login details to your ucreative accounts, but if no email has arrived contact and request your login details from the powers-that-be. When you've completed the survey leave a 'done it' comment on the original post - this means I'll stop prodding you - gently or otherwise! ;) Many thanks!