Halloween Special: Hitchcock’s Horror Masterpiece


Eli Teeter, Writer




With Halloween right around the corner, it is only fair that a horror movie should be given the spotlight, and in this case, what better movie than to look at the original Psycho from 1960. Alfred Hitchcock’s suspenseful, horror classic, is a staple of the slasher film genre and does not fail to make one’s hair stand on its end.  A fair warning: although this film is very non-explicit, it is still a horrifying movie, so keep that in mind before you watch it.

Psycho is no movie for the impatient, but to those who wait, it does not disappoint. It starts off by showcasing a seemingly normal woman, Marion Crane, who lives an average life, working and living in Phoenix, Arizona. She is unsatisfied with her partner, Sam Loomis, and unsatisfied with her job as a secretary. On this particular day of work though, she takes an impulsive turn, ultimately in her worst interest. A very large client of her boss is busy flaunting around his money, particularly $40,000 dollars in cash he has with him, handing it off to Marion to place in the bank. Incorporating inflation, that’d be roughly 350,000. Marion, seemingly fine aside from a headache, asks to take off sick and to go place this large sum of money in the bank. After being off, she goes to do just that. With one minor change, that money will not be making it to the bank. In a spur of the moment act, she takes the money, packs up, and heads towards California, but not without being seen by her boss on the way out of Phoenix. Of course, he brushes it off as nothing and continues on. 

Driving and driving along, petrified of what could happen to her if she is caught; that night she pulls over from exhaustion, and heads to bed. The next morning she is awakened by a policeman, who questions her. She tries to explain, but ultimately comes off rushed and rude. One could even say, suspicious. After the officer lets her off the hook, he follows her, all the way to Los Angeles. Although she does not know this, she feels safe at last. Only when she goes to a dealership to switch cars for something off the radar, the officer is sitting and watching, wondering what exactly this woman is up to. She leaves in a hurry and pushes forward, afraid and questioning herself every step of the way. During the long night drive, gusts and bellows of rain push back and she is essentially forced to stop at a little motel: The Bates Motel, 12 Cabins, 12 Vacancies. Here we meet the oddball, mother-obsessed character that is Norman Bates, you may have heard his name before. 

Marion has an ordinary yet strange interaction with Norman, then goes into her room for the night, regretting everything done in the past few days. She plans to go back to Phoenix the next day and set back into place all her wrongdoings. Unfortunately for her, the Bates Motel will be the last place she ever checks into. What unravels next is Hitchcock’s magnum opus of suspense, terror, and conflict, all revolving around this mysterious yet unforgettable place; and that is the Bates Motel.

Psycho will sit you right on the edge of your seat, timid and curious. Then it will immediately defy your expectations of what is really going on. Alfred Hitchcock, the Master of Suspense, set the groundwork and foundation for what a horror movie should look like with this cinematic classic, and of course, it is only tradition to watch a horror flick on the 31st. Psycho is perfect for this, so get with some friends, huddle upon the couch, and get ready for a heck of a ride. Just make sure that when you turn the lights out, that you lock every single door in the house; you never know what, or maybe who, is standing on the other side. 

There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.” -Alfred Hitchock