Quick “review”: Psycho (1960)

Synopsis: A secretary from Phoenix steals $40,000 from the office and goes on the lam. Exhausted from the drive and facing a heavy rainstorm, she finds a vacancy at the Bates Motel. The proprietor seems friendly. What could go wrong?

Controversy: Audiences had never seen anything as shocking as Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, particularly the famed shower sequence. The movie is considered to have helped kill the old production code that regulated sex and violence onscreen; Hitch played an elaborate bait-and-switch game to get around censors, promising cuts he never made, and he forced exhibitors to stick to a “no late admissions” policy. (In Singapore, the shower scene played en toto, while another murder scene and a shot of a corpse were cut entirely.) Faintings in the audience were allegedly a common occurrence; critic C.A. Lejeune abruptly resigned her post at The Observer after 32 years of service for having to sit through it. It’s still the quintessential slasher flick.


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