Psycho Review & The Fate of Hitchcock’s Female Characters

Psycho_(1960)One of the things I did during Spring Break was get caught up on some movies. These included Birdman, Nightcrawler, Lost in Translation, and even The Quiet Man – which had been collecting dust on my Netflix cue for a couple months. Perhaps the best of the bunch, however, was Alfred Hitchcock’s infamous 1960 thriller, Psycho. My decision to watch this was two-fold. Not only is it regarded as one of the best thrillers of all time (#36 on imdb top 250 – take that as you will), but it fits the topic of Alfred Hitchcock that we covered before break (“Psycho (1960).”). It was the optimum time to break open the Blu-Ray cover and pop the disc into the player.

I am happy to say that the film lived up to the hype. Very few times do I ever finish a film with the feeling that I just watched a fantastic film – perhaps one of the greatest. This was definitely the case with Psycho. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of it was how unique it felt. It is so well-ingrained into our culture that I knew a great deal of the film’s plot prior to viewing it. I knew about certain plot twists because this movie is discussed so often. Yet despite all of this the film still resonated with me. One reason for this was that though I knew Norman was his “mother,” I did not think Norman Bates would be caught. This helped the film maintain some sense of tension. Another huge reason is that Psycho really is two different stories that converge in such a way that the film does not lose any fluidity in its pacing.

Annex-Leigh-Janet-Psycho_01-255x300Our discussions on Hitchcock and the role of women in his films gave me a different way of viewing Psycho. As in Rear Window and Psycho, a woman falls victim to a man. What stood out to me, however, was that the female character unintentionally crafted her own tragic fate through her actions. In Rear Window, the wife’s nagging nature is what drove her husband mad. In Vertigo it is the woman’s role in a murder plot that results in her falling victim to the obsessive desire of the protagonist. In Psycho this trend is made the most clear. The initial protagonist, a woman, is on the run after stealing $40,000 from her employer. Desperate, she takes the back-roads and stops off at the Bates’ Motel, where she is murdered by Norman Bates. Had she not made the decisions she had, she would not have met such an end. Considering that we have discussed Hitchcock’s female characters in class something, I may discuss this topic further in an upcoming essay. It will also be interesting to see if anyone else has made similar points. To conclude, I will say that Psycho is a masterful film. Even if you know a lot about it going in, the film will still provide both great suspense, and great story.

Image 1 Source

Image 2 Source 

Sources Consulted

“Psycho (1960).” imdb.com. The Internet Movie Database. n.d. Web. 13 March 2015. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054215/

Psycho. Dir. Alfred Hitchcock. 1960. Universal, 2014. Blu-Ray.

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