Psycho (novel)  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e



Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Psycho (1959) is a suspense novel by Robert Bloch.



In November 1957 — two years before Psycho was first published — Ed Gein was arrested in his hometown of Plainfield, Wisconsin for the murders of two women. When police searched his home, they found furniture, silverware, and even clothing made of human skin and body parts. Psychiatrists examining him theorized that he was trying to make a "woman suit" to wear so he could pretend to be his dead mother, whom neighbors described as a puritan who dominated her son.

At the time of Gein's arrest, Bloch was living Template:Convert away from Plainfield in Weyauwega. Familiar with the Gein case but not the specific details, Bloch began writing with "the notion that the man next door may be a monster unsuspected even in the gossip-ridden microcosm of small-town life." Bloch was surprised years later when he "discovered how closely the imaginary character I'd created resembled the real Ed Gein both in overt act and apparent motivation."


Bloch later wrote two sequels, Psycho II and Psycho House. Neither were related to the film sequels. In the novel Psycho II, Norman escapes the asylum disguised as a nun and makes his way to Hollywood, as the world appears to have gone crazier than him. Universal Pictures allegedly did not want to film it because of its social commentary of splatter films. In the novel Psycho House, murders begin again when the Bates Motel is reopened as a tourist attraction.



Bloch's novel was adapted in 1960 into the feature film by director Alfred Hitchcock. It was written by Joseph Stefano and starred Anthony Perkins as Bates and Janet Leigh in an Academy Award-nominated performance as Marion Crane (changed from "Mary" for the film). Hitchcock helped devise a promotional and marketing scheme for his film that insisted that critics would not get advance screenings, and that no one would be admitted into the theater after the film began. The promotional scheme also exhorted audiences not to reveal the twist ending. Twenty-three years after the release of Hitchcock's film and three years after the director's death came the first of three sequels, all featuring Perkins. Gus Van Sant directed a 1998 remake of the original film in which virtually every camera angle and line of dialogue was duplicated from the original. It starred Vince Vaughn as Bates and Anne Heche as Marion. It was reviled by critics and performed poorly at the box office. The Hitchcock version of the film, however, is often quoted as being one of the scariest ever, making first place on the American Film Institute's list of one hundred most thrilling films.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Psycho (novel)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools