->''"A boy's best friend is his mother."''
-->-- [[AffablyEvil Norman Bates]]

[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Psycho_4320.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:300:"It is '''absolutely''' required that you see ''Psycho'' from the very beginning!"]]

''Psycho'', directed by Creator/AlfredHitchcock, was released in 1960.

It has two big famous plot twists; at the time, Hitchcock went to great lengths to keep them secret (including an ad pleading "Don't give away the ending -- it's the only one we have"), but these days, most people know about both through PopculturalOsmosis [[AllThereIsToKnowAboutTheCryingGame even if they know nothing else about the film]].

''Psycho'' begins as a crime thriller FilmNoir: Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) steals a large amount of cash from her employer and sets out for California, where she plans to hook up with her lover and start a new life. She stops for the night at the out-of-the-way Bates Motel, run by MommasBoy Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), who lives with his domineering mother in a house behind the hotel.

Twist #1: As Marion has a shower in her hotel room, a dimly-glimpsed knife-wielding maniac suddenly appears and stabs her to death in the film's most famous and oft-parodied scene.

After that, ''Psycho'' changes gears into something more along the lines of a psychological horror story (while retaining a few noir elements). The rest of the film follows the investigation into Marion's disappearance, first by a detective hired to recover the money she stole, and then, after he also falls victim to the knife-wielding psycho, by Marion's lover and her sister. It appears that Norman's mother may be killing off any woman he shows an interest in (the local sheriff mentions two other unsolved disappearances of young women in the area). This leads into...

Twist #2: Norman's mother has been dead for years. Her domination is now entirely in his head, a split personality with the persona of his mother. It is Norman, under the influence of this personality, who has been committing the murders. Though the Mrs. Bates personality insists that Norman is the real killer because she can't move.

Being such a popular movie, it naturally spawned three sequels (one being made-for-TV) that few know exist. Despite {{Sequelitis}} naturally setting in, they received better reviews than expected:
* ''Psycho II'' (1983). Norman is released from a mental institution after decades of incarceration. He is cured but relatives of his victims conspire to drive him insane again, hoping to have him re-committed. Score composed by JerryGoldsmith. This is ''not'' based on Creator/RobertBloch's 1982 novel of the same name, which has a completely different plot which Universal flatly refused to film. [[spoiler: Given that among other things it has a scene where many of the male movie stars of the day are portrayed as gay[[note]]It's actually shown to be a group of CampGay celebrity impersonators-- Bloch had to have one of his little jokes[[/note]] - not to mention the whole "Norman vanishes at an early stage before his fate is revealed towards the end of the book, and oh yeah he [[KilledOffForReal was killed]]" thing - you can see why.]]
* ''Psycho III'' (1986). Norman is involved with Maureen Coyle, a mentally unstable former nun. Her suicidal tendencies confuse him... just as "Mother" starts up her old [[StealthPun habit]]s again. Directed by Anthony Perkins himself.
* ''Psycho IV: The Beginning'' (1990): Norman has been rehabilitated and lives with his girlfriend Connie. He panics when he learns that Connie is pregnant, fearing that the child will inherit his mental illness. The film explores his younger years and his problematic relationship with his mother.

There was also an unrelated 1987 TV movie, ''Bates Motel'', involving a man who'd befriended Norman while being institutionalized with him, and on his release learns that the now-deceased Norman has willed the motel to him.

In 1998, Gus Van Sant released an almost shot-by-shot remake starring Anne Heche and Vince Vaughn. To the extent that it was the same as the original, it was widely regarded as pointless, and to the extent that it was different, it was widely regarded as inferior (probably the most notable difference being a shot of Norman [[ADateWithRosiePalms masturbating]] and a gratuitous scene of Creator/ViggoMortensen's butt). But the fact that somebody thought it might be a good idea suggests what a big place the original film has in the public memory. Indeed, Van Sant may have been doing us a favor: in his own words, he did it "so no-one else would have to". Look at the current trend of horror-film remakes (''Film/TheAmityvilleHorror'', ''Film/TheTexasChainsawMassacre2003'', ''Film/{{Halloween 2007}}'', ''Film/TheHitcher'', ''Film/FridayThe13th2009'', and even a new version of Hitchcock's own ''TheBirds'' came close to getting made at one point), and you'll notice he was ahead of the game in preventing Platinum Dunes from touching this one. Of course, [[ParodyRetcon he could just be backpedaling]].

The 2012 film ''Film/{{Hitchcock}}'' is based on Stephen Rebello's non-fiction book ''Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho'' and deals with the filming of ''Psycho''.

And in 2013 a TV series, also titled ''Series/BatesMotel'' and a [[{{Prequel}} prequel]] (albeit set in the modern day) debuted on the A&E Network.

The shower scene is now part of movie culture and the music used, along with the film itself, is used in many scholarly courses as prime examples of their chosen subject. It's also TropeNamer for PsychoStrings and PsychoShowerMurderParody.
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!!This film provides examples of:

* AdaptationalAttractiveness: In the novel, Norman is middle-aged, overweight, and a drinker. In the film, he is much younger and better looking and your basic "boy next door" type. Hitchcock felt the book's Norman Bates was too unlikable; making him better-looking made him slightly more sympathetic to the audience.
** It also makes what's coming more jarring. [[TheyLookJustLikeEveryoneElse Norman of the movie initially comes off as more sweet and lonely than creepy or threatening]], even with regards to his hobby of taxidermy. (He himself says it's too much, but all he has.)
* {{Adorkable}}: Initially, at least. Norman is handsome and sweet-natured, but stammering and shy - a little socially awkward. Hitchcock deliberately cast Perkins in the role to create this type of character, saying:
-->"I suddenly saw a tender, vulnerable young man you could feel incredibly sorry for."
* AdvertisingCampaigns: In a campaign considered unusual for the average movie, signs and trailers reminded people not to come in late to ''Psycho''. Hitchcock commissioned these to make sure everyone got a chance to see Janet Leigh's scenes, and they also ensured that viewers would not miss any important plot information. Previous Hitchcock movies then became re-released with ads reminding moviegoers to see each from its beginning.
* AffablyEvil: Norman. Movie-Norman/Anthony Perkins-Norman, that is.
* AloneWithThePsycho: The scene where Norman and Marion have dinner. It works so much better if you pretend you're watching it without spoilers. You begin the scene wondering what the clearly-going-psycho Marion is going to do to the helpless mama's boy. As the scene progresses you begin to fear Norman just a little bit more than her.
** [[spoiler: Connie in ''Psycho IV''.]]
* AndStarring: "And Janet Leigh as Marion Crane"
* AnimalMotifs: Specifically, bird motifs: the stuffed birds in the parlor and bird pictures on the walls, Norman comparing himself and Marion to caged birds and noting that she "eat(s) like a bird", Marion's surname is Crane, Norman eats candy corn in a birdlike manner, Marion's robbery happened in Phoenix. Even the trademark PsychoStrings (see below) are reminiscent of a bird's shrieks.
* AntiClimax: The scene in which the audience finds out the truth about Norman's mother forms an effective climax to the film, but the scene immediately following it (in which the psychologist details every aspect of Norman's psychosis in exhaustive detail) has been described as "an anticlimax taken almost to the point of parody".
* AntiHero: Marion steals $40,000, [[KickTheSonOfABitch but the man she steals from isn't the nicest fellow.]] Norman in ''II'' (HeroInNameOnly) as he has to deal with a couple of rabble rousers trying to {{Gaslight|ing}} him back into a mental hospital, to say nothing of the copycat killer that waited until the right moment--his release--to strike. In ''IV'' Norman is a mix between ClassicalAntiHero and [[UnscrupulousHero Vicious Anti-Hero]]) as he has worse problems than a mommy complex to deal with--namely, fears that his coming [[AdultFear firstborn could inherit his chronic insanity]], [[spoiler:and his eventual incineration of the house that had given him such bad memories they eroded at his sanity BIG TIME]].
* AnyoneCanDie: Both played straight and averted. Considering how genuinely terrifying Marion's death is, and how unexpected it is when it comes, there's only one other casualty for the rest of the movie. Hitchcock reels you in twice with this trope.
* ArtisticTitle: Courtesy of Saul Bass. Lines slide across the screen, bringing up and pushing away peoples' names.
* AssholeVictim: [[spoiler: Lila, Mr Toomey and Emma Spool]] in ''Psycho II''.
** Not to mention [[spoiler: Duane Duke]] in ''Psycho III''.
* AuthorAppeal: Janet Leigh, one in a long line of blonde leads for Hitchcock.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Part of what makes the movie so effective.
* BigBad: Norman Bates. He ranges anywhere from VillainProtagonist to Type IV or V AntiHero throughout the series.
** The exception to this is [[spoiler:''Psycho II'', where Norman is set up to be the Big Bad, but it actually turns out to be Emma Spool. In a grand subversion however, Norman steals the title of Big Bad back from her in the very last scene of the film]].
* BreakTheCutie: Marion. Her death comes AFTER a conversation with Norman convinces her to go back and turn in the money. It's also heavily implied that his mother's abuse did this to Norman, and made completely explicit in the sequels.
* CanonDiscontinuity: ''The Beginning'' ignores everything but the original. Presumably because [[spoiler:the ending of the third movie suggests he won't be released again. Arguably justified as Norman had been released in the second movie and deemed sane, but was driven insane again rather quickly and went back to committing murders, making the chances of another release very unlikely indeed]].
* CasanovaWannabe: Duane Duke in ''Psycho III''
* ChairReveal: The famous scene in which Lila spins around Mother's chair to reveal a mummified corpse.
* ChekhovsSkill: Norman Bates, amateur taxidermist.
* ChickMagnet: Norman claimed to be this as a teenager in Psycho IV. One girl literally ran into his house, and the other was a woman ''twice'' his age. You can guess how it ended though...
* CollidingCriminalConspiracies: Marion fleeing wth some stolen cash and ending up dead.
** [[spoiler: Lila Loomis' gambit and Mrs Spool's gambit in ''Psycho II''.]]
* CoolCar: The '57 Ford Custom 300 Fordor that Marion buys from California Charlie.
* CreatorCameo: As with all Hitchcock films. He's standing outside the bank where Marion works, wearing a cowboy hat.
** Gus Van Sant pops up in the same location in the remake, along with a Hitchcock lookalike.
* CreepyBasement: Super creepy, lit by a bare bulb hanging from the ceiling, as Lila finds out the truth about Mother.
* DarkComedy: Creator/AlfredHitchcock considered ''Psycho'' to be this.
* ADateWithRosiePalms: Implied in the original; lamentably explicit in the remake.
* DaylightHorror: Though all of the scary events take place at night, the four scariest scenes in the film - the shower scene, Arbogast's death, the reveal of Norman Bates as the killer, and the final scene where Norman has an extremely creepy interior monologue - all occur not just in well-lit rooms, but rooms with lights that are actually intense and glaring in the case of the shower and reveal scenes.
* DeadHandShot: The famous shot of Marion's hand flopping down onto the bathroom floor as she falls over dead.
* DeadStarWalking: One of the earliest examples of this trope, and maybe the most famous. Marion Crane is the central character and Janet Leigh is the star--until she gets offed completely out of nowhere thirty minutes into the movie, and the film becomes something very different.
* DecoyProtagonist: Marion. Some have argued that after Marion is killed, [[VillainProtagonist Norman]] becomes the film's real protagonist.
* DeliberatelyMonochrome: Allegedly to save time and money on special effects, as they could use chocolate syrup rather than having to mix up a batch of KensingtonGore. Hitchcock also said that in color, the fake blood going down the drain would be pink, and pink is not scary.
* DiesWideOpen: Marion Crane, as revealed in the incredibly chilling shot that ends the shower scene.
* DiggingYourselfDeeper: Norman does this in his dinner conversation with Marion, comparing her to a bird because birds eat a lot.
* DoNotSpoilThisEnding: In 1960, at least. But at the time it was common to go to a movie halfway through and watch the rest with the next run. This one was set up so you had to watch it front to back. A few years later this would catch on with all movies.
* EarnYourHappyEnding: [[spoiler: Norman in ''Psycho IV''.]]
* EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas: Although Bates probably wouldn't be so bad if he could just forget about her.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: In ''Psycho II'', when Norman finds out that his motel is being exploited by his Manager Toomey for prostitution and drugs since he's been away, he fires him. When Toomey threatens to have him locked up, Norman counters with blackmail. [[spoiler: Toomey dies anyway, just not by Norman's hands.]]
* EvilMatriarch: Mother is cruel and murderous.
* EvilOldFolks: [[spoiler: Mrs Spool in ''Psycho II''.]]
* EyeOpen: One of the more disturbing ones in cinema history, as Hitchcock cuts to a tight closeup of Marion's dead, staring eye before a spiraling zoom out from her face.
* FaceHeelTurn: Marion's sister goes from seeking justice on her sister's murderer to just plain paranoid when she hears Norman's being released after 22 years in the mental hospital and spends a good portion of ''II'' trying to {{Gaslight|ing}} Norman back into a mental hospital where she thinks he belongs, not giving one shit that he's been cured and trying to make doubly sure his mental health never recovers from this second assault on his sanity.
* FaceRevealingTurn: A particularly ghastly version of this trope forms TheReveal when Lila finds Mother in the basement.
* FanDisservice: The shower scene. Marion's nudity and vulnerability make the scene all the more terrifying.
* {{Fanservice}}: Janet Leigh stripped down to a bra and slip in multiple scenes.
** There's another shower scene in ''Psycho II'', but rather than it being a scene of shocking violence, we get a flash of Meg Tilly's breasts and a lingering shot of her toweling off, lovingly centered on her naked butt.
* FilmNoir: The first half of the movie, anyway.
* TheFilmOfTheBook: Robert Bloch's novel was published in 1959, and Hitchcock's film sticks very close to the novel's plot. Other than the AdaptationalAttractiveness (see above), the only main difference in the novel is that the conversation between Marion ("Mary" in the book) and Norman actually takes place in the house.
* TheFifties in the original, TheEighties in the sequels.
* FoilerFootage: ''Psycho IV'' reportedly had 4 endings filmed to fool... someone.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: A lot of Norman's more blackly comic lines ("She's not herself today", "A boy's best friend is his mother" and "Living with an invalid, it's ''practically'' like living alone") and his rambling monologue about mental hospitals take on a much greater significance once you know the ending.
** Not to mention one of Marion's lines ("They also pay who meet in hotel rooms") in the opening scene. Also, when Marion is packing to leave Phoenix with the money, her bathtub and shower are prominently visible in the background.
* FramingDevice: The radio show about marticide is one for Psycho IV, as Norman uses it to discuss the terrible childhood that the movie explores.
* FreudianExcuse: And how! There's a whole speech at the end explaining the HollywoodPsych behind the plot.
* GambitPileup: The ending of ''Psycho II'' is a particularly contrived example.
* {{Gaslighting}}: Poor Norman in ''Psycho II''.
* GenreShift:
** Typical Hitchcock film: crime thriller, anti-heroine steals a wad of cash and goes on the run. First act ends with her pulling into a roadside motel for the night--and then a huge GutPunch as the film turns into a dark and violent drama.
** Also applies to the sequels. While ''Psycho'' and ''Psycho II'' were mystery films at their heart, ''Psycho III'' is more akin to a slasher film, as it makes no attempt to hide the fact that Norman is committing all the murders, while 1987's ''Bates Motel'' completely jumps tracks and becomes a PilotMovie for an anthology series.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: Norman staring at Marion through the peephole. ''Something'' is causing his body to shake. We also see Norman go in to stare at the dead Marion, then later see him leave the room and wipe his hand on his shirt. [[ADateWithRosiePalms Yeah]].
** Towards the end of the shower scene, when Marion reaches out and grabs the shower curtain, the naked breasts of body double Marli Renfro are visible in the background out of focus. (Picture [[http://www.hitchcockwiki.com/blog/?p=274 here]], possibly NSFW).
* GollumMadeMeDoIt: Norman's a nice guy! It was Mother!
* GoodColorsEvilColors: Marion changes from white lingerie and a light-colored dress to black lingerie and a darker dress after deciding to embezzle the money.
* GrandFinale: ''Psycho IV'' was made into this at Anthony Perkins' request, since he knew he was suffering from AIDS and would likely not have lived long enough to make a fifth film.
* GuiltComplex: A theme of the first third of the film. Marian is wracked with guilt over stealing the money, to the point that she probably felt her murder was a KarmicDeath.
* GutPunch: The shower sequence is possibly the single most famous example ever.
* HalfwayPlotSwitch: The first half of the film focuses more on Marion's fleeing and her interaction with Norman. The shower murder that triggers the latter of the plot doesn't come until halfway.
** Probably one of the best in cinema history, since most people who haven't seen the movie assume the death is the climax... something Hitchcock counted on with his promotions.
** Hitchcock did this intentionally to upset the audience. Up until that mid-way point, the audience had been identifying with an attractive, blonde, cold-blooded thief. Halfway through they suddenly have to switch their identity onto a creepy young man who is covering up a murder. Hitchcock wanted the terror of the film to come from the audience being disgusted with ''themselves''.
* HandOfDeath: A hand wielding a knife in two murder scenes.
* HellHotel: [[TropeCodifier Codified]] the "roadside motel with creepy owner" variation.
* HeyWait: Marion starts to drive away from California Charlie's without her suitcase from her old car.
* [[LukeIAmYourFather I Am Your Mother]]: Mrs. Emma Spool at the end of ''Psycho II''. [[spoiler: She's crazy and ''not'' his mother.]]
* IncestSubtext: On a stormy night in ''Psycho 4'', his mother makes Norman take off his clothes and snuggle up beside her in the matrimonial bed. This experience scares him, so he sleeps in his own bed instead. Daubing her in the same part is also heavily eroticized, confirmed by her sudden snap-out scare and rampage. And their overall jealousy of every girl he likes/her boyfriend.
* InfoDump:
** The original film features a long one in the penultimate scene, filling in one or two things that weren't made entirely clear earlier, but otherwise just telling the audience stuff they already know. About the one thing that everyone agreed the 1998 remake improved on was that it trimmed the scene down to just a few lines.
** Subverted in the second film, where the sheriff gives a very similar Info Dump to his deputies and some reporters. The problem is that his conclusions are completely incorrect, and he's oblivious to the fact that [[spoiler:Norman has gone crazy again]].
* JumpScare: Arbogast's death scene. Before it happens it's apprehensive and the atmosphere is tense, then the strings start up as "Mrs. Bates" blindsides the poor sap out of nowhere.
* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler:Only really in the second movie for murdering Mrs. Spool, not that she was so innocent herself.]] Otherwise averted, as Norman is arrested for the murders in the first and third movies.
* KensingtonGore: Chocolate syrup variety.
* KillItWithFire: [[spoiler: The solution Norman finds to get rid of Mother once and for all in ''Psycho IV''? Burning down the Bates house.]]
* KnifeNut: Norman's weapon of choice.
* KubrickStare: Norman gives a particularly unnerving stare directly at the audience in the last scene, making this a possible TropeMaker, if not UrExample.
** Made even creepier by the fact that in the last frames of that scene, Norman's face is superimposed with that of his mother's skull.
** He repeats the same stare in the last scene of ''Psycho III''.
* KuleshovEffect: The shower scene is often used as an example of this trope. After watching it, everyone immediately understands that Janet Leigh's character has been stabbed to death, but if you slow it down, only three frames actually show a knife piercing human flesh (this is fast enough to count as subliminal messaging). The audience's understanding of what has taken place comes entirely from the way the images and sound are arranged, not from the actual content.
* LoveRedeems: A theme in all of the sequels, each of which gives Norman a love interest: Mary, Maureen and Connie. It plays with it a little though: it's more that the love of a good woman might keep Norman stable and deal with his sexual repression [[spoiler:though, sadly, it doesn't work well enough in the case of Maureen because of bad luck, and Mary's efforts were undone by the actions of her own mother and Emma Spool... and bad luck]].
* MacGuffin: The stolen money is just a motivational element for the lead character to run away and wind up at the motel.
** Unlike most Hitchcock movies, however, the motivation's not the apparent one. It's the red herring that helps set up the HalfwayPlotSwitch's effectiveness, since Bates is clearly broke. That Marion died was an open secret that everyone knew about, so the revelation that Marion intended to return the cash felt to them like Norman or his mother were going to find out and kill her over it. Hitchcock played to audience expectations, then crushed them an hour early. The end result is that the movie first-time watchers expect is thrown out the window less than halfway through the running time, and nobody knows what to expect next.
* MatchCut: The shower drain to Marion's eye.
* MirrorScare: Subverted. While searching the Bates house, Lila is startled by her own double reflection in a pair of mirrors in Norman's mother's room.
* MommyIssues: And how.
* MrExposition: The psychiatrist.
* MrsRobinson: See ChickMagnet.
* MummiesAtTheDinnerTable: Norman keeps his mother's corpse in the master bedroom, occasionally taking her to the basement when someone comes to the house.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: In the second movie, Lila and Mary attempt to {{Gaslight|ing}} Norman in order to drive him crazy again and get him sent back to the asylum for the rest of his life. They only manage the former, likely because they weren't counting on [[spoiler:Emma Spool]]'s interference.
* NoTellMotel: Not the Bates Motel, but the place where Marion and Sam have met for a tryst in the opening scene.
* NothingIsScarier: There is extremely little explicit horror content in the film. It was made by The Master of Suspense himself, after all.
* OedipusComplex: What drove Norman to commit his first murders ([[UnreliableNarrator if his description of events in the fourth movie are to be trusted, anyway]]).
** It's pretty obvious he suffers from this based on dialogue from the first film.
* OhCrap: Arbogast clearly gets a moment of this.
* ParentalIncest: Norman's ''extreme'' issues with his mother and sexuality are both very firmly connected. As the sequels which go into his youth detail how, at the very least, their relationship was ''weird.''
* PeekABooCorpse: Even if you already know Norma Bates is dead, her corpse ''will'' freak you out. No eyes!
** The light bulb's swaying is to intentionally give the impression that the corpse is ''alive'' and ''laughing''.
** It's worse than that. Every bird in the movie was a ChekhovsGun staring right at you.
* PeepingTom: Norman has a peephole in the office that he uses to watch Marion in Cabin #1 when she undresses for the shower.
* PragmaticAdaptation: The film is very different from the novel: most notably, Marion Crane only appears in one chapter, and the shower scene takes place offscreen.
** As well as the character of Norman Bates going from a middle-aged alcoholic to a younger, handsome and deceptively sweet-natured kind of guy.
* PrivateDetective: Arbogast, who has been sent to find Marion because the people back in Phoenix don't want to call the cops.
* PsychopathicManchild: Norman. It becomes more apparent when Lila Crane snoops through Norman's room and finds his toys.
* PsychoStrings: TropeNamer, along with PsychoShowerMurderParody.
** NGG! NGG! NGG! NGG!
* RedemptionEqualsDeath: Marion takes her fatal shower more or less immediately after deciding to go back to Phoenix, return the money, and face the music.
* {{Retcon}}: The 1987 ''Bates Motel'' TV movie retcons the second and third films out of existence, and also makes one bizarre change by altering the name of Norman's mother from Norma to Gloria, and establishing that instead of being hidden in her bedroom (or the cellar), Norman buried her body underneath the Bates Motel sign.
* SacrificialLion: Offing an important character in order to make a sudden change in direction--Marion is a perfect example.
* SequelHook: The second movie ends with [[spoiler:Norman driven insane again, but thought perfectly harmless by the authorities. He's also back at the motel again with "Mother" watching over him.]]
* SerialKiller: Norman Bates is easily one of the most famous examples.
* SexIsEvilAndIAmHorny: Norman's reaction in the novel when he is peeking Marion in her room.
* SexyWalk: Sharp eyes will notice Norman goes up the stairs swiveling like a woman in the first film.
* TheSheriff: Al Chambers
* ShirtlessScene: Sam Loomis, in the hotel room at the beginning.
* ShovelStrike: [[spoiler: Emma Spool's fate]] in ''Psycho II.''
* ShowerScene: It seems like it should be pretty sexy--we are talking about Janet Leigh naked, after all--but Hitchcock frames and shoots the scene to give it an ominous feel. Then the door opens and the movie veers off in a completely different direction.
* TheShrink: Delivers a painfully long, boring InfoDump in which he spells out everything that the audience already knows.
* SinisterShades: Worn by the cop who wakes Marion up in her car.
* SlasherMovie: Not a full member of the genre, but a clear influence on those that followed.
** While the movie does codify the short, vicious bursts of violence punctuating long set-ups, it's otherwise thoroughly averted. Only two people die on-camera, and a third is only threatened. While there's plenty implying that this isn't the first time Norman's killed, even since his mother, the gore is subdued and the violence mostly off-camera.
* SlasherSmile: Norman gets off an epic one at the end in the back of the police car.
* SlashersPreferBlondes. More accurately, Creator/AlfredHitchcock prefers blondes.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVsCynicism: Waaaaay over on the cynical side.
* SortingAlgorithmOfMortality / SortingAlgorithmOfDeadness: Defies both of these. No one expected the main character to be killed off, and less expected her to ''stay dead'' once it happened. And yet, that's what this film does. Think about how few films defy this rule even today, and you get a sense of just how ahead of its time ''Psycho'' was.
* SplitPersonalityTakeover: According to the psychiatrist, "Mother" has taken over, and in the last scene Norman is talking in Mother's voice and having Mother's internal dialogue.
* StealingFromTheTill: Marion makes a crazy spur-of-the-moment decision to run off from the bank she works at with forty grand.
* SweetTooth: Norman is constantly munching on candy.
* TaxidermyIsCreepy / TaxidermyTerror: Norman's office at the Bates Motel is decorated with various stuffed birds. This serves to establish seemingly mild-mannered Norman as creepy and weird even before the HalfwayPlotSwitch.
* ToplessnessFromTheBack: [[ShowerScene Guess]].
* UnableToSupportAWife: Sam Loomis can't, which is why Marion steals the $40,000.
* UnbuiltTrope: Almost a deconstruction of slasher movies before the genre would even take hold two decades later with ''Film/{{Halloween 1978}}'', it plays around with NothingIsScarier, something that would only begin to re-emerge in TheAughts with films like ''Film/TheRing'' and ''Film/TheGrudge''.
* TheUnfairSex: An AvertedTrope. Marion's a thief and Norman's mother was abusive.
* UnintentionalPeriodPiece: Interestingly, Gus van Sant's 1999 remake is more this than the original is, thanks to the only new line of dialogue van Sant put in the script. Julianne Moore as Lila is listening to a Sony Walkman when she's introduced, and she says "Let me get my Walkman" when she and Sam are leaving his hardware store.
* UnresolvedSexualTension: Between Marion and Norman.
* UrExample: One of the {{Ur Example}}s of the SlasherMovie.
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: One of 1,000 films based on good ole Ed Gein.
** To put this in perspective, the other movie famously based on this is ''Film/TheTexasChainSawMassacre1974''. [[spoiler: The primary difference is that ''Psycho'' reflects more on how seemingly harmless and normal Norman was, while ''TCM'' dwells primarily on the grisly nature of Gein's crimes.]]
* ViewersAreMorons: Surely the only explanation for the psychiatrist scene.
** Creator/RogerEbert criticized that scene in his 1998 review of the film, saying it "marred the ending of a masterpiece" and was "an anticlimax taken almost to the point of parody." Hitchcock, having made ''Psycho'' before villains as psychologically screwed up as Norman Bates were commonplace, may have believed that the audience would be unable to accept his behavior unless the motives were spelled out in explicit detail. Knowing that doesn't make the nearly-five-minute speech any easier to sit through, though.
*** Knowing Hitchcock's usual methods of audience manipulation, he was probably invoking this ''on purpose'', to make the smarter members of the audience uncomfortable with the idea that this pat explanation is all that's necessary to understand Norman.
* VillainousCrossdresser: Probably TropeCodifier.
* VillainProtagonist: Marion is a thief. Norman's evil personality is a murderer. Norman's "good" personality tries to cover up the evidence of the evil personality's crimes.
* VisualInnuendo: The entire shower scene. The distinctly phallic silhouette of the knife, the stabbing (or rather, penetration), the ejaculatory spurts of blood. It's symbolic of a rape that the severely repressed killer cannot otherwise carry out.
* WallSlump: A dying Marion slumps against the wall and slides down to the bottom of the tub.
** Norman's reaction to seeing her.
* WhamLine: "Norman Bates's mother has been dead and buried in Greenlawn Cemetery for the past ten years."
* WhamShot: Mother!
* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds: Norman. The things he does are quite "mad," but look at who raised him. How could anyone not sympathize with him in at least some capacity?
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