ByKaitlin O'Keefe, writer at
I'm a film studies student at York University. Huge horror fan. I'm Psycho about Psycho.
Kaitlin O'Keefe

Virtually everyone in western civilization has heard of Psycho, whether it be the book; the film; one of the three sequels; the remake; or Bates Motel, the reboot in the form of a TV show. This article, however, will be specifically devoted to Alfred Hitchcock’s film, released June of 1960.

This famous film has been credited as creating the horror slasher drama and was something that audiences had never seen before. It was created right after the post-war era of the 50s and broke a lot of cultural taboos at the time. It was actually the first ever film to show a toilet being flushed. Even showing bathrooms in film and television at the time was frowned upon. There were many churches and even educational institutions that actually wanted to have this film banned for what was considered crude content... at the time.

After viewing the film, a lot of people were frightened, not just from the content of the film but the potential for this to set a new standard for films in general. In fact, after viewing the film, critic Caroline Lejeune resigned because she feared what cinema was becoming. This film stepped away from the Classical Hollywood Narrative that most films were following and created something entirely new. Horror was and very much still is a body genre, giving the viewers an intense emotional reaction. Hitchcock turned movie going into an event, much more so than it was before.

Warning! Everything further contains spoilers, so if you have yet to see this masterpiece, read no further.

Fun Facts: There are many things that the average viewer would not notice the first time around. For example, audiences in the 60s probably would have been too distracted by Janet Leigh’s almost naked body to notice that the colour of her brassier actually changes. In the first scene, she is wearing a white bra to symbolize her innocence, whereas after she steals the money from work, her bra turns black to symbolize the sin she just committed.

Many people also wouldn't know that the "blood" that is seen in the shower scene was actually chocolate syrup, as the colour wouldn't make a difference in a black and white film as long as the shade was the same.

Just to display how serious of a filmmaker Hitchcock was, one can look at how he treated Psycho in regards to the public. All 36 days of filming were closed set, and none of the cast or crew were permitted to talk to anyone at all about the details of the film. Hitchcock even bought every single copy of the novel he could get his hands on, as he didn't want the original novel to spoil the end of his film. He also did not permit anyone to enter any of the theatres showing Psycho around the world late, as he didn't want it to take away from the viewing experience of the audience. He even made an instruction pamphlet for the managers of the theatres titled "The Care and Handling of Psycho". Although, Hitchcock's serious demeanour as a filmmaker can be slightly hindered by the fact that he referred to Anthony Perkins as "Master Bates" while on set.


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