Musings on Psycho
Idea for a comedy sketch that probably wouldn’t work: It’s the intro of themegapopular 80’s sitcom Cheers, and it opens with a woman walking – or falling – down the basement stairs that lead to the bar where Sam and thegang are watching the drama from inside, when the door flies open and instaggers Anthony Perkins, complete in wig, skirt, and heels, dressed as hismother as in the 1960 movie, Psycho, clutching the knife above his head,and as Bernard Hermann’s Shostakovich-inspired music shifts into thatcharacteristically menacing and repeated chord, everybody shouts; Norm! Note; The screenplay, based on the novel by Robert Bloch, waswritten by Joseph Stefano who also produced, wrote and collaborated on anumber of the scripts for the original series of The Outer Limits, seen inthe UK in 1964 on ITV, when Granada Television screened the first 34episodes. BBC2 transmitted all 49 episodes in 1981-82. And I missed themall because I was 22 and didn't have a TV and didn't know they were on....Then he kills Frazier before he can go off and star in his ownoffshoot series with his equally annoying psychiatrist brother, Niles, andDaphne Duck, the home help. There’s a dark undercurrent of black humour in that movie that is easily missed, such as Janet Leigh respondingthat ‘Every man needs a hobby,’ when Perkins/Bates tells her about hisliking for taxidermy – scooping out the insides of small birds and stuffingthem with sawdust – along with his dead mother. Of course, when I sawthe movie as a kid in the late 60’s and later, as well as reading the novel,the overt connection between cruelty to animals and serial killers hadn’tyet been made, which is intriguing – (though Norman’s rather macabre pastime is more indicative of his preoccupation with death and putrefaction); nor had the term ‘serial-killer’ been coined.The weird thing about the film is that in the scene where the privatedetective – dick – climbs the stairs inside the large creepy mansion on thehill where Norman Bates’ alter ego lives, and ‘his mother’ darts out of her bedroom and stabs the detective in the chest with her big knife and he falls backwards down the flight of stairs and she follows him and crouchesdown and bends over him and stabs him to death,
she has a woman’s hips.