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Marion Crane is in love with a man
But has not the money to wed her dear Sam.
So, after a tryst, she endeavors to scram
With 40K trusted to her by her boss.
She leaves town before he’s aware of the loss.
While driving, her mind starts to worry and toss.
Her guilt soon becomes an unbearable cross,
So she stops for the night at the old Bates Motel.
The young Norman Bates, who can scare or compel,
Checks Marion in to the lodging from hell.
They chat, and he shows her her quarters as well.
He tells her his mother is mentally ill.
That night, in the shower, Miss Crane’s cries are shrill
As a figure appears with a knife meant to kill.
When Norman arrives, Miss Crane’s body is still.
So both her and her car, Norman sinks in a lake.
Soon, Marion’s sought for her stolen loot’s sake.
Sam and Lila, her sister, think there’s a mistake;
It’s hard to believe she would lie, steal, or take,
So she’s being searched for by the sleuth Arbogast.
He finds the motel, where he thinks she was last,
And Norman is spooked by the questions he’s asked.
It seems that he feels he is being harassed.
The detective sneaks into Bates’ home, but is slain.
Then Lila and Sam, who grow close in their pain,
Go also in search of poor Marion Crane.
While Sam distracts Norman, who seems less than sane,
Young Lila goes into Bates’ house with aplomb.
The tension builds up like a volatile bomb.
She goes in the basement and loses her calm
When she locates the dead corpse of Norman Bates’ mom!
Then Bates, dressed as mother, attacks with a knife,
But, lucky for her, valiant Sam saves her life.
A doctor tells them Norman’s internal strife,
The death of his mother, which Norman had done,
The messed-up relationship of mom and son,
Caused Norman to take on her psyche and traits
And murder, believing he was Norma Bates.
But, now that he’s stopped, an asylum awaits.

Psycho was the new height of violence and shock value when it was released in 1960. While the “surprise” ending is almost as well-known and unsurprising as Darth Vader’s I-am-your-father revelation, this Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece is still as creepy as ever, and the shower scene still just as traumatic.

I haven’t seen many Hitchcock movies, and what I have seen (Notorious, North by Northwest) hasn’t really impressed me. Yet Psycho is not a mostly boring spy yarn but the original slasher film, which, unlike more recent examples, is restrained enough in its violence to still be watchable. Buoyed by unique camera shots that cleverly hide Norman’s schizophrenic secret and an amazingly evil performance by Anthony Perkins, Psycho manages to retain Hitchcock’s artistic touch while still delivering the horrors in which he so reveled. What is it about playing psychopathic killers that brings out the best in an actor, from Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs to Kathy Bates in Misery? Whatever it is, Perkins is certainly the best part of the whole movie.

Best line: (Norman, while in custody at the very end) “I’ll just sit here and be quiet, just in case they do… suspect me. They’re probably watching me. Well, let them. Let them see what kind of a person I am. I’m not even going to swat that fly. I hope they are watching… they’ll see. They’ll see and they’ll know, and they’ll say, “Why, she wouldn’t even harm a fly…” (one of the best evil grins ever)

Artistry: 7
Characters/Actors: 9
Entertainment: 4
Visual Effects: N/A
Originality: 6
Watchability: 3
TOTAL: 29 out of 60

Tomorrow: #336: The Perfect Storm

© 2014 S. G. Liput