See PSYCHO Sunday Night September 8th at the Sky View Drive-in in Lichtfield, Illinois
“She might have fooled me, but she didn’t fool my mother.”
PSYCHO screens Sunday Night September 8th at the Sky View Drive-in in Lichtfield, Il. (1500 Historic Old Route 66) This is part of the Sky View’s ‘Throwback Sundays’. The second Sunday of the month, they screen a classic movie. Admission is only $3 (free for kids under 5). The movie starts at dusk (8:00-ish). The Sky View’s site can be found HERE.
Everyone remembers the most famous scene in PSYCHO: the oft-copied but seldom equaled artistry of the shower murder, with its nerve-wracking staccato string music, its implied nudity and stabbing, and its 78 separate edits. But what everyone does not realize is that this iconic sequence – one of the most famous in film history – was actually a creative response thought up by Saul Bass and Alfred Hitchcock to avoid censorship. In 1959, censorship (the Code) was still alive and well in Hollywood, movie ratings were still years away, and Alfred Hitchcock was at a crossroads in his career. With a string of box office hits and a popular hit TV show, Hitch was one of Hollywood’s most bankable and recognizable directors. But Hitch was also troubled by the critical and box office failure of VERTIGO, one of his most personal films. He felt that his next project should be something different other than the same big studio crowd-pleasers he had built his reputation on, so when he read a review of a new novel by Robert Bloch inspired by the real-life serial killer Ed Gein , Hitch was immediately attracted to the lurid subject matter, with its themes of transvestism, incest, necrophilia, and a dose of taxidermy. Hitch began story conferences with screenwriter Joseph Stefano (later to produce TV’s OUTER LIMITS), getting more and more excited at the prospect of filming cheaply, dealing with taboo subject matter, and – most importantly – killing off his leading lady in the first act. He decided to forgo the usual studio crew for one made up primarily from his TV show, which could shoot quickly and economically.
With a few exceptions, such as visual consultant Bass and composer Bernard Herrmann, Hitch kept the production low-budget and under the radar. At a time when Technicolor had become almost commonplace, PSYCHO was shot in black and white for both artistic and cost-saving reasons. (Hitch once responded to a question of why he didn’t film in color with, – That would have been in bad taste.) In today’s horror climate of “torture porn” and overblown SAW-like deaths, it’s easy to forget how difficult it was to make a film like PSYCHO, breaking new ground in telling an adult story in adult terms. The problem of how to film a brutal murder without actually showing anything was just one of many hurdles Hitch had to solve. Setting the tone with its opening voyeuristic shot of a barely-clad couple in the throes of a passionate affair, PSYCHO portrayed an openness about sex that only foreign films at that time had shown.Hitch tread carefully with the censors, often asking for more than he actually wanted, but Stefano remembers that even such a mundane item as a toilet had never been shown onscreen in a major studio film, let alone a toilet flushing! Made at the peak of his genius, Hitchcock’s PSYCHO has rightly claimed its throne as Father (or Mother) of the modern horror film, influencing thrillers for decades and creating a new sense of realism that continues through the slasher films of today. Stripping the bleak essence of human nature to austere, colorless banality, PSYCHO would have assured Hitchcock’s reputation even if it were his only film.
Don’t miss PSYCHO when it screens at the Sky View Drive-in September 8th!