Psycho: Queering a classic. In Morris, G. (Ed.).

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
K. Jay Poole, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: As the first staccato chords ominously resound and the viewer sees through broken horizontal bars the word "Psycho," it is clear that what lies beyond these frames is no ordinary story, and a strange feeling of anxiety begins to rise in the throat along with the pitch of the violins. Screenwriter Joseph Stefano adapted Robert Bloch's novel Psycho1 into what would become one of Alfred Hitchcock's seminal works and one of the classic films of all time. On its surface, Psycho is a film about clandestine affairs, larceny, murder, secrets, and mental illness; however, between the shadows, there lies an exploration of the temptations of capitalism, sexual identity, gender roles, sexual expression, and a pedagogical message that demonstrates what horrible things can happen in the absence of "proper" development. Psycho reiterates to its viewers that people are not what or who they seem to be despite their appearances, and that evil acts may occur if a person has not resolved his or her sexual development and identity to a "normal" level. Interestingly, the story explored in Psycho has its roots in the queer events that unfolded in 1957 in the small town of Plainfield, Wisconsin.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2008
Alfred Hitchcock, sexuality, gender studies, queer studies, movie analysis

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