Credited with inventing the genre of the modern horror film, PSYCHO has had its share of sequels and imitators, none of which diminishes the achievement of this shocking and complex horror thriller. Alfred Hitchcock's choreography of elements in PSYCHO is considered so perfect it inspired a shot-by-shot remake by Gus Van Zant in 1998. However, Hitchcock's black-and-white original, featuring Anthony Perkins's haunting characterization of lonely motel keeper Norman Bates, has never been equaled. Bates presides over an out-of-the-way motel under the domineering specter of his mother. The young, well-intentioned Bates is introduced to the audience when Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), a blonde on the run with stolen money, checks in for the night. But Momma doesn't like loose women, so the stage is set for this classic tale of horror--and one of the most famous scenes in film history. PSYCHO was initially received by audiences with shock and amazement--and it still terrifies today. Though it is now considered prototypical Hitchcock, its setting, pace, and emphasis on terror were major departures for the director at the time, coming after the more classically grand NORTH BY NORTHWEST.
PSYCHO is the horror film that spawned a thousand imitations, not to mention three sequels. A busty blonde pockets $40,000 in stolen cash following a tryst with her divorced lover. Afterward, she heads up to a remote rural motel run by psychotic mama's boy Norman Bates. The stage is now set for a classic tale of terror and depravity that includes a cross-dressing murderer, stuffed corpses, the ultimate Oedipal conflict, and, of course, the most notorious shower scene ever filmed.
Based on the novel by Robert Bloch, PSYCHO is generally considered the progenitor of the horror genre--and an unmitigated masterpiece.
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