“I AM NORMA BATES!”

psycho

And to think some believe that the original Psycho isn’t worth watching after the first time when you discover the twists.

I hadn’t watched it in a long time until I picked up the 50th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray earlier this week. The plot may no longer hold much surprise because it has been endlessly parodied over the years, but the filmmaking remains impeccable. It’s a stone cold classic of horror, the Bernard Herrmann music score still holds the power to unnerve, Anthony Perkins should have won an Oscar (or at the very least a nomination) for his performance as Norman Bates, and goddamn it all Janet Leigh is one of the most beautiful women to ever grace a film frame. Besides, how many other movies in existence have behind-the-scenes stories so eternally juicy and fascinating that they not only inspire books but also their own motion pictures, as Psycho did with last year’s Hitchcock starring Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren? I still need to see that.

After watching the movie I checked out the fantastic 94-minute documentary about the making of Psycho, and during a segment devoted to the effectiveness of Herrmann’s musical contribution the climatic scene where the true identity of “Mother” was revealed was played with and without the music. Until I watched the scene sans orchestration I have never before noticed that when Perkins rushes in to attack Vera Miles decked out in his slasher drag he screams – and this was very likely an ADR overdub – “I AM NORMA BATES!”

I’m sure I wasn’t the first person to notice that, and even with the Herrmann score it’s pretty hard not to hear, but I just found it very interesting. Horrifying as fuck too, you know?

Here’s the scene I’m taking about, for your viewing pleasure.

Oh, what the hell? Here’s Perkins reprising his role as Bates for the first time since Psycho for a season one episode of Saturday Night Live he hosted. The late, great Michael O’Donoghue wrote this one, I believe. The multiple choice quiz looks really simple. I’m going with option C.

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