Jump to content
Welcome to the new Earwolf Forums! Read more... ×

Psycho  

9 members have voted

This poll is closed to new votes
  1. 1. Are there any AFI vacancies for Psycho?

    • We have 100 vacancies. 100 spots. 100 vacancies.
      8
    • Psych-no!
      1

  • Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.
  • Poll closed on 10/18/18 at 03:49 PM

Recommended Posts

Paul & Amy pull off the highway for a short stay at 1960’s proto-slasher masterwork Psycho. They dissect Alfred Hitchcock’s artful use of misdirection, listen to Anthony Perkins’ pre-Psycho pop single, and ask if there was any value in Gun Van Sant’s controversial remake. Plus: Alexandre O. Philippe, the director of “78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene,” discusses one of cinema’s most infamous moments in detail.

What do you think is in the warehouse at the end of Raiders Of The Lost Ark? Call the Unspooled voicemail line at 747-666-5824 and let us know! Follow us on Twitter @Unspooled, get more info at unspooledpod.com, and don’t forget to rate, review & subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post

Haven't listened to the episode once again... still haven't listened to LotR..... but for myself even knowing the twist ending I still was shocked just by the way it was achieved in the movie. This is really well done and holds the fuck up. It's definitely also one of those movies I wish I could go back in time to see in theaters because I would love to see how people reacted to this for the first time.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

I don't want to go against Amy and Paul too hard but it makes me cringe slightly to hear that this movie should be possibly dismissed because of the second half. It is akin to me to those that say "Full Metal Jacket is great until they leave boot camp." It is so dismissive of the great stuff that happens just because pop culture has made the key cultural moments mostly in the front half. Now if you say "the second half isn't as memorable as the first half" I again half to challenge this because as stated what are the things people know about this movie? The shower scene and Norman Bates is his mother. The later of those is the final reveal, so dismiss the second half you dismiss this reveal and major twist as well. Also you praise Martin Balsam but all his stuff is in the second half. Not to mention the iconic shot of him falling down the stairs or even his introduction with the giant close up of his face. They also mention Norman and Sam Loomis interaction and his change in character. Odd that this is remembered because it's in the "I don't remember anything" second half. Now you could argue that Sam Loomis and Lila Crane aren't as interesting, and that is a fair argument to be made but to actively dismiss and write off the second half  as "nothing happens" is crazy. If you criteria for dismissing it is "I don't remember a lot from the second half" just think about half these movies on the list and how much we don't remember that's not there because of pop culture referencing it to us.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

Fun weird connection people often overlook. Marion Crane is played by Janet Leigh who became a horror icon because of this movie. Her daughter as mentioned was Jamie Lee Curtis who became a horror iconic thanks to her role in Halloween. However everybody knows that. The connection is actually much deeper. In addition to Halloween redefining the slasher genre which Psycho basically started people often overlook or forget  that the psychiatrist in the movie Halloween movies played by Donald Pleasence is Dr. Sam Loomis who is named after the character in Psycho.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
12 minutes ago, taylorannephoto said:

Haven't listened to the episode once again... still haven't listened to LotR..... but for myself even knowing the twist ending I still was shocked just by the way it was achieved in the movie. This is really well done and holds the fuck up. It's definitely also one of those movies I wish I could go back in time to see in theaters because I would love to see how people reacted to this for the first time.

This was going to be my point. I think everyone who watches Psycho knows Norman Bates is his mother. But everyone is still on board once this movie gets going. That's a good thriller. Even if you know the main beats of the story, this movie stil works whereas a lot of thrillers lose all their power when the is no mystery. Psycho still works every time you watch it even if it's just the main scenes because the reveal of Norman dressed as his mother is so well done. Anthony Perkins looks completely unhinged.

Also, check out Black Christmas. It's weird in parts that don't work but the horror stuff really works.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
23 minutes ago, taylorannephoto said:

Haven't listened to the episode once again... still haven't listened to LotR..... but for myself even knowing the twist ending I still was shocked just by the way it was achieved in the movie. This is really well done and holds the fuck up. It's definitely also one of those movies I wish I could go back in time to see in theaters because I would love to see how people reacted to this for the first time.

I haven't listened to it yet either, but while I was watching last night, even knowing the twist, I was struck by the tension. For example, when Lila is searching Bates' house while Sam distracts Norman, there was still this fear of "Will she get caught?" And the answer is: of course not. Norman is in the Motel with Sam. The only thing in the house is a corpse. But still, knowing that there was nothing in the house that could possible hurt or catch her, I felt this anxiety for her. 

It makes me sad to hear that the second half is being called "unmemorable." I love the second half just as much as the first.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Maybe I missed a moment or two in the pod, but I think you guys are misinterpreting the second half comments.  I took them as just a comment that the main 'memes' of the film are the ones that stick in our minds: the shower, Janet Leigh, Norman/mother.  We don't remember the sister.  Or the private inspector.  They are not in our cultural memory very much at all.  I think that's quite true.  They may be in film geek's memories, but not the greater cultural one, really, at all.  I don't think Paul & Amy were dismissing the whole second half by noting this.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
14 minutes ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Maybe I missed a moment or two in the pod, but I think you guys are misinterpreting the second half comments.  I took them as just a comment that the main 'memes' of the film are the ones that stick in our minds: the shower, Janet Leigh, Norman/mother.  We don't remember the sister.  Or the private inspector.  They are not in our cultural memory very much at all.  I think that's quite true.  They may be in film geek's memories, but not the greater cultural one, really, at all.  I don't think Paul & Amy were dismissing the whole second half by noting this.

I'll give it relisten but at the end when discussing its place on the list Amy basically says she's not sure because of the second half not being memorable. That could be an argument more so for its place on the list I suppose opposed to the actual film itself. Like you said it could be in film geek's memories but not the public's but most of the public doesn't know anything about Citizen Kane and that doesn't stop it from being one.

Edit:

Just relistened to the end again and Amy calls the Sam and Lila moments puttering about and just packing peanuts. Then later says that half the movie could not exist and it would be fine. I was getting mixed up with Paul's comments on Platoon a little. Still I think calling half this movie filler and not needed is highly dismissive of a lot of great stuff.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

Loved this episode. But feel like you missed the boat on Van Zant's 1998 remake. When he was on WTF? thsi summer, Gus Van Zant explained what he was thinking when he decided to remake the famed flick, which began as an idea in a studio meeting in the 1980s: 

"During one of the meetings, Casey Silver at Universal brought in all of his vice presidents, and one guy was head of the library, and he said, ‘In the library we have old films that you could remake, we have scripts that haven’t been made yet that you could make,’ and it just reminded me of that thing that they wanted to do, which is remake something. And I said, ‘What you guys haven’t done is try to take a hit and remake it exactly. Rather than remake it and put a new spin on it, just remake it for real,’ because I’d never seen that done yet as an experiment. The whole thing seemed experimental to me anyway so I thought why not, and they laughed, they thought it was silly, ridiculous, absurd, and they left—they said, ‘We won’t be doing that.’”

After "Good Will Hunting" was nominated for a bunch of Oscars, Universal came knocking, and so: 

"My agent was saying, ‘Universal really wants to do deal with you, have you got anything for them?’ And I was like, ‘Universal, Universal…oh yeah, tell them Pyscho, frame-by-frame, new cast, in color, and that’s the idea,’ and then my agent calls back and says, ‘They think that’s fantastic.’ So all of a sudden they were in.”

Sure, it bombed. BUt to Van Zant it was a worthy experiment: 

"the idea was whether or not you could remake something and it would repeat the box office. That was the sort of weird science experiment… ”

So, it was not a case of him exercising his ego, or him trying to mimic what Hitchcock did after the success of NBNW by making a challenging movie (as Amy suggests), but simply a giant meta-middle finger experiment to the remake-obsessed studios of the 90s.   

Share this post


Link to post
25 minutes ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Maybe I missed a moment or two in the pod, but I think you guys are misinterpreting the second half comments.  I took them as just a comment that the main 'memes' of the film are the ones that stick in our minds: the shower, Janet Leigh, Norman/mother.  We don't remember the sister.  Or the private inspector.  They are not in our cultural memory very much at all.  I think that's quite true.  They may be in film geek's memories, but not the greater cultural one, really, at all.  I don't think Paul & Amy were dismissing the whole second half by noting this.

This is kind of strange to me because if I asked anyone who hadn't seen it recently to describe the beginning of the movie, I bet few people remember Janet Leigh is having an affair. I certainly forgot it. I knew she stole the money, drives to the motel, shower scene. But I bet a lot of people don't even remember why she's at the hotel.

Honestly, the second half has super memorable scenes for me. As stated before, I think the reversal of Norman dressed as his mother is excellent. I think of the sister going upstairs in the house. I think of Norman's crazy face in the final shot.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

Well, as Paul said, they weren't having an affair!  But I think that emphasizes my point: the impactful 'meme' scenes we remember certainly swamp the patient build-ups.  I mean, those build-ups are what create tension and make the movie so much better, but that's not what makes an impact on the culture.  I mean, Janet Leigh in a bra on a bed isn't the part we all remember, it's the shower scene, right?  We remember Norman dressed as the mother, but nobody knows the actress who played the sister that led up to that.  The guest made a documentary about the shower scene, not the sister. Why is that?  *shrug* 

I think the memes of this movie definitely distort the view of what it actually is (and maybe even hurt its rep - and maybe Amy's comments seem to signify that).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
1 minute ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Well, as Paul said, they weren't having an affair!  But I think that emphasizes my point: the impactful 'meme' scenes we remember certainly swamp the patient build-ups.  I mean, those build-ups are what create tension and make the movie so much better, but that's not what makes an impact on the culture.  I mean, Janet Leigh in a bra on a bed isn't the part we all remember, it's the shower scene, right?  We remember Norman dressed as the mother, but nobody knows the actress who played the sister that led up to that.  The guest made a documentary about the shower scene, not the sister. Why is that?  *shrug* 

I think the memes of this movie definitely distort the view of what it actually is (and maybe even hurt its rep - and maybe Amy's comments seem to signify that).

Weirdly, I remember her in the bra but that's probably due to the fact that her bra changes color. It goes from white in the beginning to black after she steals the money. I don't remember the white bra but I do remember her in the black bra.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

Don't take it personally, I imagine most of us here also remember these parts.  I just mean in general, culture-wise.  There's a few scenes from Psycho that are imprinted on the culture though, and her romance isn't one of them.  

For example, I just typed "psycho" into the twitter gif search.  These are the scenes that come up:

200w_d.gif?cid=e826c9fc5bbf6d486564354e7

200w_d.gif?cid=e826c9fc5bbf6d486564354e7

200w_d.gif?cid=e826c9fc5bbf6d486564354e7

200w_d.gif?cid=e826c9fc5bbf6d486564354e7

200w_d.gif?cid=e826c9fc5bbf6d486564354e7

basically it's a bunch from the shower scene, Janet driving, and the creepier Norman scenes. I definitely think the view of this film over time has been distorted by the prevalence (and power!) of these particular images/scenes.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, Cam Bert said:

Edit:

Just relistened to the end again and Amy calls the Sam and Lila moments puttering about and just packing peanuts. Then later says that half the movie could not exist and it would be fine. I was getting mixed up with Paul's comments on Platoon a little. Still I think calling half this movie filler and not needed is highly dismissive of a lot of great stuff.

Yea I just relistened to the end too.  You're right, Amy is more questioning of the second half part.  It's definitely an interesting conversation though about the structure of the film I think that they maybe should've gone into a little more. 

I am struck by what Paul said about just checking a box to be like 'yes to Psycho' was something I absolutely considered too, and maybe even try to wrestle with every week on these movies. I saw a lot of Letterboxd ratings of this beforehand, everyone has it 5 stars, and I hadn't seen it in over years.  Is it my inclination to be like 'yes like it too' or do I really?  I'm trying my best to step back when I think of these movies.  Do I like it because I should, or because I do? (I came out on this one that I do.)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
36 minutes ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Don't take it personally, I imagine most of us here also remember these parts.  I just mean in general, culture-wise.  There's a few scenes from Psycho that are imprinted on the culture though, and her romance isn't one of them.  

For example, I just typed "psycho" into the twitter gif search.  These are the scenes that come up:

200w_d.gif?cid=e826c9fc5bbf6d486564354e7

200w_d.gif?cid=e826c9fc5bbf6d486564354e7

200w_d.gif?cid=e826c9fc5bbf6d486564354e7

200w_d.gif?cid=e826c9fc5bbf6d486564354e7

200w_d.gif?cid=e826c9fc5bbf6d486564354e7

basically it's a bunch from the shower scene, Janet driving, and the creepier Norman scenes. I definitely think the view of this film over time has been distorted by the prevalence (and power!) of these particular images/scenes.

I'll say 40% of these pictures are from the second half.😉

I'm not taking it personally. I just think, at least from a visual perspective, people really do remember the second half. It occurs to me people don't remember much of the second half from a narrative perspective though (until the last couple minutes of course). That's kind of interesting to me because the second half is so important to the story and the mythology of the movie. Without the second half, the mother is the killer which is a way different movie.

I admit that I can summarize a lot of the first half, then I think "then a guy comes around and solves the crime when he pulls the car from the swamp" before detailing the ending. But visually, I remember the second half just as much.

EDIT:  I guess a good way to answer this is just ask everyone else here. Am I wrong that people think of the second half? Do people remember up through the shower scene then skip to the reveal? Do people really remember the first half befor the motel?

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, grudlian. said:

EDIT:  I guess a good way to answer this is just ask everyone else here. Am I wrong that people think of the second half? Do people remember up through the shower scene then skip to the reveal? Do people really remember the first half befor the motel?

I'll square this circle and say that I think the movie is structured in a way that makes you remember the "high points" (the shower scene and the reveal of Norman as the mother) and kind of forget most of the stuff in between. But that doesn't mean any of it is unnecessary or could be removed. You need the long, meticulous setup to make the "big bang" moments hit harder.

I was thinking that this movie was structured like a symphony, with two major "movements" that crescendo and then recede (so maybe it's more like a half-symphony). In that way it's appropriate that the film opens with a credit sequence that flashes the words at us while the Herrmann score goes through all of its major themes. It's the overture. After the last big reveal there's another "cool-down" scene with the psychiatrist explaining Norman's condition (this part maybe does run a little too long), before going out on a final unsettling note with the close-up of Norman's face.

Hitchcock talked about how this movie just works on the purity of its cinema, and I think that's right. Even when you already know the story, the whole thing is just so masterfully orchestrated, in the marriage of sound and visuals, that the scenes all work anyway.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

I'll square this circle and say that I think the movie is structured in a way that makes you remember the "high points" (the shower scene and the reveal of Norman as the mother) and kind of forget most of the stuff in between. But that doesn't mean any of it is unnecessary or could be removed. You need the long, meticulous setup to make the "big bang" moments hit harder.

I was thinking that this movie was structured like a symphony, with two major "movements" that crescendo and then recede (so maybe it's more like a half-symphony). In that way it's appropriate that the film opens with a credit sequence that flashes the words at us while the Herrmann score goes through all of its major themes. It's the overture. After the last big reveal there's another "cool-down" scene with the psychiatrist explaining Norman's condition (this part maybe does run a little too long), before going out on a final unsettling note with the close-up of Norman's face.

Hitchcock talked about how this movie just works on the purity of its cinema, and I think that's right. Even when you already know the story, the whole thing is just so masterfully orchestrated, in the marriage of sound and visuals, that the scenes all work anyway.

I totally agree! I feel like this is even represented visually how each act ends with a shot of Norman and a shot of the swamp - each successive shot showing Norman's descent and his mother's ascension. 

It starts with Norman in decent lighting nervously chewing on candy corn as he watches Marion's car sink:

piii1.jpg

The next is after he's disposed of Arbosgast. It's more sinister and cast mostly in shadows:

0721.jpg

And finally in the police station when "mother" has completely taken over:

th?id=OIP.tkO-ox6n0Jnt4qsZy4D-WQHaD_&pid

I'm sorry, I still haven't listened to the ep yet so I'm not sure how much they get into all of this, but what I think it is important to remember that Norman is the protagonist - not Lila, Sam, Arbogast or even Marion. The movie is about his struggle, and ultimate failure, to break free from his mother. So, I don't think anything is filler. It's all needed to watch that struggle.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

I'll jump in as the philistine on this one.  I had somehow managed to go my whole life without seeing Psycho until this week.  But of course because it is so much a part of the culture I knew all of the major beats.  And for me personally this movie didn't hold up to the classic trope of "it's even better watching it once you know the twist".  It might be unfair for me to judge it that way since I didn't experience the shock firsthand and then rewatch it.  It was like my first watch was the rewatch.  With the tension mostly removed I just wasn't very engaged.

To avoid having more pitiable creatures like me created I think we'll have to have watching this movie added to the national elementary school curriculum. 

  • Like 2
  • Sad 2

Share this post


Link to post
3 minutes ago, ChunkStyle said:

I'll jump in as the philistine on this one.  I had somehow managed to go my whole life without seeing Psycho until this week.  But of course because it is so much a part of the culture I knew all of the major beats.  And for me personally this movie didn't hold up to the classic trope of "it's even better watching it once you know the twist".  It might be unfair for me to judge it that way since I didn't experience the shock firsthand and then rewatch it.  It was like my first watch was the rewatch.  With the tension mostly removed I just wasn't very engaged.

To avoid having more pitiable creatures like me created I think we'll have to have watching this movie added to the national elementary school curriculum. 

Man, ChunkStyle. First you ruin Real Genius for me and now you trash my favorite movie. 

giphy.gif

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
3 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

Man, ChunkStyle. First you ruin Real Genius for me and now you trash my favorite movie. 

 

I know I am in the wrong on this one.  And nothing can ruin Real Genius.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
10 minutes ago, ChunkStyle said:

 And nothing can ruin Real Genius.

giphy.gif

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
38 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

It starts with Norman in decent lighting nervously chewing on candy corn as he watches Marion's car sink:

This is subtle foreshadowing that Norman is the real monster in the movie.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
51 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

And finally in the police station when "mother" has completely taken over:

th?id=OIP.tkO-ox6n0Jnt4qsZy4D-WQHaD_&pid

There also a subtle hint after it fades out from Norman's face in the last scene -- you can faintly see the skull of his mother's corpse superimposed over his own face.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×