USA | Alfred Hitchcock | Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh
Secretary Marion Crane, on the run after stealing money from her employer, stops off at the Bates Motel during a heavy storm. At the desk she meets the anxious young Norman, who runs the place as a help to his mother. A playful experiment for Hitchcock in “pure cinema”, stripped back to black and white with an inexpensive crew and minimal (but iconic) score from Bernard Herrmann, we are drawn into the black beating heart of rural America for thrills and scares.
Screening as part of Cinema Unbound: The Creative Worlds of Powell + Pressburger, a UK-wide film season supported by National Lottery and BFI Film Audience Network. bfi.org.uk/powell-and-pressburger.
The Birth of the Slasher
1960, the birth of a decade, the population a little younger, clothing (and arguably morals) a little looser. Amongst the bright colours and confidence of swinging London something else was being born – the slasher film. Two British filmmakers Michael Powell and Alfred Hitchcock found inspiration in the shadow selves and began a genre revolution. Psycho, resolutely an American myth, something terrible lurking in the liminal countryside places, was a huge success. But earlier in the year Powell had released Peeping Tom, queasily voyeuristic and set in the streets of Soho, perhaps too close to home for the London critics at the time whose hatred of the film’s sex and violence effectively killed Powell’s career. Now regarded as one of the most influential and stylish horror thrillers, we can look at these two together and reflect on an exciting time for genre film. Join us for a discussion with Rebecca McCullum, host of Talking Hitchcock to find out more about this fascinating story.