Friday, September 1, 2017

Psycho Movie Marathon

We're taking a little break to bring from Drinks with Reads this week to bring you, Snacks and a Movie Marathon with all four Psycho movies AND the series. Sharon Long has a lot planned for you this three-day weekend, so let's begin...

Psycho is one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best-known films and scared people out of their wits in 1960. Sharon Long is here to talk about a Psycho weekend. First read the book, watch all 4 movies and the entire tv series. Showers are optional and taken at your own risk.

The Book
Psycho written by Robert Bloch in 1959 was based on a Wisconsin man, Ed Gein, who led a dual life and was a psychotic murder. Norman Bates is reading a book in the parlor and turns on the fringed lamp as it starting to get dark. Norman has lived his entire life, 40 years, in this home. He is reading a grotesque book about making a drum from the body of an enemy. Mother walks in and scolds him for not turning on the hotel sign when it got dark. He tells her because of the rain and the new highway, no guests will be coming anyway. Mother taunts him, calling him a boy with no gumption, only half a man, who will never leave or grow up. It goes on and on with Mother telling Norman he is fat and a Momma’s boy. Norman cannot take it anymore. He tells himself if she does not shut up, this time he will strangle her.
Mary Crane, from Texas, is driving in the steady rain. She is exhausted after driving18 hours on her way to Fairvale to see Sam Loomis. Mary thinks back to the real estate office and being asked to make the $40,000 deposit before the bank closed because it is Friday. She explains she has a headache and will go home after the bank. Instead Mary packs a suitcase, takes the money, and jumps in her car. She starts driving buying two different cars on her way so she cannot be tracked. All Mary thinks about is the look on Sam’s face when she shows up with the money. Now they can pay off the rest of his debts and get married. As the fatigue is setting in, Mary sees the Bates Motel sign and pulls in.
Norman rushes down to the hotel explaining he was late because he was putting his Mother to bed. He checks in her and gives her room #1, the one closest to the office. Mary is so tried and hungry and asks where is the closest restaurant. Norman tells her it is in Fairvale, 10 miles away. He invites her up to the house for a snack and coffee instead. Mary accepts and says she will be up shortly. Norman goes to the house to get ready. When she knocks on the door a few minutes later, she hears Mother yelling at Norman not to bring that woman into her home. Norman lets her in and they talk over sandwiches about how hard it is dealing with his failing Mother and her mental state. Mary tells Norman he should institutionalize her and live his life. Realizing how she has upset him, Mary walks back down to the hotel and decides to take a shower. This will be the last thing she ever does.

The Movie
Psycho the black and white R rated movie released in 1960. Anthony Perkins starred as Norman Bates, Janet Leigh as Marion Crane, and Vera Miles as Lila Crane. It is Marion Crane in the movie versus Mary Crane in the book. The movie opens with Marion and Sam Loomis getting dressed after their afternoon tryst in the hotel. They are in Phoenix versus Texas and Sam has an ex-wife. Marion steals $30,000 instead of the $40,000 in the book. On her way to Fairvale, she pulls over in her car to sleep and is awaken by a policeman knocking on her window. She hurries on to the next town and buys a different car but notices the same policeman is across the street watching her. Marion drives off to Fairvale stopping at the Bates Motel to get out of the rain. 
Another noticeable difference is the physical appearance of Norman Bates. In the book, he is a pudgy, 40-year-old with balding sandy hair and rimless glasses. In the movie, Norman is thin, tall with dark hair and no glasses. Norman invites Marion to the office for sandwiches and milk. While he goes to get the food, Marion tidies up in her room. She goes to close the drapes and sees a woman in the window at the house watching her. 
I recommend watching the extras which includes a tour of the lot by Alfred Hitchcock. Plus, you can watch the shower scene with and without music. 
Notable Facts
The book manuscript was bought anonymously by Alfred Hitchcock for $9,500. The movie shattered attendance records in 1960 and with the first 3,750 dates netted $7 Million. Hitchcock was adamant that once the film started, no one would be admitted into the theatre.
Anthony Perkins agent told him, “Hitchcock wants you in his new picture” and in those days, that was all that needed to be said.

Janet Leigh’s shower scene was so terrifying, it put her off showers for the rest of her life.

The iconic shower scene which lasted only 18 seconds had 70 camera angles and took a week to film. A nude body double was hired for the body shots. Only Janet’s head, shoulder and hands were filmed. The blood was chocolate syrup. 

Hitchcock did make a cameo appearance in Psycho. About five minutes into the movie, he is seen outside of Marion’s office wearing a cowboy hat. 

Psycho II
The first sequel was released in 1983 and was a box office success 23 years after the original film. Anthony Perkins reprised the role of Norman Bates. Meg Tilly starred as Mary Summers and Vera Miles returned as Lila Loomis. Norman Bates is in court awaiting his release. He has been institutionalized 22 years for murdering 7 people. Lila Lommis, Marion’s sister, is violently opposed to his release. However, the court believes Norman’s sanity has been restored. His doctor drives his back to his home and the Bates Motel. Norman has a job as a cook’s helper at the local diner. There he meets Mary Summers, a fellow employee. She has been thrown out by her boyfriend and Norman suggests she stay with him at his home. Norman is honest with Mary and explains about his past problems but assures her he is better now. A true friendship begins between the two of them; however, it is not long before Mother begins speaking again to Norman. 

Psycho III
The second sequel released in 1986 which Anthony Perkins directed and starred in as Norman Bates. Diana Scarwid was Maureen Coyle and Jeff Fahey was Duane Duke. Maureen, a former nun, leaves the convent after another nun falls to her death. She begins hitchhiking and is picked up by Duane Duke. He makes a pass at her and she flees the car in the rain. Maureen ends up at the Bates Motel as a guest and Duane starts working there as the Assistant Manager. Maureen tries to commit suicide in the shower but is saved by Norman. She ends up staying at the hotel because she reminds Norman of someone he used to know, Marion Crane. This makes Mother very angry and Norman is told to get rid of the whore. 

Psycho IV: The Beginning
This made-for-cable film released in 1990 which is both the third sequel and a prequel. Anthony Perkins had creative control but turned down the role of director. Olivia Hussey starred as Norma Bates and Henry Thomas was the young Norman. A radio show is having a program on matricide. One of the guests, a doctor, speaks about another a young man who 30 years ago became his mother and killed as her. Norman calls into the show as Ed to talk about killing his mother and his past. There are several flashbacks of the young Norman and his Mother’s early relationship. This is personally my least favorite of the sequels. For a look into the younger Norman, I suggest the Bates Motel series.

Bates Motel TV Series
A psychological horror drama television series which ran on A&E for 5 seasons. The series won 3 People’s Choice Awards and was a prequel and reimaging of Psycho. Verma Farmiga starred as Norma Bates and Freddie Highmore as Norman. The series moves from Norma first buying the Bates Motel to their years running it together. Then to Norman’s blackouts and his strange relationship with his Mother. Norman attempts to led a normal life going to school and having a girlfriend, however, Mother is always present with her advice. Bates Motel is filled with great characters including Norman’s half-brother, his uncle, and others.

Snack Suggestions
While watching Psycho, I recommend popcorn with chocolate drizzle.

Norman is a huge fan of Mother’s toasted cheese sandwiches with milk which is good anytime.

Psycho is my favorite of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies. Anthony Perkins will always be Norman Bates. Whenever I think of Norma, I picture Verma Farmiga who was outstanding portraying both good and evil. 

Freddie Highmore is a marvelous young Norman and has the same creepy eyes and looks as Anthony Perkins. It is noteworthy that Freddie is an English actor with a strong accent which is not present in Bates Motel. 

There are several similarities within the book, movies and tv series. Mother is always in the window and there is always rain. Norman can be heard screaming, “Mother! Oh God! Mother! Blood! Blood!” There is a shower scene usually seen through a peephole and the bodies always end up in the swamp. 

I hope you enjoy your Psycho weekend. Remember always listen to your Mother and “we all go a little mad sometimes.”

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