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The Psycho Legacy


Rod Lott October 12th, 2010

 

Even people who've never seen Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" know quite a bit about Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho." It's a bona fide classic, both in horror and film in general.

On the downside, its pop-culture power is so potent that we forgot how revolutionary it truly was. Spending an hour and a half watching "The Psycho Legacy" documentary serves as a welcome reminder. Through film clips and interviews with both those who were involved and those who were influenced, the production details the entire franchise ... well, almost.

Among those sharing their stories are several actors, screenwriters and directors, but mostly relegated to the sequels. It's a shame we couldn't get Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Martin Balsam, Joseph Stefano, Robert Bloch and Hitch himself, but many of them are represented through old footage, some even captured by a rather shaky camcorder.

As a sucker for franchise-encompassing documentaries (from "Behind the Planet of the Apes" to "Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy"), I appreciate that "Legacy" doesn't bypass "Psycho II," "Psycho III" or "Psycho IV: The Beginning." While not classics, they're not bad films at all, and one reason why Norman Bates and his mother still hold front-of-mind space in our collective brains today.

Although "Legacy" is a somewhat low-rent production, it also is an entirely entertaining one "” a must for anyone who still thinks of getting stabbed while showering. A second disc is loaded with extras, mostly excised or extended interviews cobbled together in a thematic featurette.

One important note: "Legacy" isn't quite complete. It skips and/or ignores the much-maligned Gus Van Sant shot-for-shot remake of '98 completely, as well as the one-off "Bates Motel" made-for-TV spin-off that aired in 1987 with Bud Cort as the locale's new owner. But we all go a little mad sometimes. —Rod Lott

 
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