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You Must Watch Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ From the Beginning

Confused?

Alfred Hitchcock was a master showman, but wait until you hear how he “tricked” the audience into seeing Psycho back in 1960.

The official Oscar’s YouTube uploaded this historical mini-doc that recounts the theatrical release of Hitchcock’s horror classic, which starred Janet Leigh as a secretary who embezzles $40,000 from her employer’s client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel (the Bates Motel) run by a young man (Anthony Perkins) under the domination of his mother.

While Hitchcock asked viewers to avoid spoiling the big twist for others, the actual selling point was that one had to see the movie from the beginning. No, this wasn’t a request, it was required. Seems like a novel idea, no? Seriously, there was a point in our history where movies weren’t always seen from beginning to end, as many would trickle in after dinner or drinks, and possibly even stay through the start of the next showing. It’s such a fractured experience that’s still the social norm in places like India, which is why many of their films have no real structure (the goal is to make it entertaining at any point in the movie).

But I digress, could you imagine walking into Psycho and not even knowing that Marion Crane had been murdered by Norman Bates? It would kill the film’s momentum, as that was initially its biggest surprise, a twist in the first act! Since when had the movie’s protagonist been murdered in the first 40 minutes? The shower scene is also Psycho’s centerpiece, and Hitchcock knew that missing the first chunk of the film would result in poor word of mouth, or maybe even a complete misunderstanding of it. By forcing theaters and the audience to show up on time, it revolutionized how we see films, which is now highlighted by several post-credit scenes.



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COMMENTS

4 Comments
  • oh_riginal

    I wish I could have seen this movie when it was released (I was born in 1980 and had the movie spoiled long before I ever saw it). Even still, it’s a great movie and I revisit it once every other year, if not every year.

    I love that it has had such a big influence on cinema. Plenty of movies have pulled off the early-protagonist-death trick that this movie originated. A Nightmare On Elm Street, Scream, and even forgotten action flicks such as Executive Decision could be said to owe their trick-deaths to Psycho.

    Damnit, I’m going to have to watch it soon. Stay away from the remake, everyone!

  • Ted C

    Can we stop shortening the word “documentary” for the love of God! How hard is it to type out a complete word? Really!?

    • rabid_god

      Language is regressing. Within a few decades all words will just be reduced to their first letter and every sentence will appear as an acronym or initialism (like LOL or OMG today). Within a century everyone will return to speaking in grunts, clicks, and glottal stops. We’ll have to develop an underground for people who want to continue speaking and writing using complete words.

  • rabid_god

    I agree it was an insult, but I don’t think you need to trick anyone. At this point I’m fairly certain everyone knows how horrible it is. If they don’t then they probably deserve to watch it as punishment.

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