The master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological horror-thriller film Psycho terrified audiences in 1960. It served as the “mother” of all modern horror suspense films, shocking audiences with its infamous 45-second “shower scene” subsequently becoming one of the greatest horror films ever. It is also considered one of Hitchcock’s best films and praised as a major work of cinematic art.
Here are five interesting facts about the film “Psycho” that maybe you should recall:
5. A Fall Back Film
In 1955 Hitchcock tried incredibly hard, before he was beaten to him by director Henri-Georges Clouzot, who made it Les Diaboliques, to gain a title in the French novel “Celle qui n’était plus.”
Some people usually believe that Psycho is the unofficial release of Hitchcock, and the two are very similar, but it is also said that Psycho occurred when Audrey Hepburn’s film plans for the judge, called No-Bail, failed.
4. Discrepancies from the Novel
Norma Bates was fat, stubby, and utterly unlikeable in the book, but Hitchcock believed that the best film villains had to be nice and attractive.
Norman’s murderous behavior is not the result of psycho-physical damage, but of blackouts brought on by heavy drinking, which is one of the other notable differences.
Other small details include Marion’s name being changed from Mary Crane, the action being moved from Fort Worth, Texas to Phoenix, Arizona, and Marion’s head being severed in the shower.
3. Hitchcock’s Own Gimmicks
Hitchcock came up with several famous gimmicks to make people aware of the film, the most famous of which was that no one would be admitted after the film started, possibly to ensure the “authenticity” of a true low-budget film.
At a time when moviegoers came and went, Hitchcock, insisted that every cinema ensure that every audience saw the film from the beginning.
Many were adorned with life-size cut-outs of Hitchcock pointing to his watch, implying that audiences must see Psycho from the beginning or risk missing it entirely.
2. The Shower Scene took 7 days to finish
Everybody knows this scene when you see it, accompanied by the well-named track “Screaming Violins” by Bernard Herrmann. It’s a common story that the water turned cold for Janet Leigh to shout, but that’s wrong.
The scene was finished 7 days, so the production was long enough to keep the water warm and to keep it comfortable. Hitchcock wanted a deadly silence to accompany the scene too, but Herrmann continued and wrote a score anyway.
Fortunately, Hitchcock liked it and inserted it. The scene finally has 70 cuts and only lasts 45 seconds.
1. The Toilet Scene
Psycho was the first American film ever to show a toilet flushing on-screen. No flushing toilet had appeared in film and television in the United States at that time which sparked a lot of debates at the time.
The toilet in the film was actually flushing paper, but nevertheless, the fact that a toilet was shown in close up being flushed was regarded as filthy. However, there were two cartoons made in the 1930s that also depicted toilets being flushed in clear view.