The Birthday List: Watch Psycho.

psychopsychopsycho3I’m far from a film buff. If one of my favourite authors is releasing a book, I’ll pre-order it on Amazon but I’ll often give new blockbusters a pass at the cinema, presuming that I’ll catch them on “video” before forgetting about them completely. And growing up I usually watched the same films over and over again (hello Peter Pan, Bambi, and Dumbo as a child and Empire Records, Clueless, and Fight Club as a teenager).

Needless to say there are more than a few classic films that I’ve never seen. So when compiling this year’s birthday list and thinking about what new experiences I wanted to have, I decided to watch a classic film that I’d heard referenced countless times without ever seeing for myself. I chose Psycho. I’d only seen three Hitchcock films previously, so I knew some serious catching up to do.

Luckily Matthew has a copy on DVD. One evening we cuddled up in bed to give it a watch. We actually ended up watching it in two parts – because that’s what happens when you put on a film right before bedtime.

In case you’ve never seen it, Psycho is the story of Marion Crane, who steals $40,000 from her employer and goes on the run. She disappears after checking into the Bates Motel and having an encounter with its propietor, creepy mama’s boy, Norman Bates. Marion’s sister Lila and boyfriend Sam Loomis, along with Detective Arbogast, set out to find out what’s happened to her.

I’m surprised that years of pop culture references hadn’t spoiled the ending for me. And while the film wasn’t quite what I was expecting (that shower scene is way overhyped!), I really enjoyed it. Psycho has that unsettling suspense that builds slowly (very slowly sometimes) and there was at least one moment near the end that almost made me jump out of my skin.

Have you seen Psycho? What classic film is on your must-watch list?

Love, thunderstorms, & the silver screen,


  1. Thea says:

    I’m not sure I’ve seen Psycho. I’ve seen quite a few segments, just not the whole movie from beginning to end.
    Two classic movies come to mind to recommend–Hitchcock’s Rear Window and Roman Holiday starring Audrey Hepburn (love most of her movies).

    Rear Window is fabulous — slow build, character studies of neighbors and photographer who spies on them.

    Roman Holidays lovely–wonderful in that everyone always has moments of wanting to escape from their present reality. In this one we get to see a Princess incognito hanging out with a “commoner”–each learn something from the other. Plus it’s light and silly and she has great style

    • Roman Holiday is one of my all-time favourite movies! And I saw Rear Window many years ago and really enjoyed it. Definitely worth a re-watch, I think. Thanks for the tips! xo

  2. I saw this movie a few years ago. It’s pretty good, as I typically enjoy older films, and like you said, it had that brilliant unsettling suspense that builds slowly. Have you watched the television series Bates Motel? It’s supposed to be somewhat of a prequel to this movie. I thought it was alright but it isn’t creepy enough for me.

    • I watched the first episode of Bates Motel but didn’t really get into it. I was wondering if I should give it another shot but I think you’re right – it just doesn’t have the same suspense or creepiness factor as the film. xo

  3. Thea says:

    So you got me thinking about other b&w movies. Another one that I’ve seen and loved is Some like it hot with Marilyn Monroe – it’s silly and fun. 2nd rec, only have seen snippets, stars Greer Garson in Random Harvest. It’s one that I wanted to watch for a while and so many people have commented on it, so I think I’m gonna take that out from the library and watch.

    • I haven’t seen either of those, so I’m definitely going to add them to the list. Thanks, Thea! xo

  4. I saw ‘Psycho’ when I was 19 and couldn’t go upstairs without a mild freak-out about knife-wielding killers coming for me for about a month afterwards. The shower scene didn’t scare me because I was expecting it, it was the other bits that don’t make it into spoiler lists that got me.

    As for must-watch films, if you mean films I’ve seen that I think are classics, then ‘The Ladykillers’ and ‘Kind Hearts and Coronets’ (both made by the famous British studio Ealing Studios, both starring Alec Guinness though you’d never believe it if you’ve only seen him in Star Wars- back in the day he was a romantic hero, among many other things!) are both high up on the list. As for ones I haven’t seen…I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never seen ‘Fargo’, so that’s pretty high on my want-to-watch list. I love me some Frances McDormand.

  5. Oh! And if you love ‘Firefly’, I would recommend some classic Westerns- in particular ‘The Man who Shot Liberty Valance’. Watch it with Jayne, Simon and Kaylee in mind and you’ll see where Joss Whedon got some of his inspiration from- well, I think so, anyway. ‘Stagecoach’ is pretty good too.

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