I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Awesome Adaptations (62) Psycho

Posted by Charlene // Tags: ,
This meme celebrates an awesome adaptation related to a weekly category. Any format of adaptation (television series, film, web series, etc.) is acceptable as long as it is based in some form on a book. Awesome Adaptations was created by Alisa Selene at PictureMeReading.

An Awesomely Horrific Adaptation
Title: Psycho
Adapted from: Psycho by Robert Bloch

I haven't read the book that this Hitchcock film is based on, but from what I've heard it's pretty faithful to the book.  But there are some important changes made in this adaptation.  The book is inspired by a real-life serial killer and has more than one of the killer's murders detailed in the narrative but Hitchcock chose to focus on one, and use that to tell Norman Bates' story.  Norman Bates is also a lot more deceptive in the film because he looks so clean-cut and acts so mannerly.  Which of course makes the subsequent events all the more shocking and horrific.

I think the best part of this adaptation is in how Hitchcock deceives the viewers.  If you weren't familiar with the story and went into this film blind, it starts off so innocuously.  Marion has just stolen lots of money from her boss and is making a run for it.  She seems like a nice person generally, she just made a mistake, and while the film is very tense as she's trying elude the notice of policemen, there's really no hint about what is coming next.  It's a stellar twist to have your main character suddenly and unexpectedly killed within the first half of the movie.  And it's why this film can be so disturbing.  Now with the way films are made today, there would have been a lot more gore and horrible flashes of the murder to further shock the audience, but Alfred Hitchcock's elegant directing kept the full horror of the moment with sparing shots that lets the audience fill in the blanks.

Compared to horror films today, this film on the surface may seem rather tame, but it's deeply psychologically disturbing and an excellent tension filled mystery.  It's a classic movie for a reason and rightfully one of the top horror films ever made. 

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  1. I haven't watched any of Hitchcock's films except a bit of The Birds in a high school English class, but I recently read a Hitchcock biography which made me quite curious to see the films they were talking about. Your review makes this sound really interesting too, so I'm hoping to make time to see it soon :)

    1. I'm always surprised when people say they haven't seen a Hitchcock film - they are such classics, and really all of them are so good! I hope you'll enjoy Psycho - it's very meditative in it's horror, but I find that very interesting!

  2. I am soooo late on this, but I just wanted to say I think Psycho is a fantastic suspense movie! And I had no idea it was based on a book AND real-life events!

    1. Yes, kinda scary that it is based on a true story! I love Hitchcock in general, and I just love the way he crafts the story on film!