What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is one of the scariest movies ever made, even though it's far less explicit than a lot of what's in theaters now. Still, this is a frightening movie, and judgment should be used about which children will enjoy it and which will find it disturbing. The famous shower scene never shows the knife touching flesh, but it's still terrifying. There are also several very frightening scenes involving a corpse. On a less scary note, a character steals money from her boss' client, and a couple is shown post-sex, though they are clothed. That said, this is a classic of filmmaking, one of the most influential and respected films ever made. It's terrifying and brilliant, and families with older children can enjoy the scares together.
What's the story?
In this Hitchcock classic, Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) steals money from her boss' client and skips town. She drives for hours, then, exhausted and nervous, stops in a remote area at the Bates Motel, run by Norman Bates (a delightfully creepy Anthony Perkins). Norman is cheerful, but he's nervous and hiding something. He invites Marion to share some dinner with him and mentions his overbearing mother (whose silhouette is seen in a window of the big looming house that sits on the hill just above the motel). Norman's hobby is taxidermy, and he also happens to have in his possession the extra key to Marion's room. ...
Is it any good?
PSYCHO is a classic, and for good reason. Everything about this film is perfection, from the gorgeous black and white cinematography to every single performance, to the famous Bernard Herrmann soundtrack, to some of the most suspenseful and frightening scenes ever filmed. Anyone who considers themselves a film buff must see this one. There is some real violence in this film, but it's not at all explicit, making it in some ways scarier than the gore-fests that are so popular now.
It's a film that works on many levels. It's truly scary, but it's also a psychological mystery and a couple of different kinds of love story. All the performances are excellent, and the screenplay is top notch, but Hitchcock is the real star, manipulating the audience in every frame, making it perfect for repeat viewing –- there's always something new to see. It's a great way to introduce older kids to Hitchcock, and may spark interest in his other wonderful films.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Hitchcock's style and techniques, and the way he uses the camera and lighting to tell the story. It's fun to go back over the film and look for clues to the ending, too.