"Paramount won't let anyone enter theatres where Psycho is playing after the picture starts. No one will want to leave before it is over."
"Hitchcock is the most-daring avant-garde film-maker in America today."
-ANDREW SARRIS, 1960
"What makes PSYCHO immortal, when so many films are already half-forgotten as we leave the theater, is that it connects directly with our fears."
-ROGER EBERT, 2000
Closing out QUEER FEAR is one of Hitchcock’s best-known works: PSCYHO. It is among the queerest of the queer in his oeuvre for the way it redefined narrative structure and movie-going habits, and played with genre. It even denotes its own chapter in Alexander Doty’s Flaming Classics, from which we stole the name of the series.
The film follows Marion Crane, played by Janet Leigh, after she steals 40,000 dollars in cash from her employer in order to run away with her married boyfriend. During her escape, Marion fatefully pulls into the Bates Motel one rainy night. There, she meets a talkative and awkward Norman Bates, played by Anthony Perkins. They discuss their lives and “private traps.” The rest is cinematic history.
The queerness of PSYCHO lies in its inability to be defined. How does one define Norman Bates? Is he schizophrenic? Is he heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual? Is he gender fluid or trans-identifying? One thing certain is that PSYCHO delves deep into the psychosexual abyss and ultimately shows that repression begets transgression.
The film will be presented on 35mm and South Florida’s Azula Faux Sapphire and Persephone Von Lips will make you never want to shower again with their special performance inspired by the film.
PSYCHO is part of the QUEER FEAR: FOUR BY HITCHCOCK series this October at the Bill Cosford Cinema. Other films include REBECCA (1940) on October 7, ROPE (1948) on October 14, and STAGE FRIGHT (1950) on October 21. All screenings are at 8PM, free, and open to the public.
Flaming Classics is made possible by the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the City of Coral Gables, Coral Gables Community Foundation, the Florida Humanities Council, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the Norton Herrick Center for Motion Picture Studies, and patrons of the series.