If you haven't seen it:
You haven't seen Psycho? Really? You should see it as soon as possible before someone spoils the ending for you. Even if you haven't seen it and you don't know the end, I imagine you know about the scene in the ... oh, I don't know whether to mention it or not...perhaps not.
Let's just say that it stars Janet Leigh as a young woman who steals
money from her employer, and flees in her car, starting off an unpleasant and unpredictable chain of events.
One of the things that made Psycho such a successful thriller, was that it took its audience completely by surprise. Many of the techniques used have often been copied by modern film makers, so the surprises might not shock viewers the way they used to, but it still worth seeing before someone tells you about the...oops, nearly!
If you have seen it:
Scroll down past the adverts and the trailer for more.
Click below to watch the trailer:
Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) impulsively flees her workplace with a large sum of stolen money. She hopes this will enable her married lover to divorce his wife and marry her. When she stops at the Bates Motel though, and chats with the proprietor Norman, she resolves to return the money. However, Norman's domineering mother intervenes, and murders Marion by stabbing her as she takes a shower.
Norman cleans up the mess and disposes of the body in a nearby swamp. However, people start to turn up at the Motel looking for Marion. Mother kills a private investigator, and tries to kill Marion's sister too, before she is stopped. We learn that in fact, Norman's mother died ten years earlier, and the killer is in fact the deranged Norman, wearing his mother's clothes and a wig.
Mad About You
After Norman is arrested, a forensic psychiatrist explains that Norman's dead mother is living in Norman's psyche as an alternate personality. Norman had killed his mother in a jealous rage when she had taken a lover. Consumed with guilt, he "erased the crime" by bringing his mother back to life in his own mind.
In a big old house on top of a hill
Lives Norman Bates, he is mentally ill.
He likes to dress up as his mommy dear,
For reasons that are not completely clear.
He slaughters the guests at the Bates Motel,
He kills suspicious detectives as well.
He wears a dress, but he's not a gay guy,
It's just his modus operandi.
How I Met Your Mother
I'm not entirely sure I believe in these "alternate personalities". It
sounds to me like the sort of thing a defendant might fake in order to
get away with murder, and a psychiatrist might go along with in order to
write a paper about it, and a film maker might think that it sounds
like a good idea for a thriller. I should make it clear at this point
though that my opinion is completely amateur, and, if I am honest with
myself, probably wrong. Doesn't it all seem a bit convenient though,
and how do we really know what is going on in people's heads? I have
similar suspicions about stage hypnotism which are probably wrong as
Just in case anyone is tempted to start agreeing with me, I should mention at this point that until fairly recently I was also sceptical about the existence of badgers. I had never seen a live one, even though they are supposed to be very common in my home country, and that seemed suspicious. I had a well thought-out theory that I used to trot out regularly to anyone who would listen, that badgers were in fact a hoax, and the world was divided into those who were in on the joke and those who were not - much like with Santa Claus. I had to reconsider my position however when an irritated work colleague, sick of my ridiculous ramblings, drove me to an animal rescue centre, and handed me a couple of adorable baby badgers. I suppose it is possible that they were surgically enhanced (and strategically painted) kittens, but I have to admit the more likely explanation is that I was wrong about the badger conspiracy. I am probably also wrong about alternate personalities and hypnosis.
Anyway, you don't need to believe in alternate personalities to enjoy Psycho, in the same way that you don't have to believe in elves to enjoy The Lord of the Rings (although funnily enough, I do believe in elves!). Psycho is a great film, and I love it.
Anthony Perkins ... Norman Bates
Vera Miles ... Lila Crane
John Gavin ... Sam Loomis
Janet Leigh ... Marion Crane
Martin Balsam ... Det. Milton Arbogast
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock