There is a very good reason this is considered one the finest films in the horror genre. Hitchcock’s tension, character building and plot twists raised the bar to horror cinema to an entirely new level.
Desperate for money Marion Crane steals $40,000 from one of her employer’s clients and flees in her car. During her escape heavy rainfall causes her to pull off to the side of the road to spend the night at the Bates Motel.
Owner Norman Bates discusses the rarity of customers. Norman lives in the big house behind the hotel with his mother. He invites Marion to have supper and then she goes off to shower and sleep.
While showering Marion is attacked in one of the most famous moments in cinema. After being stabbed to death Norman finds her body and quickly disposes of her and her possessions to protect mother.
Marion’s sister Lila and a private detective begin searching for Marion and the money. They trace her to the motel and question Norman. Later the private detective sneaks into the Bates house where he is attacked and slashed in the face (ultimately leading to his death).
Lila goes to the Bates Hotel shortly afterwards and searches the house. She discovers the mummified body of Mrs Bates in the cellar. Norman comes rushing in wearing his mother’s clothes.
There are multiple moments in the film at are considered “classic” moments. The shower scene however is obviously the most iconic moment.
Hitchcock reinvited “going to the movies” with Psycho. Previously the movies wasn’t much different than the mall. It just played a film on a loop with news and commercials inbetween. You’d show up whenever, sit down and watch it til whenever. That changed with Psycho. The reveals and the twists were all too important to be seen without the context of the beginning.
However the best rug-pulling was killing off Marion Crane so early in the film. She was the poster girl, she was the biggest name star, she was the person who was supposed to survive... and yet by the 30 minute mark she had been dead already. Wes Craven would copy this twist in Scream 40+ years later, but Alfred got there first.
If you’ve never watched this film, now’s the time to (sorry for spoiling the twists). What impresses me is that no matter how old I get, watching his movie home alone late at night is still a stressful viewing experience.
73. Orgazmo ----->