“The picture you MUST see from the beginning… Or not at all!… For no one will be seated after the start of… Alfred Hitchcock’s greatest shocker Psycho.” ~Psycho (1960)

IMDB Summary: A Phoenix secretary steals $40,000 from her employer’s client, goes on the run and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 96%

Why I love it: Because it’s Psycho. It’s creepy, it takes it’s time and after all these years it’s still more than a little disturbing.

I love Alfred Hitchcock movies. I love Hitchcock women. They’re blonde, they’re fancy and they’re invariably and often fatally flawed. According to one article titled “What is wrong with Hitchcock’s Women” in The Guardian, “the chief skill of the Hitchcock heroine is to lie, inflict and then suffer untold torments without ruffling her hem.” I missed my calling.

My favorites, in order:

Tippi Hedron, The Birds
Grace Kelly, Rear Window
Janet Leigh, Psycho
Eva Marie Saint, North by Northwest
Kim Novak, Vertigo

I love Marion Crane, with her naughty lunch-break trysts and her scandalous lingerie. It was 1960. Marion steals a bunch of cash from her boss’ Texan real estate client (first mistake) and takes off in a hissy fit because her lover Sam won’t marry her. On her way to California to whisk Sam away with the money she finds a secluded motel where she books a room with Norman the proprietor (second mistake). She goes to her room and hears Norman arguing with his mother, who “isn’t quite herself today.” I wonder why. Then she sits and has sandwiches and milk and a mildly unsettling conversation tinged with hints of incest with Norman. We haven’t even gotten to his transvestism, his schizophrenia, his murderous tendencies or his obsession with the dead. He sits under a giant, foreboding stuffed bird as he tells her a boy’s best friend is his mother. It’s creepy as hell. She goes back to her room, and gets in the shower (third mistake). A strange, tall person comes in and knifes her to death as the violins shriek away.

The first time I watched this movie, I was terrified at the end. And then to see Norman in the police station with the blanket wrapped around him, personality fully split, mother issues everywhere… It happens, friends. For real. Ever heard of Ed Gein?

There’s nothing to say about Psycho that hasn’t been said, but I will say it was the first American film ever to show a toilet on screen, and this one actually flushed. The famous gothic Psycho house is within walking distance of me at Universal Studios and for years I’ve wanted to take one of those tours, hop off the tram and photo bomb it. What are they going to do, arrest me?


Next: Se7en

Written by Anne Clendening
Anne Clendening was born and raised in L.A. She's a yoga teacher, a writer and occasionally slings cocktails in a Hollywood bar. She could eat chocolate cake for every meal of the day. She has a huge fear of heights and flying. And fire. She wishes she could speak French, play her guitar better and make cannoli. She's probably listening to The Dark Side Of The Moon right now, kickin’ it with her boxer dog and her hot Australian husband ★