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O.G. SLASHER: Janet Leigh stars as Marion Crane, an on-the-run embezzler who checks into the wrong motel, in Alfred Hitchcock’s masterful 1960 horror classic Psycho, screening on Nov. 12 in the Palm Theatre of San Luis Obispo.

I’ve watched Psycho many times, but only once on the big screen during a college film class. It is absolutely a different experience from watching it on TV. Director Alfred Hitchcock loaded in so many carefully considered details, and the film’s mise-en-scène is remarkably rich and best viewed in a theater, which you can do this Sunday, Nov. 12, at SLO’s Palm Theatre. 

Based on Robert Bloch’s 1959 novel of the same name, which was loosely inspired by Wisconsin murderer Ed Gein, the story follows Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), who steals $40,000 in hopes of running away with her lover, Sam Loomis (John Gavin). She has second thoughts, however, and plans to return the money, so she checks into the Bates Motel, run by Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), who seems sweet at first but turns out to have some unresolved mommy issues.

Its most famous scene is the shower murder, which has been dissected many times. The 2017 documentary 78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene, by director Alexandre O. Phillippe, breaks down the 78 shots and 52 cuts that comprised what might be the most studied sequence in film history. Psycho’s also notable for the fantastically tense soundtrack by Bernard Hermann. A must-see for any cinephile. (109 min.)

—Glen Starkey

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