Trick & Treat for October 31st:
PSYCHO (1960; with Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles; directed by Alfred Hitchcock)
“We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven’t you?” –Norman Bates
“Yes, and just one time can be enough.” –Marion Crane
This horror film, “the picture you must see from the beginning”, introduced the modern era of horror films. Hitchcock’s PSYCHO has frights, thievery, suspicion, despair, desperation, disease, sadness, foreboding and decay. Unlike many of the contemporary films it set the stage for, it’s not afraid to be subtle and very, very serious. (What few funny spots there are are of the nervous-laughter variety). We’re only a few minutes into the film when we’re greeted with a familiar Hitchcock obsession–mothers–a subject introduced by none other than Alfred’s surrogate, his daughter, Patricia. Later, of course, there are some real issues with nervous Norman Bates’ mom. She looms over her son in the same manner as her sinisterly ornate, gloomy house dominates over the very plain and unassuming, prostrate Bates Motel below.
When you’re not being scared by the showery murder in cabin number one, or creeped-out by Bernard Herrmann’s music, you can have fun noting the various “doubles” and moments of foreshadowing. Such as the painting behind Marion at the real estate office, offering a glimpse of the landscape Marion will soon encounter on her frantic flight from Phoenix. Then there is Norman’s reflection in the dark motel window as he speaks to Marion (“Mother… isn’t herself today”), and the similarity of the names, Norman/Marion. Besides the obvious bird reference in Norman’s taxidermy, there is Marion’s surname, “Crane”, and Norman’s, “Bates”, and also his munching of candy as if he were a bird–a predatory one.
Even if you don’t pass the time like Norman (“My hobby is stuffing things…”), we can think of no better way to conclude 31 Bites and 31 Frights than to suggest you gather friends together to watch perhaps the most outrageous cinematic nut of all, while you, um, stuff yourself–with a NutRageous.
“You know what I think? I think we’re all in our private traps, clamped in them, and none of us can ever climb out. We scratch and claw… but only at the air, only at each other, and for all of it, we never budge an inch.” –Norman Bates
Who wants to wait until the 31st to wallow in Halloween indulgences and scary movies?! Home Projectionist doesn’t! And so we’ll have pairings of 31 Frights and 31 Bites every one of October’s 31 nights: a scary, snack size movie “trick”, and a delicious “treat” to go along with it.