Daily Egyptian

‘Psycho’ Retrospective

The original is usually the best way go.

“Psycho,” the classic horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh, is no different, especially in its portrayal of Norman Bates.

This review is going to be something different. Clearly “Psycho” is not a new film, nor is it being remade. 

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But I, a life-long cinephile and horror movie fan, had never seen this innovative movie. So its 55th anniversary and re-release to AMC theaters seemed like a perfect chance to see it and critique.

Instead of comparing and contrasting the films, Hitchcock’s clearly being the best, I am going to talk about whose interpretation of Bates is best. 

And much like the films, nothing beats the first.

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Perkins portrayal of the character is legendary. There is a reason why Bates is looked at as the first big horror movie villain, a starting point for icons like Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees.

But the actor plays the role more like Anthony Hopkins did 31 years later as Hannibal Lecter, dynamic and interesting. 

Bates is a two-dimensional individual because of Perkins. With a lack of background and written motivation, this character could have been a stereotyped sociopath.

Instead he is person you can love, hate and empathize with, something Vince Vaughn’s version fails to do. 

Watching Vaughn play Bates in Gus Van Sant’s 1998 “Psycho” remake makes it seem like the actor took all the small, ticks Perkins did to show insanity, and push them to an annoying point.

The character becomes flat and cardboard because of the actor. All of the empathy and love you gained for Bates in the original is lost, gone because a new actor and director misinterpreted a classic.

Freddie Highmore’s version on the other hand looks to be a good start.   

Having watched the pilot episode of “Bates Motel,” the actor shows promise. The entire show reboots the series and shows a younger, more impressionable Bates, and that might be a good place to continue the franchise.

The script fails him at times, but Highmore plays the character almost as well Perkins. He added back all the loveable qualities and add a few more future psychotic traits.

It is not as good as the original, but the shows version shows so much ability to grow.  

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