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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Psycho - Review (1960) 31 Days of Horror #3

Synopsis:  Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) takes her romance into  her own hands when she steals $40K from her boss to run away with her lover.  Unfortunately for her a suspicious officer is on her tail so decides to hide out in a little place known as the Bates Motel, run by the almost too-friendly Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins.)

As far as Hitchcock films go, this one may be the most well known which is a problem for those watching it.  Unfortunately, if you know anything about film you will most likely already know the major twists and shocking moments before they occur.

While Psycho is a classic Hitchcock film, but as a horror film it just does not compare in the level of terror expected by modern viewing audiences.  It plays upon our fears and build's audience anticipation to create a tense scenes and the subject matter in general - a young lady on the run taking refuge in a creepy motel run by a creepier caretaker with mother issues - provides for an entertaining film.

Hitchcock tells the story in a way that the audience becomes invested in the main character before we learn what the film is really about.  From the forbidden romance that turns a young lady to theft, to the family run motel that has some convenient peepholes.  The surface show normalcy, while the secrets lie just below the surface.  Its these secrets that draw in the audience and prepare us for a film that was the first of a kind for its era.   The unforgettable score, is one of the best - heightening the intensity of each moment.   And Perkins turned Norman Bates into a film icon - not easy to do.  You may not be scared by this film, but the themes remain as effective as ever.  They tried a shot for shot remake this in 1998 with poor results - avoid it.
Scariness:                 2     It is tense and creepy, but few scares.  I am sure it scared the shellack out of audiences in the 60's, but tor today this is tame.

Gore/Violence:          1      Even an episode of CSI makes this look makes this look like a kid's film.

Story:                     4.0       It is a good yarn that will keep horror fans interested while the scares are lacking.

Overall rating (as a film, not just a horror film):  8 out of 10

Check out the rest of the reviews for FilmSnork's 31 Days of Horror here.

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