(Dir. Alfred Hitchcock) (1960)
A secretary is given a fortune to bank and takes it on the lam, in a wild and foolish scheme to hook-up with her lover; by the time she comes to her senses, it’s too late. Meanwhile, her sister (and others) are on her trail, leading them to the Bates Motel (I’ve been to the Bates Motel on a studio tour: it’s even creepy in broad daylight). Norman, the young man who runs the place, confirms that Marion stayed one night but then she went on her way. But where? And does Norman’s mother know something about it?
This blackest of black comedies is seminal in the sense that only after its release were slasher films taken seriously. But you can take this seriously: an extraordinary ensemble, puppet-dancing through a story as bleak as any on film. So fresh, so icky, even after countless viewings, it bears out the initial visceral reaction on the film’s release that there is something fundamentally unwholesome and disturbingly human about it. Shakespeare conceived of the world as a stage. Hitchcock visualised it as a peep show. But what a show! Even if you’ve seen every “horror” product among the rows and rows of trash at your local movie store, ensure that you see this.
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