Starring: Anthony Perkins, John Anderson, Vera Miles, John McIntire, Janet Leigh, Martin Balsam, Lurene Tuttle, Vaughn Taylor
Screenplay by: Joseph Stefano and Robert Bloch (Source Writer)
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Music: Original score by Bernard Hermann
In what is possibly the best horror film ever made and the gold standard for all slasher films, the shower scene set the standard for hack up murder. Alfred Hitchcock was always a genius about judicious use of music in his films, often preferring silence rather than a melodramatic score (a huge problem, especially in the 1950s and 60s, although it still persists today). However this scene’s shrill violin score (composed by the legendary Bernard Hermann) complements not only the pounding knife blows but Janet Leigh’s terrified screams and even the sickly squish of the blade sinking into Norman Bates’ victim. The scene is one of the most recognizable in film history and reputedly caused Leigh to be unable to shower for years afterward (i.e., she took baths instead). When asked if it was true that she doesn’t take showers: “It’s actually, honestly true. And not because of the shooting of it. It was the seeing of it. It never dawned on me how truly vulnerable we are. But that’s what [Alfred Hitchcock] did. A shower. A bird. All these things that are absolutely ordinary, he made extraordinary.”
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