Sunday, 26 January 2014

Film Review: Psycho

Psycho (1960) 109min

(Figure 1: Psycho Film Poster)

Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, is one of the most loved and remembered horror suspense films of all time. The story had evolved from the the 1959 novel with the same name by Robert Blochloosely who had been inspired by the many crimes of the Wisconsin murderer and grave robber Ed Gein. The film begins with what seems to be the Damsel in distress known as Marion Crane, who begins her escape to Fairvale after stealing a former clients cash deposit. Soon after what seemed to be one of the most heart racing car journeys, she later arrives the Bates Motel under the control of a disturbed owner, Norman Bates. The film captures the audience in a never ending fear to what will happen next, relentless to the hair-raising finale within the mix of Normans 'Mother'.

(Figure 2: Shower Murder Scene)

What many people symbolize a horror film with is its sense of eerie, dramatic sound; more specifically, the Score in which Psycho had set the trend. "...the accompanying frightening music never fails to bring chills down your spine. The music literally "screams" at you." (s.n, 2006) It is this particular sound that we all know today as the pinnacle of horror, and can make the most simplest of scenes become the most intense. As this quote from Mark Kermode says; "After half a century of terror, Psycho is still ensuring that no one feels safe in the shower." (Kermode, 2010) It is this "slasher" action that makes Psycho so famous, and is easily seen within modern horror films such as the Saw movie franchise.

(Figure 3: Stuffed Birds in Bate's Office)

Within Bate's office the audience is introduced to his vast collection of 'stuffed' birds; and only birds. This instantly expresses that something isn't quite right; as Roger Ebert says in his review; "... during their long conversation in Norman's 'parlor,' where savage stuffed birds seem poised to swoop down and capture them as prey." (Ebert, 1998) This particular scene lies parallel with the madness of Bates and how he tries to preserve anything that he has grown to love; such as his mother. It is also in correlation to how Bate's mother seems to only ''prey'' on young women that Norman has taken a interest in. This is a demonstration of severer ''mummy'' issue within the back story of his character, and how the son had grown hatred to his farther because of the love for his mother.

(Figure 4: Norman Bates starring/ Over laid with a Skeleton)

Psycho is 'the' suspense that leaves modern horror films within the trail of its legacy, and will continue to leave modern audiences biting their nails over a half of a century later, and will forever echo its fear and ongoing paranoia from within the shower.


Ebert, R. (1998) Psycho Film Review URL At:

Kermode, M. (2010) Psycho Film Review URL At:

S.N (2006) Psycho Film Review URL At:

Illustration List:

Fig. 1. Psycho Poster (1960) From: Psycho Directed By: Alfred Hitchcocks [Poster] United States. Paramount Pictures. URL At:

Fig. 2. Shower Murder Scene (1960) From: Psycho Directed By: Alfred Hitchcocks [Film Still] United States. Paramount Pictures. URL At:

Fig. 3. Stuffed Birds in Bate's Office (1960) From: Psycho Directed By: Alfred Hitchcocks [Film Still] United States. Paramount Pictures. URL At:

Fig. 4. Norman Bates starring/ Over laid with a Skeleton (1960) From: Psycho Directed By: Alfred Hitchcocks [Film Still] United States. Paramount Pictures. URL At:


  1. I like the way you have linked Bates' interest in taxidermy to the preservation of his mother :)

    Make sure you proof-read before posting - you have somewhat changed the name of the author of the have Robert Blochloosely'... I imagine that you might have been going to say 'loosely based on the murders' or something along those lines?

    1. Hi Jackie. I was referring to the man who wrote the Book the year before the film was released, however I should have put loosely in this case.