PSYCHO: 50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION
MOVIE: ***** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ***** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
In Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller, Anthony Perkins plays Norman Bates, a reclusive motel owner who doesn’t see many guests come his way. Living with his allegedly invalid mother, Norman finds himself having to clean up her messes… which happen to be dead bodies that have been hacked up with a kitchen knife. When one of the victim’s sister tracks her last known whereabouts to the Bates Motel, Norman’s secrets are threatened to be revealed.
WHAT I LIKED
What’s not to like – and what’s not to love – about Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho”? It is the original slasher film, pre-dating “Halloween” by almost two decades. So much about this film is brilliant, and so much of it was groundbreaking and ahead of its time for its release.
The brilliance begins with the story, which was adapted upon and improved over Robert Bloch’s original novel. It’s a very simple story that still holds up today with some of the more twisted realities of people’s psychoses.
As a film, it is directed perfectly, never dragging and continually moving forward. If you’ve never seen it and are one of those people who are lucky enough to not know any of the critical plot points, you can enjoy it even in this modern age without feeling lost or bored. With the possible exception of “Rear Window,” “Psycho” is Hitchcock’s best directed film ever.
Then there’s the acting. From the icy beauty of Janet Leigh, who gets killed off half-way through, to the career making (and some might argue career ending) performance of Anthony Perkins, the performances are a perfect balance of reality and melodrama. Perkins gives off a fantastically sympathetic performance filled with ticks and quirks that seem so real. Even in the less-than-stellar sequels he made in the 1980s, Perkins never embodies Norman Bates like he does in the 1960 original.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
This 50th anniversary Blu-ray release comes with a fantastic transfer that allows the viewer to see more detail than you have ever before on home video. In fact, short of seeing “Psycho” on a projected print, you won’t get a better presentation.
The Blu-ray includes a wealth of bonus material, including featurettes on the making of the film, the sound production, Hitchcock’s legacy and the infamous shower scene. There are excepts from the interviews Hitchcock did with François Truffaut, newsreel footage of the original release, storyboards for the shower scene, advertising archives, lobby cards, behind-the-scene photographs and a feature commentary with “Psycho” historian Stephen Rebello.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Hitchcock fans and anyone who enjoys a fantastic thriller.