Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writers:Joseph Stefano, Robert Bloch
An untainted masterpiece, Hitchcock proves superbly that he had no impediments to conjure a classic B-movie like other lionized names like Roger Corman, George A. Romero and Russ Meyer etc., and all the more, he could outshine them by a notch.
The film is an authentic template of a first-rate thriller/horror opus, which I will not bother to outline the details (for instance the over-examined bathroom slaughter scene) inasmuch as there are a wealth of professional dissertations everywhere in the digital era. I simply admire the dexterity of the film in exuding its horror-arousing atmosphere. Hitchcock manufactures one of the most disturbingly creepy-cum-maniac killer in the history of cinema. The Oedipus complex patient Norman Bates is a lively product of the hermetic seclusion amid people and a emblem of the loss of morality, also the kill-after-the-epiphany scenario has never blemished its charisma even after 50 years.
The performance is uneven, in spite of the fact that the film earned the one-and-only BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS Oscar nomination for Janet Leigh (which sounds not equivalent to her monumental fame though), a leading-actress-goes-supporting set-up was an unanticipated stunt for its audience at that time, which is rarely seen presently. Anthony Perkins has such a multi-faced once-in-a-lifetime role and it would be an unforgivable sin if he had ruined it (three sequels are perfectly justifiable spin-offs). Vera Miles, John Gavin plus other supporting roles, on the other hand, are the victims of Hitchcock’s “actor equals animal” methodology, they are more like props than real flesh.
Arguably this is my favorite Hitchcock’s film right now, I think only VERTIGO (1958) and NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) might have the chance to overthrow it from the throne. I know it is definitely my fault and I still don’t figure out how could I miss this two.
P.S.: The top-notch status of the film intrigued a faithfully-copied remake by Gus Van Sant in 1998, whose ill-fated destination was preordained, which I am quite interested in as well after watching this original work.