Tom’s View: Psycho (1968)

Nothing is funnier than scottish midgets singing. Nothing…

"One things for sure: We don't represent those damn Brits!"

Oh, my apologies. I was watching The Wizard of Oz recently. Those were some good times…and some very frightful times…………

On a very related note, who likes insane serial killers? Introducing, Psycho! This is certainly not the first time it’s been introduced. It’s rather notorious for being directly responsible for the revolution of horror and thriller films and indirectly responsible for the rise of the slasher-killer sub-genre.

I’m sure you know the story. A girl on the run finds the Bates motel, meets a awkward yet adoring Norman Bates, and gets killed by whom appears to be Norman’s mother. A lot of people got pissed because the girl was considered the star of the film. What happened was  Mr.Hitchcock performed a rather clever, yet  tongue-in-cheek prank by having this star die less than half way through halfway through the film. Well played, Albert. Way to break the trend.

The ORIGINAL troll


So her sister and her lover decide to find out what the hell happened. And the mystery ensues.

It’s not easy to mention the famous shower scene without hitting points that have been mentioned before. The scary theme music, the quick and rapid shot changes, the clever use of chocolate syrup, blah blah blah… but one thing that was probably mentioned before that I really enjoy is the significance of the last shot.

That slow zoom out from her eye, revealing that small drop of water that we as the audience debate to be either from the shower or from her tears. Either way, this represents something. This particular woman isn’t your typical female stereotype. She was strong. Bold and smart, yet in the end, she ended up no better than those bimbos in most horror flicks who decide to run into the corner of the room rather than run for the door where the gun also happens to be…goddamn, those characters piss me off, but this one seemed like she had a chance. In the end, the stereotype that women are defenseless and doomed is enforced.

The film is, of course, all about Norman. There is a lot that can be said about him and his near-oedipal relationship with his “mother,” whom though only heard off screen gives a very cold-hearted and cruel impression. The best way to describe him and his mother is through one shot: this one. From the scene in Norman’s office room.

Many would agree that Norman is like the birds on his wall. Taken literally, he is as he describes birds. They prey on the harmless. They eat a lot. Norman not only “does” that but also eats his sandwich like a bird in this scene too. Very small bites.

However, we all know that technically, the murderer is the mother. She has such a tight grip on Norman’s Bates that he is practically her servant, which is funny because *spoiler* she’s kinda dead. The guy’s a loon and she is basically a split personality of Norman. Even then, considering the situation, Norman is the real victim of the whole movie. He has no control over this change. If he didn’t have his mom in his head, he would be a perfectly good oddball. However, he cannot fight his mother. Like the birds over his head, she is always watching him. Always, and ready to attack anyone who gets close to him.

No doubt the weakest scene in the film is the second to last one, where some therapist dude basically explains that whole thing I just told you in a mere minute or two. Gee, it seems that Norman was the killer, but wasn’t. It seems that it was his mother since Norman’s mind recreated her psychological profile that dominated most of Norman’s conscious. Could that be? Nah, I’m dumb. I need some random ass dude I don’t care about to tell me. If people aren’t going to get it, let them be lost, because that is actually more fun than knowing what happened. The theories they make could possibly be more interesting…but oh well, we know what it is now. Cue the credits.

Revolutionary in its genre. An easy 4/4 stars.


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#1   Raaj Mangroo on 12.09.11 at 10:33 am

I was interested that you compared Norman to a Bird. I did not think about that when I did my analysis on this movie.

#2   Jihae Park on 12.15.11 at 7:58 pm

Since I had no idea about the plot of this film before I watched, when Marion, the girl who considered as a main character from the beginning, got killed in less than halfway through the film, I was one of those people who were confused and wondering what’s gonna happen and lead this film to the end. Like you mentioned about director Hitchcock, this piece was surely radical during that time.

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