THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!
Today I’m talking about the black and white masterpiece by Alfred Hitchcock. If you don’t know who Hitchcock is then you’re missing out on some of the greatest films ever made. The sheer volume of his output is amazing. Some of his work includes such classics as REAR WINDOW (1954), NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) and of course PSYCHO.
Psycho was instantly hailed as a masterpiece as soon as it hit theaters. During its initial run, once the movie started the theater doors would be locked because Hitchcock wouldn’t have anybody missing even a second of the film. The movie worked so well when it first came out because nobody really knew what it was about. People back then didn’t even know that it was a horror movie. The film was said to star Janet Leigh, which it did, but only in the beginning.
The film starts out as a crime thriller, where a woman named Marion Crane (Leigh) has stolen a bunch of money and goes on the run. She stops at a motel for the night, and this is where the audience was completely shocked. Janet Leigh’s character is stabbed to death in the shower. Today the movie holds up just fine but there is an element of surprise missing. That scene as well as the rest of the movie is so well known that people usually know what happens. Imagine you saw the film in the theater when it first came out. You’re watching a crime thriller, then all of a sudden the main character dies and the film switches genre. The movie is still a masterpiece but now is a lot less shocking. That says a lot about a movie like this. When a viewer knows what is going to happen, but the film remains tense and wildly interesting, that is a great directing feat.
Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates is one of the all time greatest performances. Sadly this role negatively affected his career. People had a hard time seeing him as something other than a crazy person and much like Mark Hamill and STAR WARS (1977), he had a hard time getting good roles afterwards. Anthony Perkins actually underwent psychoanalysis from the 50’s to the 70’s. He was really interested in that kind of thing so of course the role appealed to him. Hitchcock makes a cameo as always, as a man who misses a bus in the very beginning of the film.
The character of Norman Bates was based off of the serial killer Ed Gein. The same guy that inspired THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974) and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991). Hitchcock isn’t called “The Master of Suspense” for nothing. Psycho is a fantastic film that I believe is his finest work.
After his death, they started making sequels to Psycho. They are a disgrace and should not have been made. Even worse than the sequels is the remake…
The Psycho remake by Gus Van Sant is one of the worst of all time and that’s really saying something. A remake is completely unnecessary simply because the original is a timeless classic. It has had an audio upgrade, a picture upgrade, it has even been colorized. So why was a remake necessary? Money? Or maybe just to piss off fans?
Not only does the remake lack all of the suspense and mystery of the original, but it also has the worst casting ever. I’m not talking about one miscast person, the entire cast is dreadful. There are some good actors in the film, like Robert Forster and James Remar, but they are just horrible in the movie. But nothing can forgive perhaps the single worst casting decision of all time; Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates.
Who the hell thought this was a good idea?! Norman Bates is such a complicated and subtle character while Vince Vaughn can barely pull off the one role he plays in everything. I would say that this casting choice ruined the movie, but it was already ruined before he even shows up. He’s just the final nail in the coffin.