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Psycho  (1960)

( a.k.a.  Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho  )

Cast: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam, John McIntire
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
U.S. Distribution: Paramount
U.S. Release Date: 3/8/60
Running Time: 1:48
MPAA Rating: Not rated (merits "PG-13" for violent content)

Long before Hannibal Lecter, there was Norman Bates. There were many movie "monsters" during the 30 or so years between the original Psycho and The Silence of the Lambs, but none who were as remarkably famous in their infamousness (please pardon my non-word) as Bates and Lecter. For all of their homicidal shortcomings, these two characters actually had viewers rooting for them at film's end. Perhaps that is at least in part why Psycho and Silence are considered among the very best films of American cinema (ranking No. 15 and 19 respectively on the Internet Movie Database Top 250 as of this writing).

Psycho is the movie that sealed Alfred Hitchcock's immortality as the master of suspense. It was responsible for changing a lot of people's cleaning habits, as scores of moviegoers stopped showering after seeing it.

In its aftermath, there have been Psycho Cops, Psycho Puppets, Psycho Sisters and earlier this year, an American Psycho. None of the imitators, sequels or even a 1998 remake, are anywhere near as good as the original Psycho, a movie that will continue to live on long after its director Hitchcock and star Anthony Perkins (or was that Hopkins, I get those names confused). For further proof, consider this. The little black & white film that once was anything but mainstream has only recently resurfaced in a television advertising campaign for frozen pizza. I only wish that whoever is responsible for this would be ordered to spend just one night with "Mother" at the Bates Motel.

© 2000, Delton Perrodin

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