mag·nif·i·cent/magˈnifəsənt/ (adj.)

1. Impressively beautiful, elaborate, or extravagant; striking.
2. Very good; excellent.

Synonyms: splendid - gorgeous - grand - superb - glorious

WARNING: Some spoilers may be bound but I try to keep them light.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Psycho (1960)

DAY 23

"We're always quickest to doubt people who have a reputation for being honest."

Psycho (1960) is a film about madness and always doing what you should do.

I really enjoy the story in this film. They way it meanders and evolves, works beautifully. Never once does a turn in the story lose your interest and every turn actually makes you more interested in what is going to happen next, so much so that when you stray from the original parts you don't mind at all.

Bad? How about the fact that people consider this the first slasher film!? I think Hitchcock would be turning in his grave if he could see the the crap that supposedly has been spawned from this film. If this is a slasher film (with it's one slashing scene?) then slasher films today could learn a lot about this movie, starting with how to tell an interesting story.

First of all I need to mention the score of this film. Bernard Herrmann's score in Psycho is one of the most memorable scores of all film history! Hitchcock himself said that "33% of the effect of Psycho was due to the music." And I absolutely agree it adds a lot to the suspense and horror of this film, and not to disagree with Hitch but I dare say that number maybe closer to 45-55%?! One of the things I like about it is the score will either not be present or very light in certain points before something crazy is about to happen then it snaps in loudly and very memorably. Using such a great score in this way is just genius in my opinion.

I also think this film wouldn't have worked half as well without casting Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates. His acting is so innocent and "small-town" that it really does a lot to keep the movie afloat and interesting.

This movie is a prime example of "Hitchcockian" suspense. Even rewatching this movie today, I feel that it's just as effective as it must have been 50+ years ago. And this is a tribute to how great of a director Hitchcock was. Suspense was his brand and no one did it better.

Last thing I need to mention is how great the twist in this movie is. Not just how convincing it is, but how masterfully it's carried out. This is not a story where you would have had no chance to figure it out, upon a second watch you realize that the clues are all there and nothing is out of place or weird, they're just masterfully placed and shot in ways to distract you or make you think you're seeing what you aren't. Absolutely amazing.

Psycho (1960) is an amazing film that is expertly crafted. Even today filmmakers could learn lot from this film. 5/5 stars.

Happy watching!

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