Feature: A Movie Through Its Posters — Psycho

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Psycho is one of those movies that is known worldwide and still revered as a great piece of horror history. In no way is that more evident than by the sheer extent of foreign movie posters for the flick.

Hitchcock was the “master of suspense” but his movies did not really fall into the horror category before Psycho. The movie was controversial and met with a lot of pushback from the Hayes Office but Hitchcock managed to make compromises –giving up one scandalous aspect to allow another to stay in. The movie nevertheless is well known for Janet Leigh‘s undergarment outfits at separate instances in the film’s start. This part of the film certainly did not escape notice to those individuals who create movie posters worldwide. Six of the posters above feature the scantily clad Leigh, which probably proved a selling point for the flick.

Also prominent in the posters is the horror-stricken face of Anthony Perkins upon discovering a body in his hotel’s bathroom. The lead-up scene also was a source of controversy with the short takes assembled to give the impression we are seeing nudity. Including Perkins on the posters in this manner certainly would have lulled the audience into believing his character’s innocence, fueling one of the movie’s twists.

My favorite of these posters is the German one. It is simple and striking with its bold teal color and large Perkins facade. I love that shot of Perkins, and I think this poster uses it to its greatest effect. Which do you like best?

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4 Responses

  1. But we ARE seeing nudity in “Psycho”! Look in the background during the closeup of Marion’s hand grabbing the shower curtain right before she keels over. Hitchcock was a sly dude!

  2. These are fascinating. Thanks for putting these together. My fave is the German poster.

  3. I would agree that the German poster is best. Nothing revealed and the seed of thought that Norman Bates/Anthony Perkins has nothing to do with the murders. You have to wonder if Psycho was made in the last 20 or so years, could the general public/media could keep their moths closed about Janet Leigh being offed in the first third of the film. I think not…

  4. not moths, MOUTHS!

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