Today in 1960, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho was released, ushering in the age of ultra-violence in American cinema and to some extent the independent movie (Paramount were aghast at Psycho‘s script, so Hitchcock financed the film via his own Shamley Productions for $806,947.55)
Based on the novel of the same name by famed author Robert Bloch, Psycho was inspired by real-life murderer Ed Gein. It was filmed in black and white, not just to save money, but because Hitchcock knew that the shower scene would have just been too much in color. Principle filming took place on the set of Revue Studios, the same location where Hitchcock shot his television show. The Bates Motel set is still standing at the Universal Lot (see above).
Janet Leigh was apparently so upset after she saw the infamous shower scene (which had over 50 edits and used chocolate sauce for as the blood stand-in) that she tried to avoid them for the rest of her life. Leigh told documentary producers in 1997 that she would only shower if everything in the house was locked down first and she felt safe. She also always left the bathroom door open.
As, well, psychotic as Psycho is, it would take another twelve years before Hitchcock would film his sickest film of all, Frenzy. You wanna talk about a sick film? Frenzy makes Psycho seem tame by comparison. Today’s “torture porn” ain’t got nuthin’ on Hitch, baby!