★★★★ out of ★★★★★
Everything you never knew you needed to know about Psycho‘s killer shower.
Directed by Alexandre O. Philippe
It took 78 different shot set-ups, 52 separate cuts, and a full week of filming to capture the most iconic scene in horror movie history. I’m talking about the infamous Shower Scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 horror classic, Psycho.
Documentarian Alexandre O. Philippe [The People vs. George Lucas (2010)] brings together actors, film editors, directors, musicians, and film historians to pull back the curtain on this well known scene. Hear from folks like…
- Guillermo del Toro [Director – The Shape of Water (2017)]
- Eli Roth [Director – Cabin Fever (2002)]
- Neil Marshall [Director – The Descent (2005)]
- Danny Elfman [Composer – Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)]
- Bob Murawski [Editor – Army of Darkness (1992)]
- Josh C. Waller – [Producer – Mandy (2018)]
Not to mention…
- Jamie Lee Curtis; actor and daughter of the shower scene victim herself, Janet Leigh
- Osgood Perkins; writer/director [The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015)] and son of the man who put the psycho in Psycho, Anthony Perkins
- Marli Renfro; pinup model and the uncredited showering body double for Janet Leigh
Philippe takes all of this great information plus archive footage of interviews with Alfred Hitchcock and presents it in an entertaining way that holds the viewer’s attention.
Obviously, the mechanics of the shower scene itself are discussed — editing, music, camera work, storyboarding, and so on — but the documentary doesn’t stop there. How did Hitchcock get so much past the very strict minders of cinematic decency? Was it really taboo to show toilets in American movies? How did audiences react to the film’s release? Why was it shot in black and white when Hitchcock’s previous film, North by Northwest (1959), was in full technicolor? What does a casaba melon have to do with anything?
If you’re at all interested in what goes into making our favorite films and/or you’re a fan of Hitchcock, Psycho, or pretty much any movie where someone gets stabbed, I highly recommend this IFC Midnight documentary.
78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene is available for streaming on Amazon these days.