Sins of Omission: ‘Psycho’ (1960)


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These are sins before horror. I am here to make amends.

Welcome to the new Sins of Omission column here at Horror’s Not Dead. It’s not really new, it’s just renamed. Think Tide with Color Guard; same soap, new label. This iteration is going to cover a huge sin of omission: Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece Psycho.

The Omission

Psycho is the the story of Marion Crane (played by Janet Leigh) a secretary who embezzles $40,000 from one of her employer’s customers. Marion makes a run for it, eventually checking into The Bates Motel, a roadside hotel owned and operated by the Bates family.  Marion is checked in by Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). Norman takes a liking to Marion, inviting her to dinner. Before dinner Marion hears an argument between Norman and his overbearing mother.

Soon after dinner we witness on of the most iconic scenes in all of cinema: the murder of Marion Crane in the shower. I have viewed this scene dozens if not hundreds of times, and it stands up to the test of time. A women at her most vulnerable is murdered by a complete psychopath. The remainder of the film is following Marion’s friends and family in their search for her. Eventually the family figures out what happened.

I have two reasons for my sin. First, I was not born when it was made, Psycho came out a decade before my birth. Secondly, and horrifyingly simply, I just never got around to seeing it.

Halloween White Elephant: The Birds (1963)


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From Jacob Hall–“Contrary to popular belief, Hitchcock didn’t make many true horror films. However, two of the three horror films that he did make are undisputed classics that threaten to overshadow the rest of his career. Unlike PSYCHO, THE BIRDS is a very traditional horror film in structure, only paving new ground with the unsettling, open-ended conclusion. It’s the epitome of the ‘animals attack people for no apparent reason’ subgenre, a film that has the patience to spend its first half introducing its characters before putting them through a living hell. The effects are top notch, the performances genuine, and the film’s final thirty minutes are one of the most harrowing siege sequences put on film. This is a horror masterpiece if one ever existed. I’m surprised that John, the ultimate fan of old school horror, hasn’t seen this, but I’m incredibly excited to finally introduce him to it.”

Oh my god, this movie had, like, a lot of birds in it!  Mostly seagulls and crows, but there were also a pair of lovebirds too, and you just knew they were going to snap any second, ‘cause these birds be crazy up here in Bodega Bay!  “What did you think of The Birds?”




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