Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho: The Story of Norman Bates Essay

Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho: The Story of Norman Bates Essay

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Throughout cinema, there has always been space in our hearts for the gore and intrigue that come from horror films. Though they come with different plots, there remains “the monster”, the character that brings along disgust, horror, suspense, and even sympathy. In Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), our monster is Norman Bates, the boy next door. This was one of the first times in American cinema that the killer was brought home, paving the way for the future of horror movies. According to Robin Wood in “An Introduction to the America Horror Film” (183-208), Bates follows the formula of the Monster being a human psychotic. This is conveyed through his normal façade portrayed with his introduction, the audience’s ambivalence, the use of motifs, the relationship family has in the making of the Monster, and the repressed sexual energy that is taken out in horrific ways.
According to Wood, horror movies follow a basic formula. A variable in this formula is the relationship between normality and the Monster. “The relationship has one privileged form: the figure of the doppelganger, alter ego, or double…”(Wood 192). We first meet Norman when our soon to be victim Marian stubbles upon his lonely motel. He evokes an average amount of normality to the untrained eye. Though he stumbles a bit with his words in response to her beauty, he’s overall welcoming and kind. The strangeness starts emerging when he starts to talk about his sickly mother. You see in his eyes that there is more to the story than what is being stated. Marian insists that he could free himself from his mother’s dominance if he puts her away. Norman responds saying she doesn’t need to go away, she’s not a maniac, she’s just a little mad, and “we all go a little ...


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...e a leather-faced, chainsaw carrying lunatic, a little boy, or even the local owner of a motel down your highway. In the case of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 thriller Psycho, our monster was Norman Bates, a psychopathic killer. A killer shaped by his front of normalcy, his ability to attract sympathy from the audience, the relations he has to the things he stuffs, his mothers oppression, and consequently the actions formed by his years of sexual repression. All these aspects solidify the formula presented in “An Introduction to the America Horror Film” (183-208).






















Works Cited

Psycho. Dir. Alfred Hitchcock. Perfs. Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin. Shamely, 1960. Web. January 2011.

Wood, Robin. “An Introduction to the American Horror Film.” Writing 2 Reader. BK Faunce. Fall, 2010. [Winter 2011] [183-208]



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