Psycho (1960)

“a boys’ best friend is his mother” – Psycho

Hitchcock’s most recognizable film, Psycho opened in 1960 and remains popular to this day. With a shocking ending, Hitchcock undoes any damage to the profession of psychology done with Spellbound and allows the viewer to recognize psychologists’ ability to make “sense out of the senseless” (Rebello, 1998).

Bloch, the writer of Psycho, had a love of abnormal psychology. By preserving the body of the mother, he “crossed the dividing line between polite “parlor mystery” of the day and the flat out “shocker” (Robello, 1998, chapter 2). This line had never been crossed before, and while Hitchcock was not one for outright gore and blood, the shower scene remains as shocking and as famous as it once was.


Steeped in Freudian theory, the story tells of a hotel keeper who kills a woman staying at his hotel. In the end he is found out to be a cross-dressing taxidermist with a split personality. After he killed his mother, he consumed her personality and thus lived his life as two people, killing anyone he felt attracted to. His psychosis kept him from realizing what he is doing.

Once his crimes are discovered and he is locked away, psychologists come and explain to the audience what happened to him. The Freudian themes of the Oedipus complex are most notable, more so than any other Hitchcock film (Rebello, 1998).


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