Last year we saw Kent Jones’ fantastic documentary Hitchcock/Truffaut about Alfred Hitchcock, along with the maestro’s own delightful Psycho (1960). This year we examine this classic horror more closely in a thorough documentary by Alexandre O. Philippe.
The documentary focuses on the famous shower scene of Psycho – hence the curious name; the scene was combined of 78 takes and it lasts 52 seconds. “The 52 seconds that changed the world (of film)” in dramaturgy and power: Before Hitchcock, no director had dared to kill off their main character so early in the film, practically splitting the film in two. Furthermore, no-one had done this with the holy trinity of sex, violence and bathroom, which practically started the whole genre of slasher horror, leading to such triumphs as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and Halloween (1978). According to its clever slogan, the documentary is “the story of the man behind the curtain and his greatest obsession”. Philippe specialises in popular culture phenomena, and his documentary interviewees vary from Guillermo de Toro to Jamie Lee Curtis to Peter Bogdanovich – and even Marli Renfro, the Playboy model and body double to Janet Leigh in the shower. (TM)