Lists are great. They inspire discussion, create arguments, and tend to spiral off into fun new lists. When you do a list about the “BEST” of anything it goes from being fun to becoming a hotbed for arguments. There’s no such thing as a definitive list but I’ve decided to pull from my rather extensive life of film watching and put it to good use.
This is not the “film critic’s top 100” list. There’s no guarantee Citizen Kane or The Bicycle Thief will be in the top echelon or even on the list. This is the 100 movies I would put my name on as my top 100. If I died tomorrow this would represent the 100 films I find most vital, special, or ones that bonded to whatever it is that makes me me. I’m not including documentaries, though that might make for a nice supplemental list.
The first 80 will be in no particular order. The last 20 will be in very particular order. One a day, you have my word.
#34 – Psycho
Why is it here:
Note: Remember that the first 80 are in no particular order.
Note 2: I was on a golf vacation and spotty internet and a need to recharge put this on hold.
We’ll never know just how influential this thing really was. It was such a conduit for the horror genre that I shudder to think what we’d have been deprived of had this not been made. I also wonder just how many hours of watching awful slasher movies I’d have back, that’s defeatist. Alfred Hitchock isn’t at his best here (North by Northwest, Vertigo, and Rear Window are three of possibly more superior films the filmmaker made) but this is his signature achievement both in creating suspense and in changing the rules of the game. Anthony Perkins is stunning and the structure, boldness, and overall searing film intellect at play here are impossible to deny. To think the Ed Gein murders inspired both this and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre shows just how a few simple catalysts can create a cottage industry. The use of light, music, editing, and perspective here is being milked today. And somehow no one does it quite as good at the fat man. Stunning.
Moments to savor:
The reveal of Mother. Detective work leads to a painful place. Janet Leigh takes a shower. Norman wriggles off the hook. The music. That house.
The remake was dogpussy, and most of the sequel attempts were a flamethrower to the soul but the Bates Motel show rocks. Seriously, give it a shot.