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The Vault: ‘Psycho’

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Remember Space Jam? Remember Star Fox? Remember those treasures locked away in a dusty vault of nostalgia? Well we’re here to pull them out again, because let’s face it some of us college students are poor and can’t afford the new game or movie ticket.

Mary Jones
Columnist
mej102@lhup.edu

 

Within the dark recesses of the vault, behind the multitude of scary movies that are shown in October, year after year, is the classic horror movie, “Psycho”. Released in 1960 and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, this movie was based off of a 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch.

Despite Halloween being over, it is still fun to watch a scary movie. Yes, “Psycho” is an oldie, but there are still many reasons why you can enjoy it now!

 

The Story

Photo courtesy of rogerebert.com

Photo courtesy of rogerebert.com

The story is original, fresh, and captivated the minds of audiences all over the nation.

The first main character we’re introduced to is Marion Crane, a secretary at a realtor’s office. The movie opens up on her and her boyfriend secretly meeting over their lunch hour, discussing how they can barely afford to get married (as well as doing more then talking).

Upon returning to work, she meets with one of her boss’s clients, who entrusts her with $40,000 to pay her boss for a house.

Rather then giving him the money, she decides to steal it and skip town. After a bit, she meets Norman Bates, the nervous but friendly owner of the Bates Motel, and learns about his mentally ill mother. From there on, the situation worsens, even ending in multiple deaths, and a surprise twist!

 

The Effects

Photo courtesy of cinephilefix.wordpress.com

Photo courtesy of cinephilefix.wordpress.com

Alfred Hitchcock brings his genius to the silver screen in the shooting of this film. From camera work to special effects, he manages to make “Psycho” one of his best selling films.With a small budget, and limited technology, Hitchcock manages to make the effects thrilling and realistic at the same time.

First, in order to make to mimic normal human vision, the entire film was shot with a 50 mm lens on a  35 mm camera. This was done in order to draw the audience more into the film. There are also many points in the film, including murders, that were harder to do for the cast, because the camera angle had to be just right in order to be clear on what was going on, but not to give away the film’s final twist.

Photo courtesy of eng3122.wordpress.com

Photo courtesy of eng3122.wordpress.com

Hitchcock over came many of these complications by creating contraptions, such as pulleys, or chair like devices to place the camera on. Finally, one of the best known effects in this film happens during the shower murder scene, in which chocolate syrup was used for the blood, possible only because this film was shot in black and white.

 

It’s “Psycho”!

As stated before, this movie captured the minds of audiences everywhere. From its effects, to the story, to its wide cast of characters, it’s no wonder Psycho became a classic horror film with many sequels and spin-offs. However, what was it about this movie that made it stand out during its time?

Well, it pushed the boundaries pretty far for what was acceptable on screen at the time. Before “Psycho”, the bathroom had never been seen on screen, let alone the opening, “passionate” scene between Marion and her boyfriend.

Photo courtesy of tumblr.com

Photo courtesy of tumblr.com

Violence had also always been off screen, and while the shower scene can’t even hold a candle to what is shown now days, it was still well beyond its time in the 60’s. Everything about this movie was progressive for its time, and even now can be a good escape from the gore that horror films have become.

So, despite Halloween being over, this is definitely a movie that is worth watching. Pick it up in the Media Center on the second floor of Stevenson Library, or find it online (legally), and enjoy!

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