I always feel hesitant writing reviews for films so universally “watched” as Psycho. I want to get my thoughts into writing and yet I know that if I write a review then people will know I have only just watched a film considered by most, if not all, film buffs to be classic, sacred and essential viewing. So, in the 5-6 years I had been religiously watching films before I watched Psycho I was technically not the film buff I liked to call myself. I didn’t deserve the ‘buff’. But I’m not so sure about that.
I have watched a decent amount of films. Let’s get that out-of-the-way. Considering my younger age, most film critics have had decades and I have had mere years. I am constantly catching up and there will never be enough time in my life to watch everything. I know that. You know that. Everyone who watches films for a living knows that. With the plethora of films released every day it seems stupid to even consider trying to watch all these films. Although I don’t have much of a life I have enough of one, that I don’t want it overshadowed by the daunting task of watching EVERY FILM EVER MADE.
It seems that the only way a film critic can be taken seriously, there thoughts be taken to note, is if there ‘watched films’ list is as big as the ego they use to boast about it.
“Oh you have never seen Jean Luc Godard’s 1963 film Contempt well then how can I trust your review on Pete’s Dragon?!”
I write reviews for the pleasure of an audience. I like to have them disagree with me or agree with me. I want to give you all my feelings about a film and if they are not taken as noteworthy because I’m not as well ‘buffed’ as other critics then so be it. It is very hard to begin writing reviews online. You have to prepare yourself for the hate. I may not be taken seriously because I have only just watched Psycho and yet I’m very happy to give you my feelings about it:
Psycho (1960) Director: Alfred Hitchcock (but you knew that)
Like Norman peering through the hole in the wall I also felt as though I was spying on a film about a man’s life, full of murder, illness and deceit. This does not mean to say I identified with the character Norman Bates. He is so far from my normal existence that it made him an extremely fascinating character to watch. Like rubber-necking on a motorway to see a crash, audiences love to see the sordid and the gruesome as long as they know they can go back to their comfy homes and it will never happen to them. I have no doubt when Psycho was released it caused horror but also fascination in the cinema audience’s minds and I have also no doubt that it still does today, perhaps in a lessened way because we have become immune to such stories depicted on-screen (another topic for another time).
Now, you can’t get very far in life without hearing about this film, it is referenced in everything from The Simpsons, Friends to Jackass: The Movie! It inspired countless spin-offs, remakes and homages. I don’t know if I’m being generous but I’d say it started a whole genre of film; The Slasher Flic. I’m still undecided whether or not I should thank Psycho for that. You can’t deny the influence of this film. So why did it take me 6 years to watch it? I accidentally discovered the ending around 4 years ago when I was a stubborn, bone-headed teenager, I was watching a top 10 video and it didn’t compute within me to turn off the list once the Psycho section had started. So yes, I knew what happened, I spoiled the ending for myself. There’s no-one else to blame but me, although at the time, I probably blamed the media (If in doubt, blame the media). But surprisingly and thankfully I felt, this didn’t spoil the film.
Unlike a Shyamalan film, Psycho is so much more than it’s twist. It is riveting from start to finish. Given the director, I wasn’t shocked by the amount of tension, superb dialogue, fantastic imagery and camera tricks on display. Psycho is an incredible piece of cinema. I could feel sad for myself that I didn’t allow myself the time to enjoy it earlier but I am only 2o, going on 21, there’s plenty of time for self-pity when I reach my 30’s. So now I’ve seen Psycho and you film boffins can forgive me and move on to the fact I’ve never seen 2001: A Space Odyssey. I will get there. I’m just starting out. Enjoy.