How did Sigmund Freud’s theories make their way into a classic Alfred Hitchcock film?

Sigmund Freud Read more from
Chapter Introducing the Basics

Alfred Hitchcock’s classic suspense film Psycho, which came out in 1960, provides an excellent example of how Sigmund Freud’s theories have permeated popular culture. In the famous shower scene, Marion Crane (played by Janet Leigh) is stabbed to death by a knife wielding Norman Bates (played by Tony Perkins). At the end of the movie we learn that Bates’s excessive attachment to his mother has lead him to murder her in a fit of jealous rage, following his discovery of her romantic involvement with another man. Attempting to keep his mother alive, however, he preserves her body in the basement. At the same time, he takes on her identity as his own alter ego. Finally, while dressed up as his dead mother, he murders Marion Crane to eliminate any possible rival for his attentions. Such unmistakably Oedipal themes are clearly indebted to Sigmund Freud and psychoanalytic theory.


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