Psycho has become one of the most recognizable films in cinema history, and is arguably Hitchcock's best known film. In his novel, Bloch used an uncommon plot structure: he repeatedly introduced sympathetic protagonists, then killed them off. This played on his reader's expectations of traditional plots, leaving them uncertain and anxious. Hitchcock recognized the effect this approach could have on audiences, and utilized it in his adaptation, killing off Leigh's character at the end of the first act. This daring plot device, coupled with the fact that the character was played by the biggest box-office name in the film, was a shocking turn of events in 1960.
The most original and influential moment in the film is the "shower scene", which became iconic in pop culture because it is often regarded as one of the most terrifying scenes ever filmed. Part of its effectiveness was due to the use of startling editing techniques borrowed from the Soviet montage filmmakers, and to the iconic screeching violins in Bernard Herrmann's musical score. The iconic shower scene is frequently spoofed, given homage to and referenced in popular culture, complete with the violin screeching sound effects (see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, among many others).
Psycho is now considered to be the first film in the slasher film genre, and has been referenced in films numerous times; examples include the 1974 musical horror film Phantom of the Paradise, 1978 horror film Halloween (which starred Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh's daughter), the 1977 Mel Brooks tribute to many of Hitchcock's thrillers, High Anxiety, the 1980 Fade to Black, the 1980 Dressed to Kill and Wes Craven's 1996 horror satire Scream. Bernard Herrmann's opening theme has been sampled by rapper Busta Rhymes on his song "Gimme Some More" (1998). Manuel Muñoz's 2011 novel What You See in the Dark includes a sub-plot that fictionalizes elements of the filming of Psycho, referring to Hitchcock and Leigh only as "The Director" and "The Actress". In the comic book stories of Jonni Future, the house inherited by title character is patterned after the Bates Motel.
Three sequels were produced: Psycho II (1983), Psycho III (1986), and Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990), the last being a part-prequel television movie written by the original screenplay author, Joseph Stefano. Anthony Perkins returned to his role of Norman Bates in all three sequels, and also directed the third film. The voice of Norman Bates' mother was maintained by noted radio actress Virginia Gregg with the exception of Psycho IV, where the role was played by Olivia Hussey. Vera Miles also reprised her role of Lila Crane in Psycho II. The sequels were well received but considered inferior to the original.
1987 Bates Motel pilot
Bates Motel was a television pilot spin-off which later aired as a television movie (before the release of Psycho IV). Anthony Perkins declined to appear in the pilot, so Norman's cameo appearance was played by Kurt Paul, who was Perkins' stunt double on Psycho II and III.
Gus Van Sant directed a 1998 remake of Psycho. The film is in color and features a different cast, but aside from this it is a near shot-for-shot remake copying Hitchcock's camera movements and editing. The film was panned by critics and audiences alike and was a box office bomb.
A Conversation with Norman (2005), directed by Jonathan M. Parisen, was a film inspired by Psycho.
2012 Hitchcock film
In 2005, it was reported that a new film was in development based on the book by Stephen Rebello, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho. The film was originally titled Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and it was originally to be directed by Ryan Murphy. Later the film was retitled Hitchcock, and filming began on April 13, 2012. Filming was completed in early June 2012 with a worldwide release on December 14, 2012. The film centers on the relationship between Hitchcock and his wife and co-worker Alma Reville during the filming of Psycho in 1959. The film was directed by Sacha Gervasi and written by John McLaughlin and Stephen Rebello. The film stars Anthony Hopkins as Hitchcock, Helen Mirren as Reville, Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh, Jessica Biel as Vera Miles, and James D'Arcy as Anthony Perkins. The film was released worldwide on December 14, 2012, to mostly positive reviews and one Academy Award nomination.
The Psycho Legacy
On October 19, 2010, an independent documentary called The Psycho Legacy was released on DVD. The documentary discussed the legacy and impact Psycho has had, not only on cinema, but on the world in general. The documentary also included production stories about Psycho II, Psycho III and Psycho IV: The Beginning.
Bates Motel series
On January 13, 2012, A&E announced that a television series called Bates Motel was in development at the network. The TV series has nothing to do with the earlier Bates Motel failed TV pilot released in 1987. The series takes place before the events of the original film and chronicles Norman Bates' teen years living at the Bates Motel, as did the flashback sequences in Psycho IV: The Beginning. However, the series is set in the present day in a seaside town in Oregon rather than the inland California town of the film—thus the series is a reboot, though it's been widely reviewed as a prequel, as it is devoted to providing a backstory to a younger Norman Bates prior to his becoming a murderer. The series is concluding with five seasons. The sixth episode, "Marion," of season five includes a new revision of the iconic shower scene, and has begun to cross over with the original Psycho storyline.
On February 24, 2014, a mashup of Alfred Hitchcock's and Gus Van Sant's versions of Psycho appeared on Steven Soderbergh's Extension 765 website. Retitled "Psychos" and featuring no explanatory text, the recut appears to be a fan edit of the two films by Soderbergh. Reaction to the mashup appears to reinforce the prejudice against the 1998 film. The opening credits intermingle names from both the 1960 and 1998 versions, and all color has been removed from Van Sant's scenes.
24 Hour Psycho
An art installation, 24 Hour Psycho, created by artist Douglas Gordon in 1993, and later installed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, consists of a silent screening of Psycho, slowed down to two frames per second (from the usual 24), so that it lasts 24 hours rather than 109 minutes. 24 Hour Psycho is featured prominently in Don DeLillo's 2010 novel Point Omega.