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Overall Rating
4.62

Awesome80.54%
Worth A Look: 10.27%
Average: 3.24%
Pretty Bad: 2.16%
Total Crap: 3.78%

4 reviews, 161 user ratings


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Psycho (1960)
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by DarkHorse

"The Master of Suspense's Darkest Turn...."
5 stars

In the late fifties an awkward little man with a crooked smile shocked the small town of Plainfield, Wisconsin. A real life house of horrors was found in his dilapidated farmhouse following the disappearance of several local citizens. Part of the house was a twisted maze of human depravity constructed by murder and grave robbing. The rest of the house was boarded off and kept in the exact same condition it was in when his mother passed away. Because his mother liked things perfect and his mother was very important to him. Soon his mother would drive him to unspeakable acts of violence long after she was dead and buried. In 1960, with this real life crime still fresh in the minds of the nation, Alfred Hitchcock made "Psycho" based on the true crimes of Ed Gein. Cinema would never be the same...

There are actually two major horror films based on Ed Gein. Years after "Psycho" Director Tobe Hooper would make another film that redefined cinema in its own way. "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". Hooper's film focused more on the cannibalistic aspects of Gein and showed elements of Gein's house of horrors in graphic detail (to say the least).

Hitchcock's approach was to focus on the mannerisms of Gein. His name had become Norman Bates.

Anthony Perkin's brilliant performance captures the crooked smirk and docile manner of the real "psycho" while subtly showing glimpses of the madness that Norman barely holds in check.

Hitchcock also decided to combine the mother fixation and grave robbing elements in a very ingenious way. A way that still sends chills down the spine. In a way I would not dream of divulging just in case you haven't seen the movie.

After seeing this film it is nearly impossible to take a shower without subconsciously imagining what could be behind the shower curtain or perhaps even quickly glancing just to make certain that you are indeed alone. If it can still evoke those reactions today then just imagine what it did to audiences back in 1960 when there was a real name and face to attach to these fears.

The human trophies from the real story (shown in shocking detail in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre") would become Norman's bizarre obsession with taxidermy. Norman felt more at home with things that were dead. After all, no body could ever appreciate the ends Norman went through to please his mother. He would do anything his mother wanted him to do... even kill.

Hitchcock doesn't let the audience off easily. He keeps building tension with a suspenseful musical score and just enough black comedy to divert you so the scenes of violence will catch you by surprise. Hell, I have seen the movie countless times and the brilliant timing still catches me off guard.

The reason I mentioned the story of Ed Gein is because Hitchcock has always used real life horror in his movies. For example, "Rope" based on the Loepold-Loeb thrill killing or "Frenzy" arguably based on The Boston Strangler. Even one of his earliest, "The Lodger", was about Jack the Ripper. How about "Shadow of A Doubt"? Although fictional it is another one with the serial killer theme.

The reality that these things all existed makes these movies all the more chilling.

Many modern serial killer movies, and horror films of all types, owe a debt of gratitude to Hitchcock for the groundwork he laid.

Anyone who bitches that it was filmed in black and white, or says that the remake was better, deserves a healthy "Hollywood Bitchslap". But hey, thatís just my opinion...

Enjoy the master at work... and ummm take a shower BEFORE you see it.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1132&reviewer=167
originally posted: 10/23/99 10:34:46
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Trilogy Starters: For more in the Trilogy Starters series, click here.

User Comments

7/25/14 hsdynzkt USA 5 stars
7/21/14 vmtadxsbqg USA 4 stars
5/18/14 SID RUMKOWSKI The character Norman Bates is a mother in this. 5 stars
2/09/12 David Hollingsworth Two words: Shower scene 5 stars
10/12/11 t. true a must see for Xfiles fans. Mind blowing how it stands the test of time. 5 stars
6/06/10 User Name Hitchcock didn't just vindicate modern horror, he created it. 5 stars
5/18/10 bla lame 1 stars
4/29/10 skittlemonkey it is an istant classic 5 stars
4/26/10 Fat Chick wonderderous for its day 5 stars
3/10/10 Richard Brandt From the opening strains of Herrmann's shrieking strings, cinema would never be the same 5 stars
12/26/09 art THE FIRST SLASHER MOVIE!,ONE OF HITCH"S BEST! 4 stars
11/29/09 Aaron Commareri Hitchcock is the master. 5 stars
2/19/09 Total Crap PSYCHOPSYCHOPSYCHOPSYCHOWATCHITWATCHITWATCHIT 5 stars
2/10/09 lucy2 alrryt but old 3 stars
2/05/09 Anonymous. a classic. :] 5 stars
10/28/08 Hope the best horror film ever. 5 stars
9/22/08 don Masterpiece 5 stars
9/10/08 PAUL SHORTT AN EXQUISITELY EFFECTIVE PIECE OF SHOCK MATERIAL IF YOU LIKE THAT TYPE OF THING 4 stars
8/31/08 Em It was a good film and much better than the newer version, alfred hitchcock is a geniouse 4 stars
6/04/08 jared loved it 4 stars
5/22/08 haga i liked it 5 stars
2/24/08 hate it crappist movie ever 1 stars
2/15/08 gemma changed my mind 5 stars
2/13/08 chris cant be beat 5 stars
2/12/08 gemma it's ok, the film is alight could be better, as more effects would be more flashy... 3 stars
1/26/08 proper amateur film critic An outstandingly effective cinematic experience 5 stars
12/30/07 Sugarfoot An obvious inspiration to the slasher genre. Also(Unlike said films) this is a masterpiece 5 stars
12/10/07 JANICE ITS GREAT!!!!! 5 stars
12/05/07 AVEr VEry Very good, the suspense is what makes the film. 5 stars
10/31/07 Mr G i thought i was very suspenseful for its era.... 3 stars
10/18/07 brenda cooper one of the scariest movies ever 5 stars
10/01/07 Jamie Ok-ish. There are only two kills. :l 3 stars
5/31/07 deepak i need to know abot movie story not about whts alfred thoughts but its good movie 3 stars
5/03/07 John G Hitchcock at his best, it scared the hell out of me in 1960 5 stars
4/27/07 Hitch If you found it bad pray that someday you'll have an eye for details and enough brains.. 5 stars
4/18/07 zenshark Makes other movies beg for mercy. 5 stars
4/17/07 Chris Redmond Andreanna, what a remarkably in-depth analysis. You shallow idiot.The best horror film ever 5 stars
4/16/07 R.W.Welch Best directed and best scored horror flick ever. 5 stars
3/29/07 maria compared to our movies today...it sucked i have seen so much better it was good for its age 1 stars
2/21/07 Steve-0 This movie smelled 1 stars
2/10/07 Double M 1 of the most shocking early twists. Perkins is incredible, some of the finest acting ever. 5 stars
1/27/07 action movie fan great hitchcock classic s cary and intense best film of 1960 5 stars
12/08/06 Ron the best Horror movies are NOT slasher ones, that is what this is, still a good movie 4 stars
11/22/06 David Cohen Van Sant will never be the director Hitchcock was, no matter how many ripoffs he does 5 stars
11/14/06 alice thingy it was kwlll 5 stars
11/13/06 Dark Enchantress Great movie! One of the greatest!!!!! 5 stars
10/17/06 Isaac Baranoff If anyone claims to hate this movie, they are PATHETIC LIARS. Perfect horror classic! 5 stars
10/12/06 Audreanna it was dumb 2 stars
6/26/06 MP Bartley Nothing more than big black joke on the audience - but it's pulled off brilliantly. 5 stars
5/14/06 mr.mike hitch"s masterpiece 5 stars
2/03/06 Zack sweet 5 stars
1/20/06 Quigley this movie is downright creepy. perkins is amazing. hitchcock is a total horror genius. 5 stars
1/09/06 Allison this is probably the best movie ever! 5 stars
12/15/05 RJS Utter masterpiece! Ground-breaking work 5 stars
12/07/05 YOU FUCKIN SUCK YOU FUCKIN SUCKKK 1 stars
12/03/05 cody a classic by hitchcock flim and tension is here my friends a wonderful story 4 stars
11/05/05 Minhchau Nguyen one of the best films 5 stars
9/02/05 Zack unlike his other films but still good 4 stars
7/23/05 ty mills Hitchcock's best directing, My favorite hitch movie 5 stars
5/15/05 Joe The best horror of Hitchcock ever! 5 stars
4/08/05 Jason Kreitzer The ultimate horror classic and one of the most influential horror movies ever. 5 stars
3/25/05 dwarzel Groundbreaking--killing off main character halfway through 5 stars
1/21/05 Jason Kaul Not Hitchcock's best, but close. Still better than anything Hollywood has put out recently. 5 stars
11/19/04 screb class 4 stars
10/14/04 laura marie the ending was such a suprise! 3 stars
7/31/04 jmsynth The start of modern horror and still unsurpassed 5 stars
7/19/04 Benjamin Petrofsky The Best Slasher/Suspense Film I have ever seen! This is a must see!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
7/10/04 EricDSnider One of the greatest suspense/horror films ever made. 5 stars
7/09/04 Colin M. Demge Wow! Amazing! Chilling! 5 stars
7/09/04 J Cadiramen You just can't beat this for sheer tension! MUCH better than the remake! 4 stars
7/08/04 Denise Duspiva We all go a little mad sometimes 4 stars
6/07/04 Ryan Clark The shower scene hasn't impact, but the film has weakened slightly over the years. 4 stars
5/21/04 Sean Scanlan What a famous shower scene 5 stars
4/14/04 Magenta its not scary, its twisted, demented, and suspensful, its the gratest 5 stars
4/01/04 raymond squires brilliant 5 stars
3/23/04 Trannon Goble My favorite film of all-time 5 stars
2/07/04 Mikey T Horrible & frightening. Everything you'd want from a horror film. 5 stars
1/26/04 Eric Anthony Perkins made all the movies great.You rule dude!!! 5 stars
1/24/04 CC Classic 4 stars
12/15/03 Agent Sands No doubt one of the most innovative movies ever. A shocking masterpiece. 5 stars
12/07/03 Samuel A very good film... 4 stars
12/06/03 john it's made in 1960 (!) and it's scarier and more disturbing than anything made since 5 stars
10/10/03 Erik Van Sant This is horror history. Watch and learn. Hitchcock is a fucking genius. 5 stars
8/29/03 Dae_RaeAustin The definitive horror movie 5 stars
8/19/03 Hewdam A true classic 5 stars
8/12/03 Double G OVERATED, I HATED IT!!!! 1 stars
4/24/03 GWB missing something 2 stars
4/17/03 Jon "Thumb the Toad" Lyrik Creepy. 5 stars
4/02/03 Zach YES. 5 stars
2/25/03 Jacob A classic Horror movie with something called Suspense. 5 stars
1/02/03 John Aster Habig A horror film with great character development & mystery well scripted,filmed&acted 5 stars
11/24/02 Kyle Way ahead of it's time. Better than most horror films that followed. 4 stars
10/29/02 Nioami Black Absolutly wicked film even though its in the 60's. 5 stars
10/18/02 holly metcalfe shit scary ,brilliant ,gr8 , 5 stars
9/25/02 sean gothman the king 5 stars
8/16/02 Shaun still holds up well 5 stars
8/08/02 I Can't Swim God I hate you teenaged a-holes who can't respect a classic like this. B&W never hurts!! 5 stars
7/08/02 JAMES WRIGHT grate moosic and good acting 5 stars
5/26/02 Hannah Ok for a 1960's film, but the remake in colour is better. 4 stars
5/25/02 Charles Tatum A little dated, but light years ahead of the remake 4 stars
4/15/02 Film Dude What started it all. Horror would be nothing ithout it. 5 stars
2/17/02 Clarance Eah... Didn't really do it for me... If i wasn't a product of the 80's It might be differen 2 stars
2/17/02 Turtle Scary, very scary. A masterpiece. 5 stars
2/17/02 Meryl Best horror movie ever. 5 stars
1/17/02 David A. Like all truly great works, it never gets outdated. A horror classic! 5 stars
1/05/02 Magnum Craphole My favorite Hitchcock, and really atmospheric. Perkins was perfect. 5 stars
12/18/01 Rampage better than that shitty 1998 remake 5 stars
12/15/01 Ian Barr This film is god. My all-time favorite, no competition 5 stars
8/27/01 spaceworm Works better that CITIZEN KANE as the first movie to show in an Intro to Film course. 5 stars
8/07/01 Mr. Hat Freaky. 5 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk The best...perfect...Do you think I'm fruity, Norman? 5 stars
7/28/01 Henry Ginsberg An imortal classic 5 stars
6/15/01 Law Firm of Dewey, Cheatam & Howe Anyone who does not rate this AWESOME should choke on my prostate gland 5 stars
5/31/01 Podgous A brilliant film, from a brilliant man, at the height of his brilliant career. 5 stars
3/25/01 Monster W. Kung Psycho rules... one of the best thrillers ever. 5 stars
2/17/01 Tyrone This is the original, few have actually surpassed this, Bates and the soundtrack are amazin 5 stars
2/15/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi Suspenseful and terrifying without being manipulating. 5 stars
1/14/01 Gus Van Sant Hey what a good idea for a movie... 5 stars
1/13/01 Invader This movie is a true masterpiece, what an ending-years ahead of its time at least. 5 stars
1/12/01 Skip Excellent from start to finish. 5 stars
11/29/00 SP masterpiece in so many respects, but its "horror" factor is paled by today's standards 5 stars
11/28/00 Cristopher Revilla Watch this masterpiece, and please don't watch that fucked up remake 5 stars
11/24/00 Mic Hollywood should go back and study this one carefully before churning out any more crap. 5 stars
11/18/00 Croweater Can you believe Hitchcock was panned for this initially? I cant, its a classic. 5 stars
11/15/00 salvo toscano Vertigo's my favourite,but this film is simply great 5 stars
11/05/00 Hogarth? Beautifully made, even if it is considered one of Hitchcock's cheaper flicks. The best 5 stars
9/08/00 Gray Brilliant but lacking shocks and has a childish script 4 stars
6/21/00 Michael O"Neill simply excellent 5 stars
6/02/00 Hitch Fan This movie is certainly one of my favorite films ever. Hitchcock's direction is brilliant! 5 stars
5/31/00 Jill Deppel awesome film, never tire of seeing it, remakes never compare 5 stars
5/29/00 todd wow 5 stars
5/05/00 TIGGER The Master at his best 5 stars
5/02/00 Gus Van Sant i bow before the original!I am shit by comparison! 5 stars
5/01/00 David Rogers This shite has classic written all over it!WONDERFUL!Rent it NOW! 5 stars
4/19/00 malcolm unbelievable suspense. scary as hell w/o gore. take notes "Scream". 5 stars
3/14/00 Valerie West Very good till the last scene 5 stars
2/29/00 Bozo Indescribly fantastic; what Hitchcock contributed to movies is beyond anyone's scope 5 stars
2/06/00 Kyle Broflovski CLASSIC CLASSIC CLASSIC CLASSIC!!!!!! 5 stars
10/26/99 Jim Fagboni 5 stars
10/24/99 Christine Haftl chaftl@hotmail.com I saw the shower sequence in my Visual Literacy class and it's still scary 5 stars
8/19/99 Matthew Bartley Awesomely scary 5 stars
7/26/99 Patshee Anthony Perkins is Best actor and Handsome ! 5 stars
6/22/99 Elizaveta A crazy mind fuck! 5 stars
6/18/99 Sara I really like it, it's well edited. 5 stars
5/26/99 iyu Perfect in every way 5 stars
4/21/99 lucas jackson an outstanding scary horroh flick,the best of its kind 5 stars
3/11/99 little jerry In the history of film there's PRE PSYCHO &POST PSYCHO.That's how important it is. 5 stars
3/08/99 BabbaBooey The best Thriller in cinema history -one of the best films EVER (the remake can bite my ass 5 stars
3/03/99 bill stanbar I hated this piece of crap 1 stars
1/24/99 Meepos. A genuine classic, Hitchcock at it's best. 5 stars
12/28/98 pedro chido 5 stars
12/08/98 Binky Perkins=unbelievably good. Should have been Oscars for all. 5 stars
12/07/98 Shadow Raider Better than the '98 version. Don't mess with it. Think classy. 5 stars
12/06/98 Johny So well done. Perkins is awesome. Remake is pathetic considering this was the basis 5 stars
11/29/98 Mike F Boring. Didn't like it. 2 stars
11/26/98 Mr.Pink How can anyone hate this ????? 5 stars
11/23/98 Peter OK for a 40s movie. But I've seen better. 4 stars
11/20/98 Fast Eddie The definitive film of the last 40 yrs. 5 stars
10/31/98 Silent Rob 30 viewnings deep, and I'm still seeing/reading things from it differently...EVERY TIME! 5 stars
10/15/98 {{{OZ}}} Awesome Hitchcock. The remake won't have shit on this one. It can't. Psycho is perfect. 5 stars
10/15/98 CaptNish Fuckin' Tony Perkins man!!! Fuckin' Hitch man....beautiful... 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  16-Jun-1960 (R)

UK
  31-Jul-1998 (12)

Australia
  02-Feb-1971 (M)


Directed by
  Alfred Hitchcock

Written by
  Joseph Stefano

Cast
  Anthony Perkins
  Vera Miles
  John Gavin
  John McIntire
  Janet Leigh
  Martin Balsam



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