Saturday, November 07, 2009

Psycho by Robert Bloch

(pb; 1959: first book in the original Psycho trilogy)

From the back cover

"When the Bates Motel loomed up out of the storm, Mary Craine thought it was her salvation. The rooms were musty but clean, and the manager, Norman Bates, seemed like a nice enough fellow, if a little strange. . .

"Then Mary met Norman's mother. And the butcher knife.

"The nightmare had just begun. . ."


Pulp-style writing, crisp prose, succinct characterizations, macabre puns and shocking violence form this familiar landmark work. This, easily, is one of the best pulp novels I've ever read.

Own it!

Followed by Psycho II.


Psycho resulted in two film versions.

The first version was released stateside on August 25, 1960. Helmed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock and scripted by Joseph Stefano, it starred Anthony Perkins in his career-defining role of Norman Bates.

Janet Leigh played Marion Crane (cinematic stand-in for Mary Craine). Vera Miles played Lila Craine. John Gavin played Sam Loomis. Martin Balsam played Milton Arbogast. Simon Oakland played Dr. Fred Richmond. Patricia "Pat" Hitchcock (daughter of Alfred Hitchcock and Alma Reville) played Caroline.

An uncredited Virginia Gregg played the voice-role of Norma Bates, Norman's mother.


The second version, directed and produced by Gus Van Sant, was released stateside on December 4, 1998. Joseph Stefano's screenplay for the original version was used for this almost shot-for-shot remake.

Vince Vaughn played Norman Bates. Anne Heche played Marion Crane. Julianne Moore played Lila Crane. Viggo Mortensen played Samuel "Sam" Loomis. William H. Macy played Milton Arbogast. Robert Forster played Dr. Fred Richmond. Phillip Baker Hall played Sheriff Al Chambers. James Remar played "Patrolman". Rita Wilson played Caroline. James LeGros played "Charlie the Car Dealer".

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