Monday, March 2, 2009

Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho", "North by Northwest" and the Precode Era

Hey, folks! I saw Psycho for the first time today. I must admit that it was quite a scary movie, but what the heck? I loved it. I felt that it was very different from other movies that Hitchcock has directed. All of his other films were clearly part of the time; for example, "North by Northwest" was very reminiscent of "Dr. No". "The Birds" was clearly inspired by the Cold War, what with the nuclear energy and everything. However, "Psycho" really was not part of any genre. It was very modern, and very, very terrifying. I can see clearly that the slasher genre had it's roots in films like Psycho- and then it went off in a different direction with films like "Nightmare on Elm Street" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre".
One thing that really striked me in the film was the very vague themes of necrophilia. I mean, Norman Bates actually loves the people he kills, so it is quite strange, as this is a sort of necrophilia. In reality, Hitchcock was a very adult director- he delt with very adult issues, but uses them subtly in the film. For example, when Northhill meets Kendel on the train in "North by Northwest", and they start making out, Kendel says some really, really rude stuff. She starts flirting with him- and saying some very innapropriate things for that time. I kept wondering if these films were pre-code films, but then I researched it and found out that the Hays Code came about in the 30's due to some sexual films being released because of the Great Deppresion. I think films like "Psycho" and "North by Northwest" were not targeted for general audiences; just adult ones. My reasons? Well, those before and the fact that when "Psycho" was released in director's cut format, it garnered an R-18 rating.
That reminds me- Bela Lugosi was in quite a few precode horror films as well- his most famous was that of "The Murders in the Rue Morgue". That sort of had to be done at that time to avert the law, as it had things like ape blood being pumped into the victims bodies (Don't look at me, look at the original novel by Edgar Allan Poe). Have you seen any precode films?

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