Psycho: A Tale of Sexuality, Transference of Guilt and The Charming Sociopath
RTVF 4970 – Dr. Overpeck
Alfred Hitchcock’s film Psycho exhibits several themes in its framework. Hitchcock had a common theme of birds, the charming sociopath, mothers, sexuality, blonde women and transference of guilt to name a few. While all of these themes are present, this research paper is to only explain and understand the themes of sexuality, the charming sociopath and the transference of guilt that is Norman Bates because it defines the entire film and its structure. Hitchcock sought to base the film loosely of the Wisconsin rural murders committed by Ed Gein, and off of the book by Robert Bloch also titled Psycho that was published in 1959. With a few adaptions, Hitchcock was able to make a film that uncomfortably presented its audience with horror film circled around the main character’s mental illness.
In an article written by Peter Breslow, he analyzes the character of Norman Bates and his sociopathic tendencies. Anthony ‘Tony’ Perkins, the actor that played Bates in the 1960 film, was a teen heartthrob at the time but his likeable demeanor casted a nice effect on the films dark storyline. Breslow wrote, “I would probably work with his hatred of this mother and his rage at being abandoned, Frank says. ‘And then I would work very intensively with how every single session, at the end of each session, he would probably feel like killing me — because he can't stand to have anybody turn their back on him.’ Near the end of Psycho, a psychiatrist explains what happened to Norman: that he had murdered his mother and her lover years earlier, after feeling abandoned by her. That, over the years, his personality had become shared with hers. That the mother half would kill those who threatened to come between mother and son — and that now Mother had taken over Norman's mind completely, and probably forever. Frank thinks the...