Sunday, 28 November 2010

Retro Monday: Psycho (Film)

It's been a while since I've written anything about film, but I feel there's no better excuse than with what is, in my opinion, the finest horror film ever. I studied Alfred's Hitchcock's masterpiece at high school, so my insight to the film is juvenile at best, but I still aim to stumble along, and try and make some sense out of it.

I think the best way to understand Psycho, however, is to study it. The first time I saw it was in A-Level Film Studies, and my love affair began. The film is so clever in it's approach that it deserves looking at properly, and deserves a bit of hype behind it. My babbling over the next few paragraphs is simply a few pointers of everything I love about this film. I could, and indeed have, write essays about it, but it's boring to read, and certainly not as much fun as looking into it yourself. If you've ever considered yourself a fan of Horror, then it makes for an incredible Sunday afternoon, trawling through Wiki archives, and reading about this masterpiece.

Everyone knows Psycho, whether you actually know it or not. I personally guarantee that everyone one amongst us has done the 'shower' sound effects and stabbing motion, and everyone has heard of the Bates Motel, even if they don't know where from. I think it's a testament to the impact it's had on popular culture, and how much it's affected the world at the time. In a cinema landscape where it was all about aliens from the future, or giant lizards from the past, here's a film which was a dark and brooding film, filled with tension and genuine horror.

It's when you look into the plot of Psycho really shines. Down to the combination of the original novel by Robert Bloch and Hitchcock's brilliant storytelling, this film contains within the best twist I've ever witnessed. A film that was billed as a thriller, and spends almost an hour of it's playtime as a thriller, then shifts straight into what we now know as the 'slasher' genre. It's how it should be. It still gets me now, but I can't imagine what it would of been like 50 years ago. Imagine going to a cinema to watch some sort of Denzel-esque thriller. It's all getting a bit much for Denzel who's acting his heart out. It's getting a bit psychological and tense, then from nowhere Denzel dies, and it turns into a horror film. It's so unique, and so unsettling, it's what's given the film a lasting appeal, and is the reason the film is a cut above most horror films.

EVERYTHING about this film is completely ground-breaking. From the strings-only score, to Perkins' flawless performance, Every single part of Psycho is astounding. If you haven't seen it yet, then I honestly have no idea why. You should rectify it as soon as possible, and watch one of cinema's finest moments.

1 comment:

  1. Great piece. Psycho is one of my all time favourites, though check out Rope for ultimate Hitchcock class.

    He was condemmed at the time in pretty much the same way as Agatha Christie was by literary critics a generation before. How dare he subvert expectations! How dare he 'fool' the audience!

    It is perhaps the ultimate judgement that the remake of Psycho utterly flopped. People will respect the shock-and-surprise of the classics long after the slash-and-gore modern films are forgotten...