“Don’t give away the ending,” warned many of the promotional materials that amped up the mania surrounding “Psycho,” in an effort to keep moviegoers scrambling out of theatres screaming in shock and horror after experiencing Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece.
While Hitchcock may have been modest in thinking the film’s greatness rested on the shoulders of keeping its shocking ending a secret, ignorance of it, and the film in general, is nearly impossible to achieve these days.
Even if you haven’t actually seen “Psycho” it’s difficult to avoid not knowing about it. Its DNA is present almost everywhere and in movies as varied as “The Sixth Sense,” “Halloween,” the “Scream” franchise, even “Pulp Fiction,” and that’s not even the half of it.
Recently network giant, A&E, launched a new and hopefully successful show titled “Bates Motel.” Taking its cue from the film, the series aims to introduce newer and older audiences to the Norman Bates we never knew by tapping into and revamping the film’s 53-year old legacy to create a “contemporary” rendition of the earlier and unknown years of Bates’ life.
The influence of “Psycho” stretches so far that on a given day, while aimlessly flipping through channels on television, you may stumble upon a humorous black and white pistachio commercial that pays surprisingly detailed attention to the film’s famous shower sequence. The commercialized appeal of the movie goes to show how the scene, and film, still resonates today.
Although considered tame by today’s standards, “Psycho” pushed the boundaries of sexuality and violence in movies in a time before Hollywood had established a proper rating system. It also, in many ways, singlehandedly introduced the world to the first modern horror film and gave birth to the popular “slasher” sub-genre we know today.
Devoid of the often shameless blood, gore and cheap thrills of these films, “Psycho” maintains its many timelessly brilliant, suspenseful and horrific moments in other areas notably, Bernard Herman’s unforgettably eerie score, the mastery of Hitchcock’s direction, expertly staged pacing, nail-biting suspense, to the spot-on casting of Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates.
53 years later, the power of “Psycho” lies in its authentic creation of arguably the most mysterious of human emotions: fear.
For those who have or have yet to experience the horror of “Psycho,” the Associated Students (AS) will treat the CSUN community to an apt Halloween-festive screening of Hitchcock’s macabre masterpiece at the CSU’s Northridge Center on Tuesday 29th October at 6:30pm.