You know what’s scarier than monsters? The murderer next door. With Psycho‘s arrival in 1960 (Night of the Living Dead‘s in 1968), it was clear that the threats weren’t all coming from overseas: they were in our backyard all along. Sure, the stranger from Transylvania seemed menacing, but the nervous, down-on-his luck momma’s boy behind the counter of the local motel was capable of evil deeds, as well. With Psycho, we didn’t have to look across the sea to be scared anymore. We feared our neighbors, and that was more terrifying.
One of my favorite parts of this film is the spooky house on the hill. It conjures up images of creepy gothic castles. We get a look of that house and say, “That’s it. That’s the place to be scared of.” But then the first murder occurs in a nice little motel room. It’s a great bit of misdirection that plays with well-worn horror tropes. Terrible things happen in that house eventually, but it’s after they established the fact that those terrible things can happen anywhere.
This movie is every bit as good now as it was when it was released (I assume. I was -20 when this was originally released). I bought the Blu Ray a few years ago and it looks tremendous (the only movie that rivals this in Blu Ray form is Halloween). There’s a beauty in the black and white that just wouldn’t be present if it was in color. It’s a perfect movie, which is why a remake was such a poor idea. This film doesn’t feel dated. There’s nothing to improve on. Why remake it?
This is an amazing film and features some all-time great performances. Today is a grey day. Grab yourself something to drink, curl up with a blanket and enjoy one of the best films ever made. Just don’t plan on taking a shower afterwards.