Psycho Still Makes The Cut

Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, revived in a spectacular new print at the 1996 Cleveland International Film Festival with co-star Janet Leigh in attendance, is probably the esteemed director’s most famous film, but while it is now hailed as one of his best, the critics were not too enthused about Hitchcock’s low-budget excursion into the genre of horror at the time of its June 1960 release. Whether or not Psycho qualifies as a “horror” film is a matter open to debate, but the film’s macabre elements and the violent way in which those elements were presented was regarded as a step down for the portly English director who, in previous efforts, relied on subtlety and suggestion to convey the more unpleasant aspects of his films. While the justly famous “shower scene” is tasteful by today’s standards, in 1960, the amount of blood exposited by the victim was considered gratuitous.