Psycho (1960)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller, Slasher Film  |   Run Time - 109 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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In a decade in which what was acceptable onscreen would change more radically than at any other time in history, Psycho was in some ways the first shot in the battle for freer filmmaking in the 1960s. Few movies of its time were more direct and unapologetic in their violence or served it up with such disorienting abruptness or tongue-in-cheek wit. With its casual depiction of sex outside marriage, fleeting nudity, bursts of shocking violence, killing off a major character less than halfway through the movie, and focus on the psychological subtext of the murderer's personality, as well as the geometric imagery of Saul Bass's credit sequence and the percussive strings of Bernard Herrmann's score, Psycho was the film with which Hitchcock left the 1950s behind and started the 1960s with relish. Time hasn't hurt the film, either; it still generates a palpable tension and the odd chemistry between Perkins and Leigh in their dinner scene is a wonder to behold. While the film is still frightening after all these years, repeated screenings reveal a cold-blooded humor; with Psycho, Hitchcock tore asunder the audience's expectations of what a suspense film should be, and he appears to have had a wonderful time doing it.