London: It is one of the most famous horror films in cinema history but in a newly-unearthed interview Alfred Hitchcock says 1960 classic ‘Psycho’ was meant to be a comedy. Hitchcock crossed several hurdles to make the film, which shocked the audiences at that time for its graphic portrayal of nudity and violence.
The infamous ‘shower scene’, showing film’s lead actress Janet Leigh being stabbed in shower, was later named the ‘Best Death’ in modern cinematography. But in a 1964 sit-down uncovered in the BBC archives, the master of suspense says he intended the film to be a dark comedy made “rather tongue-and-cheek” and was “horrified” when moviegoers took the film seriously, the Telegraph reported, according to PTI.
Speaking on English television show Monitor, Hitchcock recalled, “I once made a movie, rather tongue-in-cheek, called Psycho. The content was, I felt, rather amusing and it was a big joke. I was horrified to find some people took it seriously.
It was intended to make people scream and yell and so forth – but no more than screaming and yelling on a switchback railway (rollercoaster),” he said. Hitchcock decided to direct the film, based on the 1959 Robert Bloch novel ‘Psycho’ after being inspired by serial killer Ed Gein.
The film starred Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin and Leigh, whose character is stabbed to death in the shower at the Bates Motel just half-hour into the story. Leigh earned an Oscar nomination for the role.
The interview is featured in a newly-released audiobook, ‘Alfred Hitchcock: In His Own Words’. A spokesperson for AudioGo said, “Hitchcock’s true intentions for Psycho have been the centre of debate since the ’60s.
This fascinating archive interview appears to suggest that Hitchcock had always intended Psycho to be comedic, rather than terrifying.”
Hitchcock’s struggle to raise funds for ‘Psycho’ is now subject of a biopic with Anthony Hopkins playing the great storyteller onscreen.