When he directed this amazingly effective low-budget thriller in black and white with a TV-tested crew, Alfred Hitchcock went after the youthful horror-film audience with a vengeance. Everything from the titillating opening of Janet Leigh (pictured) and John Gavin getting dressed after making love during her lunch hour to the slashing shocks and reversals brought box-office success and immediate legendary status. Written by Joseph Stefano from a novel by Robert Bloch, the movie is a nightmare crystallization of the petit-bourgeois side of Hitchcock's sensibility. All the characters are trapped in stifling circumstances -- especially poor Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), the manager of a motel stranded beside a no-longer-travelled road. No wonder the movie became a teen sensation. In its own tawdry fashion, it told incipient middle-class rebels that they were right not to share their parents' sense of security -- even in the shower.
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