After being released in 1960, Psycho inspired what came to be known as the slasher genre. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street all had psychotic guys killing people through the use of something sharp. They all had friendly names too. Norman, Freddy, Jason, Mikey; these are the names of buddies you would go bowling and eat chalupas with.

Why did Jason and Michael wear mechanics suits anyways? I guess Michael Myers needed one since he drove that old station wagon. It looked like it would have to be repaired frequently. Mr. Kruger on the other hand, was sartorial. Freddy was defininetly a subscriber to GQ. He wore his Cosby-esque sweater and “job interview pants” with a grin. Freddy Kruger wore a fedora with the effortless grace of a young Humphrey Bogart.

Psycho’s shower scene is considered to be the most famous scene in cinema. What makes the scene so shocking is that when the film debuted, no one was expecting it. In fact, theaters were ordered to maintain a strict “no late admission” policy. Nowadays the scene is so famous that most people won’t be able to appreciate how great a surprise it is that Marion dies a third of the way into the film.

When Marion starts the water the shots are only held for a few seconds. Then the camera stops and we watch a long anxious 15 seconds. At first we see the door open. The silhouette of a figure comes closer. Then the camera slowly moves forward. Marion is no longer in view. The curtain is pulled as Bernard Herrmann’s famous musical score begins. The stabbing seems very violent due to the very quick cuts; no pun intended but I’ll take all the laughs I can get. Each cut is under 3 seconds. The extreme closeups leave more to the imagination thus making it seem more horrifying. I counted 8 gruesome sounding stabbings. The sound effect was created by stabbing a casaba melon. Casaba!

An interesting thing happens when Marion is killed so early. Who do we root for now, Norman? After cleaning up the mess and pushing Marion’s car into the swamp, with her in the trunk, we sit there with Norman. We watch and wait for the car to sink. When it finally does, Norman is now the main character. Marion is now just a plot device used to propel the story along.

So this Halloween I hope everyone has lots of fun and stays safe. Be sure to stock up on casaba melons too. Hopefully everyone will watch some of their favorite horror films, eat lots of candy, and make an effort to dress better. If Freddy Kruger can, we all can.