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Coming off the comparatively big budget North by Northwest, director Alfred Hitchcock decided he wanted to make a nice, little, low-budget black-and-white film for a change of pace. This was the result, and the shock waves are still reverberating today.
On the run embezzler Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) takes refuge from a rainstorm off the beaten track on a lonely California highway. Unfortunately, she checks in at the Bates Motel, presided over by young Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), a strange fellow living with his mother in a nearby mansion. The macabre events that follow have been scaring audiences out of the shower for the past 55 years. Hitchcock used the small crew from his popular TV show for this hair-raising example of California Gothic, and it remains (thanks in no small part to composer Bernard Herrmanns’s terrifying score) one of the most influential and imitated chillers ever made. (Dir. by Alfred Hitchcock, 1960, USA, 109 mins., Rated R)

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