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Stephen Rebello Shares Five Things You Never Knew About the Making of Psycho

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“It’s not like my mother is a maniac or a raving thing. She just goes a little mad sometimes. We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven’t you?” These are my absolute favorite movie lines of all time, and even though the source is decades old, we’re still learning about it.

It’s so powerful because as Norman Bates asks the question of Marion Crane (who happens to be sitting on $40,000 of regretfully stolen money), he’s also asking it of the entire viewing audience … and aren’t we all forced to answer the same way as Marion did? “Yes. Sometimes just one time can be enough.”

Psycho was not the first horror movie to scare the bejesus out of America. Certainly by 1960 scores of horror films had graced the silver screen. But Psycho was one of, if not the, first truly disturbing film. The one that dug into the American psyche and made us question what drove us to watch this nightmare, even as we couldn’t tear our eyes away.

From iconic shots of the Bates house, hovering menacingly over the motel, to the discovery of Mother in the basement as Norman rushes in a moment too late, wig sitting askew atop his head, to the final chilling scene where Norman seems to have fully become his mother, Psycho is loaded with incredible scenes and images that have become legendary. Now, to celebrate the 52nd anniversary of the film, we’ve got a special guest writer to fill you in on some Psycho info you might not have been privy to.

Stephen Rebello, the author of Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho and screenwriter of the motion picture adaptation of his book (the upcoming film for Fox Searchlight Pictures stars Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johannson, James D’Arcy, Jessica Biel, Toni Collette, Danny Huston, Michael Stuhlbarg, Ralph Macchio, and Michael Wincott…Wow!) is here to share Five Things You Never Knew About the Making of Psycho. Read on!

Five Things You Never Knew About the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello
Under contract with Paramount Pictures, director Alfred Hitchcock had made box office hits like Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, and The Man Who Knew Too Much. But when he pitched his idea for Psycho, the studio’s executives were so shocked and repulsed that they denied him his usual generous budget and the use of their sound stages, cameras, and other production equipment. Instead, Hitchcock financed the film himself and shot Psycho at Universal, using his television crew. Paramount then released the film and won their biggest box-­office profits of the year.

1. Before Psycho, Hitchcock was famed for elegant Technicolor thrillers starring marquee actors such as Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, and James Stewart. With Psycho, Hitchcock tried something completely different. He shot the film in black-and-white and broke with convention by violently killing the film’s biggest star on-screen early in the movie. He also depicted the lead actress in what was then considered an unusually frank sexual relationship, showed and flushed a toilet on-screen for the first time in American movies, and dressed the lead actor in women’s clothing in a chilling role.

2. Although Janet Leigh appeared in most of the infamous shower sequence, Hitchcock hired Playboy cover model, exotic dancer, and sometimes actress Marli Renfro as Leigh’s body double. Both he and Leigh were shy about the near-nudity, and Hitchcock created extremely specific storyboards for filming the sequence so that he wouldn’t overexpose his star.

3. Hitchcock decided against using Anthony Perkins in the shower scene, both to avoid tipping off the audience to the killer’s identity and to spare the actor potential embarrassment. Instead, he gave Perkins time off to rehearse for his upcoming Broadway musical.

4. During filming and post-production, Hitchcock became convinced that Psycho would be such an embarrassing flop that he considered cutting out the most daring and shocking scenes and dialogue so that it could be played off as a one-hour Hitchcock TV show. The addition of Bernard Herrmann’s brilliantly innovative score was a deciding factor in releasing the movie to theaters.

5. Since Hitchcock believed that the twist ending of Psycho was its biggest asset, he tried to buy up as many copies of the original Robert Bloch novel as possible so that the public wouldn’t already know the plot. He also devised a promotional campaign that insisted no one would be allowed to enter the theater once the film had started and also asked audiences not to reveal the finale.

BONUS:
Although Hitchcock’s special effects team devised a rubber female torso that spurted fake blood, the director rejected the prosthetic as crude and unsubtle.

A giveaway is coming soon at the Stephen Rebello Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho Facebook page. Stay tuned!

Stephen Rebello Shares Five Things You Never Knew About the Making of Psycho

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Wanna See Something REALLY Scary?

Wanna See Something REALLY Scary? Gruesome Demonic Possession Video

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Wanna See Something REALLY Scary

“Wanna see something REALLY scary?”

To horror fans who came of age in the 1980s, the line above instantly evokes memories of Dan Aykroyd and Albert Brooks in the opening scene from Twilight Zone: The Movie. Now, on a bi-monthly basis, I’ll be asking, “Wanna see something REALLY scary?” with the goal of shocking you with chilling footage plumbed from the darkest corners of YouTube.

While The Blair Witch Project, released in 1999, didn’t invent the found footage subgenre of horror, it certainly popularized the concept, making it a common trope throughout the 2010s. The idea of finding misplaced film or video that reveals a terrifying truth is instantly compelling, and films like The Ring and Sinister have taken this concept outside of the found-footage arena, promoting the concept of cursed media.

One of the main goals of the found-footage presentation is to blur the line between fiction and reality. From this perspective, it’s as though a filmmaker is acting as an objective third party, offering a “discovery” without validating its authenticity. And while there are indeed real-life examples of lost media revealing compelling or harrowing secrets (surveillance footage, lost cameras, etc.) has anything ever been unearthed that compares to the terror induced by movies like Blair Witch.

Perhaps.

The Paranormal Scholar is a YouTube channel dedicated to scientific, academic explorations of supposed real-life supernatural phenomenon. While the majority of their video essays end by debunking popular urban legends and modern creepypastas, they recently explored a potentially legitimate reel of found film—and it’s utterly horrifying.

Wanna see something REALLY scary?

According to The Paranormal Scholar, the footage below was discovered in the attic of a newly purchased home in Iowa around 1973. Unfortunately, no other significant details are known—which is convenient if it’s a hoax. The video looks almost too good to be real (meaning it’s genuinely disturbing) but the fact that it can’t be immediately debunked is instantly unnerving.

The subject of this supposedly found footage is one many horror fans find intriguing: Demonic possession. Give it a spin and let us know what you think in the Comments section. Do you know anything about this mysterious footage? Do you think it’s real or a clever fake? Let the debate begin!

Warning: Mature Content!

Got an idea for a future installment of “Wanna See Something REALLY Scary?” Hit me up on Twitter @josh_millican!

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Class of 1999 Graduates to Blu-Ray in 2018

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Coming to blu-ray in early 2018 will be Class of 1999, which was originally released in 1990 and designed to be an unofficial sci-fi sequel to 1982’s Class of 1984, which itself received a special edition blu-ray in 2015. Confused yet?

In 1982, writer-director Mark L. Lester made Class of 1984, a slightly futuristic action thriller about teachers contending with teenage gangs in an inner-city high school. Lester would go on to grace us with Commando and Firestarter before returning to the premise in 1990 to give us the very futuristic Class of 1999. This time the action takes place near the turn of the millennium when gang violence overruns inner-city high schools to the point that the government steps in and replaces the teachers with reprogrammed military-grade battle androids. The super soldier cyborg faculty revert to their militaristic ways, naturally, and rack up quite a body count as they declare war on the student body leading to teenage gangs putting aside their difference to lead an anti-robot uprising in the halls of the school.

The time is the future, and youth gang violence is so high that the areas around some schools have become “free fire zones” into which not even the police will venture. When Miles Langford (Malcolm McDowell), the principal of Kennedy High School, decides to take his school back from the gangs, robotics specialist Dr. Robert Forrest (Stacy Keach) provides “tactical education units.” These human-like androids have been programmed to teach and are supplied with weapons to handle discipline problems. These kids will get a lesson in staying alive!

Boasting a screenplay by Full Moon stalwart C. Courtney Joyner and a cast including the likes of Stacy Keach, Pam Grier, Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Kilpatrick, and Traci Lind; Class of 1999 and its unique Stand and Deliver meets The Warriors meets The Terminator premise has garnered a loyal cult following over the years. We won’t mention the sequel. Forget I even brought it up. Sequel? What sequel?

Lionsgate Home Entertainment has announced Class of 1999 will be the next title getting a blu-ray release as part of their Vestron Collector’s Series in the first semester of 2018 with a fully loaded edition guaranteed to please fans and those that have yet to be educated on this enjoyable early Ninties b-movie extravaganza.

Disc extras will include:

Audio Commentary with Producer/Director Mark L. Lester
Interviews with Director/Producer Mark L. Lester and Co-Producer Eugene Mazzola
Interview with Screenwriter C. Courtney Joyner
Interviews with Special Effects Creators Eric Allard and Rick Stratton
Interview with Director of Photography Mark Irwin
Trailer & TV Spot
Still Gallery
Video Promo
Optional English, English SDH, and Spanish subtitles for the main feature

Class of 1999 graduates to blu-ray on January 30th.

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Buy Stuff From Eibon Press, Get More Stuff For Free

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Eibon Press have announced that they’re starting Black Friday a day early and will be running their specials for almost a week, through November 28th. This year, they’re doing something a little different, a little more interesting. Rather than reduce prices on their inventory, they’re doing a deal where depending on how much you buy from their store, you’ll get a certain amount of free swag in addition to your order.

The first tier sees anyone who makes a purchase getting two double-sided mini-posters featuring art from their upcoming Bottomfeeder and Maniac and The New York Ripper series. The second tier sees anyone who spends at least $30 getting a free copy of their VHS Comics titles Laserblast plus the mini-posters. The final tier is for those who spend $50 and more and that will net the mini-posters, the #1 issue of Laserblast, and a free copy of Lucio Fulci’s Gates of Hell #2.

Lastly, five random people will receive an extra bonus gift, which they won’t reveal but promise that, “…you’ll love it!

All order cans be placed via Eibon Press.

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