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. Written by Col Needham
September 8, 1960
“We all go a little mad sometimes.”
-Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates
Okay I will admit, much like my better half Jaclyn, as a kid I wasn’t crazy about black and white films. It was definitely an acquired taste for me; now I love them. Yet there was a time I steered clear of them. Not so much because of the lack of vibrant colors, it was more the acting. It seemed like all acting to me in older movies was too over the top. Everything had to be at a fever pitch when a dramatic scene came about. There were no subtle performances. That was until I first saw Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece Psycho. It pushed the limits for a film in the 1960’s with suggestive sex, suggestive nudity and violence. The story was based off a best selling book by Robert Bloch, that was inspired by the serial killer Ed Gein. Ed Gein’s antics also inspired Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and Silence of the Lambs (1991). Hitchcock manages to get this well orchestrated sinister story line in a suspense filled 109 minutes.
The story moved so swiftly that Hitchcock made a rule that all theaters screening the film could not allow anyone to enter the movie after it started. Keeping people from missing out on the action and being lost. There were even lobby cards made up with Hitchcock looking at his watch reminding patrons of the rule. If any one knows how to get a hold of one of these antique lobby cards I would love to add it to my collection. Only the great story by the masterful director was not the main thing that sold me. It was Anthony Perkins performance. His subtly evil, awkward unsure Norman bates was like nothing I had seen before. It was not what he projected off the top but what he held barely visible under the surface. A monster waiting in the dark, playing in the evil part of the subconscious. Perkins came back to do a few vastly sub-par sequels for Universal, much like Anthony Hopkins with Hannibal Lecter; but of course neither were able to recreate the same magic. In 1998 Gus Van Sant attempted a shot for shot remake of the film with a modern day spin, casting Anne Heche and Vince Vaughn. The result was laughably ridiculous. I can remember seeing it in theaters and hearing people laugh out loud at Vince Vaughn’s performance. Vince I think will always struggle with serious roles, much like Jim Carrey. If I were to recast Psycho today, hands down I think Andrew Garfield would be the only choice for Norman Bates. Marion Crane I think could be played excellently by Amanda Seyfried, and Rachel Mcadams as her sister. Only get Eli Roth as director and go more Saw like gorey with it, not shot for shot.