Psycho (1960): Freaking You Out For 50 Years

Psycho Janet Leigh

Nothing from famed director Alfred Hitchcock changed the film industry’s landscape more than Psycho. Released in June 1960, Psycho challenged several American taboos, set new standards for horror, and captivated the imaginations and fears of viewers everywhere.

While Psycho turned 50 in June, it wasn’t until November 2010 that the special edition Blu-ray was released. Also released in November was the Psycho documentary The Psycho Legacy, which took three years to produce and after conducting 30 interviews writer/director Robert V. Galluzzo managed to whittle his footage down to just three hours—that’s plenty of Psycho for any fan to cut into, but there’s also a trunk-full of bonus material included in the two-disc DVD set.

Psycho Janet Leigh

Psycho, based on the Robert Bloch novel of the same name about the famed Wisconsin lunatic Ed Gein (check out Slayer’s “Dead Skin Mask” for more on Gein), was filmed on a shoestring budget and was responsible for a number of firsts in film, such as an unmarried couple in bed, an established star in her underwear, a toilet flushing (strange, I know), blood (though it was really chocolate syrup because it looked more realistic in black and white than studio blood), and somewhat incestuous necrophilia.

Also, no one was admitted to the theater once the film had begun. What’s more, critics initially panned Psycho, but after overwhelming box office returns they took another look and many changed their stance, which led to four Oscar nominations. There were also no pre-screenings for the press and Hitchcock forbade Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins from doing television, radio, and print interviews for promotion all in order to preserve the film’s plot.

So, whether you like Psycho or not, you should at least be thankful for the new set of standards in the horror genre it helped established. And if it’s true that you don’t like the movie, you should go back and revisit it.

Rock Hard!

Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho Vintage Poster Gallery

Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho Trailer


Credit: Shamley Productions

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