Movie Review: ‘Psycho’ loses all Hitchcock built

by Jennifer Parsons
Editor in Chief

“Psycho,” quite understandably, took off in the 1960s when slayings and horrors were quite new and taboo. In the ’90s? Fat chance.

Young audiences today are exposed to “Friday the 13th,” “Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Scream” and “Urban Legend,” all of which contain a more twisted plot and gorier murder scenes than original director Alfred Hitchcock had ever dreamed of.

Marion Crane (Anne Heche, “Six Days, Seven Nights”) lives in Phoenix, Ariz., as a single working girl who quite often sneaks away on lunch breaks to meet her boyfriend Sam Loomis (Viggo Mortensen, “A Perfect Murder”). Marion wishes they could get married, although Sam, living in the back of his shop, has no money because of alimony.

After her boss gives her $400,000 to deposit into the bank, Marion throws caution to the wind and splits town with the cash. She heads toward California to find Sam.

Long hours of driving and her conscience make her both physically and emotionally exhausted. Marian pulls off the dark highway and up to the Bates Motel, run by mentally unbalanced and psychotic Norman Bates (Vince Vaughn, “Swingers”).

Norman treats Marian with hospitality, giving her a warm bed and fixing her dinner. She converses with him and soon realizes he lives with his sick, deranged mother in the huge house next to the motel.

Marian politely excuses herself and goes into her room to take a shower and go to bed. While in the shower, mother unexpectedly hacks her to death with an ax.

And so the movie continues.

It seems like forever before the first horror scene enters the picture. Maybe that is because viewers today are used to jumping in their seats within the first 10 minutes.

The original “Psycho” went beyond the initial realm of motion pictures. It did things like show the first toilet ever flushing and killed the main heroine after viewers had gotten to know and like her — visuals rare to films of the time.

This is nothing new today. Young audiences are uninterested in “Psycho” or let down once they have seen it. Old audiences see no purpose in “Psycho,” considering director Gus Van Sant (“Good Will Hunting”) copied the original version to exactness. No twists, no turns, just color. Oh, except for the added, oh-so-humorous masturbation scene.

Audiences today can only appreciate “Psycho,” (rated R for for violence, sexuality and nudity) in its originality, with the mind frame of knowing it is one of the first in its kind.

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