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We all get crazy sometimes. 

Year: 1960 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock 
Starring: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles  
An image from Psycho

What hasn't been said about this film? The horror classic Psycho (1960), directed by the master of suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock, is, arguably, said to be the first-ever slasher film, and often ranked as one of the greatest films of all time! (You may also have caught our showing of Hitchcock classic North by Northwest in Term 2, or may be familiar with the popular TV show Bates Motel)

The story follows young secretary Marion Crane (portrayed by Janet Leigh, the original scream queen), who flees town in order to be with her lover. But along the way, she finds herself at a strange motel, encountering the neurotic owner Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) and leading to a sinister and disturbing turn… You may know how this story goes, or perhaps you don't. Either way, it has to be seen on the big screen to be believed!Anthony Perkins gives an incredible performance as Norman Bates; a character inspired by the real-life serial killer Ed Gein, and would go on to inspire the creation of characters such as Patrick Bateman from American Psycho.

Accompanied by an iconic soundtrack to listen to in the shower (!), and masterful use of the camera as expected of Hitchcock, this is an absolute must-see for anyone who calls themselves a film fan!

Joe Asaoka-Wright

Often viewed as one of his best films, the master of suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock rose to unbelievable levels of fame after directing this hugely acclaimed horror classic. Loved by critics and fans alike, the film set the boundaries for all horrors and thrillers that came after it, keeping you on the edge of your seat throughout the film.

The story follows a young woman, Marion Crane (played by one of the original ‘Scream Queens’, Janet Leigh, in an Oscar nominated role) escaping to an eerie motel after she steals money from her workplace. There, she meets the motel’s strange owner, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) as things in the motel begin to take a sinister and disturbing turn.

Sit back and enjoy the classic unfold through Bernard Herrmann’s original soundtrack as Hitchcock takes you on a terrifying journey. Watch Anthony Perkins in his most memorable performance as the complex Norman Bates in one of the most interesting cinematic portrayals of a supposedly simple robbery. Feel the fear as the water starts to run in the infamous shower scene. The film provides shock after shock detailing unexpected events that leads to a surprisingly disturbing ending that will stay with you long after you have left the cinema.

This film is a true cinematic masterpiece, often listed on the greatest horror lists of all time. If you’ve seen the classic, re-watch it in its glory on the big screen. If you haven’t, you’re in for a suspenseful thrill ride.

Chloe Haynes

Phoenix officeworker Marion Crane is fed up with the way life has treated her. She has to meet her lover Sam in lunch breaks and they cannot get married because Sam has to give most of his money away in alimony. One Friday Marion is trusted to bank $40,000 by her employer. Seeing the opportunity to take the money and start a new life, Marion leaves town and heads towards Sam's California store. Tired after the long drive and caught in a storm, she gets off the main highway and pulls into The Bates Motel. The motel is managed by a quiet young man called Norman who seems to be dominated by his mother.

Well, if you haven't already seen this classic, then this is a perfect opportunity to see the infamous shower scene. Ever wondered how she managed to scream so loudly and sound so petrified? Well it might have been something to do with the fact that in the real "take" of the scene, without any prior knowledge, the actress was subjected to freezing cold water as "Norman" approached!

No wonder Alfred Hitchcock has produced yet another amazing horror, full of suspense and intrigue. Not to be missed!

Meryl Brunnock

The master of suspense moves his cameras into the icy blackness of the unexplored! Psycho is widely regarded as Hitchcock’s finest work and is now a testament to an innovative and inventive director as well as being an iconic thriller. The story follows Marion Crane (Leigh) as she struggles to support her relationship with her lover Sam Loomis (Gavin). In order to finance their wedding, Crane steals $40000 and journeys to Loomis in California. En route, she spends the night at a motel and encounters the unnerving Norman Bates, the motel owner, and the story soon unfolds into a dark and grisly tale.

The film is based upon the book Psycho by Robert Bloch, inspired by the sinister murderer Ed Gein. Gein was involved in several deaths during the 1950’s, spawning many rumours of his ghoulish labours. He also influenced the films Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the brilliant Silence of the Lambs. The character is expertly portrayed by Anthony Perkins and is paramount to the success of the film.

However it is Hitchcock‘s direction which is keystone to Psycho. The charismatic director embeds his trademarks throughout the movie: the leading, angelic blonde; the daunting policeman encountered on the highway; Hitchcock‘s cameo on a high street and his use of a MacGuffin (an item around which the story revolves yet has little real importance, in this case the $40’000). These traits are typical of Hitchcock.

Easily the most iconic moment in this movie is, of course, the ‘shower scene’. Whilst many rumours about the filming of this scene circulate, it is known that shots from over 70 angels were used to capture the distinct and marvellous moment that instantly morphs the film’s tone into the true unsettling nature Hitchcock desired. It is here the tension reaches its zenith.

Overall, Psycho probably will seem tame in this era of Hostel’s and Saw’s. This is to be expected for a film over 45 years old, even if it did shock and appal on release. Yet the film is an excellent choice to showcase the great style of Hitchcock, from the unique opening titles to the sinister end. A proud moment on the cinematic landscape.

Alex Marshall

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Screenings of this film:

1995/1996 Spring Term (35mm)
1998/1999 Summer Term (35mm)
1998/1999 Summer Term (35mm)
2007/2008 Autumn Term (35mm)
2012/2013 Spring Term (digital)
2016/2017 Autumn Term (35mm)
2022/2023 Summer Term (35mm)