[[caption-width-right:300:"It is '''absolutely''' required that you see ''Psycho'' from the very beginning!"]]

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

Arguably the best-known film directed by Creator/AlfredHitchcock, released in 1960.

The story, adapted by Hitchcock and screenwriter Joseph Stefano from Creator/RobertBloch's novel of the same name published the year before, has not one but ''two'' major 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 thanks to PopCulturalOsmosis, even if they [[AllThereIsToKnowAboutTheCryingGame know nothing else about the film]].

''Psycho'' begins as a FilmNoir-style crime thriller: Marion Crane (Creator/JanetLeigh), a secretary at a Phoenix real estate office, steals a large amount of cash from her employer's client and sets out for California, where she plans to hook up with her lover and start a new life. After two days of driving--plus an unnerving encounter with a highway patrolman and a hasty exchange of cars--she stops for the night at the desolate, out-of-the-way Bates Motel, run by nervous MommasBoy Norman Bates (Creator/AnthonyPerkins), who lives with his domineering mother in an ominous Victorian house behind the motel.

Twist #1: As Marion takes a shower in her motel room, a dimly-glimpsed, knife-wielding maniac suddenly appears and brutally 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 combination mystery and PsychologicalHorror story, while retaining a few noir elements. The rest of the film follows the investigation into Marion's disappearance, first by a private detective (Martin Balsam) hired to recover the money she stole, and then, after he also falls victim to the knife-wielding psycho, by Marion's lover (Creator/JohnGavin) and her sister (Creator/VeraMiles). It appears that Norman's mother may be killing off any woman he shows an interest in; the local sheriff (John [=McIntire=]) 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 SplitPersonality sharing 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. Anthony Perkins reprised his role and even directed the third movie. Despite {{Sequelitis}} naturally setting in, they received better reviews than expected, largely due to Perkins' acting talents:

* ''Film/PsychoII'' (1983)
* ''Film/PsychoIII'' (1986)
* ''Film/PsychoIVTheBeginning'' (1990)

There was also an unrelated 1987 TV movie, ''[[Film/BatesMotel1987 Bates Motel]]'', involving a man named Alex (Bud Cort) 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 directed an almost shot-by-shot remake starring Anne Heche and Creator/VinceVaughn. 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 trend of horror-film remakes from the oughts (''Film/TheAmityvilleHorror2005'', ''Film/TheTexasChainsawMassacre2003'', ''Film/{{Halloween 2007}}'', ''Film/TheHitcher'', ''Film/FridayThe13th2009'', and even a new version of Hitchcock's own ''Film/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}} (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 {{Trope Namer|s}} for PsychoStrings and PsychoShowerMurderParody.

As one last footnote, it holds the honor of being the first film ever released on home video.

!!This film provides examples of:


[[folder: AD]]
* AbusiveParents: Mrs. Bates inflicted awful emotional abuse on her son, Norman. First of all, she cut him off from all other society throughout childhood, making him utterly dependent on her. All the while, she tells him that sex is evil and dirty, and that women are whores (except her). She then abandons him at age 12 when she finds a boyfriend. Unable to deal with the loss of his one companion, Norman murders them both. Wracked with guilt afterwards, his Dissociative Identity Disorder is triggered, occasionally taking on her personality to deal with his guilt and grief. Unfortunately, even the internalized Mrs. Bates is emotionally abusive, and Norman is riddled with anxieties over his sexuality and still smothered by his domineering mother.
* 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 and screenwriter Joseph Stefano 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.)
* AdaptationDistillation: The novel starts with Norman and mother arguing, with Mary arriving at the motel in the next chapter. This is cut from the movie, which starts out with Marion and Sam post-tryst.
* AdaptationNameChange: Marion is named Mary in the novel.
* {{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 Creator/JanetLeigh'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.
* AfterActionVillainAnalysis: The film ends with a wrap-up where the psychiatrist tells everyone (including the audience) Norman's situation.
* AlasPoorVillain: It's difficult not to feel sorry for Norman. After all, he was warped by a very twisted and abusive upbringing and the murders were really not done out of malice on his part.
* AloneWithThePsycho: The scene where Norman and Marion have dinner--in retrospect, at least. Although it's notable how Norman, who seemed so harmless, starts to come off as creepy in this scene.
* AndStarring: "And Janet Leigh as Marion Crane."
* AnimalMotifs: Specifically, bird motifs-- the stuffed birds in the parlor and bird pictures in the motel room, Norman compares himself and Marion to caged birds and notes that she eats "like a bird", Marion's surname is Crane and her robbery takes place in Phoenix, Norman eats candy corn in a birdlike manner. Even the trademark PsychoStrings (see below) are reminiscent of a bird's calls.
* AntagonistTitle: Norman Bates is the psycho, not the woman he murders in the shower (Marion Crane). Averted by the sequels, where Bates becomes an AntiHero or AntiVillain depending on the film.
* 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]].
* AnyoneCanDie: Played straight ''and'' averted. Considering how genuinely terrifying Marion's death is, and how unexpected it is when it comes, it's surprising to discover 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. Watch [[http://www.artofthetitle.com/title/psycho/ here]].
* AuthorAppeal: Janet Leigh, one in a long line of blonde leads for Hitchcock.
* BaitAndSwitchComment: Marion, nervous and paranoid from her encounter with the police officer that morning, pulls into California Charlie's used car lot and starts looking over the vehicles for sale. Then the dealer comes up behind her...
-->'''Charlie:''' I'm in no mood for trouble.
-->'''Marion:''' (''startled'') What?
-->'''Charlie:''' There's an old saying: "First customer of the day is always trouble." But, like I say, I'm in no mood for it, so I'm gonna treat you so fair and square that you won't have one human reason...
* BeneathTheMask: Everyone. Marion, the hard working secretary who isn't. And Norman, of course. He seems sweet and timid but what psychosis and a murderous alternate personality lies underneath.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Part of what makes the movie so effective.
* BigBad: Norman Bates. He ranges anywhere from VillainProtagonist to AntiHero throughout the series.
* BlackBlood: Hitchcock famously shot the film in black and white, specifically so he could use chocolate syrup to represent blood in the shower scene.
* BlackBraAndPanties: Marion starts the film wearing a white bra and slip. When she decides to make off with stolen cash, she changes to a black bra and slip to symbolize her fall from grace and Norman's attraction to her.
* BloodIsSquickerInWater: The shower scene ends with bloodied water going down the drain. It was made possible with chocolate syrup. An inversion of this is also why the movie is in Black and White, since Hitchcock felt that "pink wasn't scary".
* {{Bowdlerise}}: While the shower scene is hardly tame, it's still toned down from its corresponding scene in the book, where Marion is ''[[OffWithHisHead decapitated]]''.
--> ". . .started to scream, and then the curtains parted further and a hand appeared, holding a butchers knife. It was the knife that, a moment later, cut off her scream. And her head."
* BreakTheCutie: Marion. Her death comes ''after'' a conversation with Norman convinces her to go back and turn in the money. Also Norman, of course. It's also heavily implied that his mother's abuse did this to Norman, and made completely explicit in the sequels.
* CampingACrapper: The film showed a toilet on film for the first time...followed shortly by the infamous shower scene.
* CarpetRolledCorpse: Shower curtain rather, but the concept still applies.
* CastAsAMask: [[spoiler: Creator/AnthonyPerkins]] doesn't play Norma Bates until the very end of the film. Up until that point, the role was assumed by several different actors.
* CensorDecoy: Hitchcock put a shot of Marion Crane's buttocks in his original cut so the censors would let him keep a plot-important scene of a flushed toilet, which at the time would not have been allowed to be shown on film.
* CentralTheme: Expressed by Norman during one of his more lucid moments, in conversation with Marion.
-->'''Norman Bates''': I think that we're all in our private traps, clamped in them, and none of us can ever get out. We scratch and we claw, but only at the air, only at each other, and for all of it, we never budge an inch.
* ChairReveal: The famous scene in which Lila spins around Mother's chair to reveal a mummified corpse.
* ChekhovsGun: The statue of Cupid that Arbogast espies when he enters the Bates home is what Maureen fatally strikes her head on in the [[Film/PsychoIII third movie]].
* ChekhovsSkill: Norman Bates, amateur taxidermist.
* CollidingCriminalConspiracies: Marion fleeing wth some stolen cash and ending up dead.
* 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. He was very careful about the placement of this; his cameos were well-known by then, and he knew that people would be looking for him. He also knew that showing up any later in the movie would disrupt the mood he was going for, so it had to be right at the beginning.
** 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.
* CreepyCrossdresser: Probably TropeCodifier. But he doesn't do it intentionally.
* CrimeConcealingHobby: Played with. Norman's hobby is taxidermy, which not only establishes him as kind of creepy, but also would provide ample reason for him to know how to chemically disinfect things. However, this isn't used as while he does clean the bathroom, it's an efficient scrub. Still, it's implied that after he (and, yes, at this point very mentally ill) grave-robbed his mother's corpse after murdering her, to make her appear as semi-lifelike as she does he may have stuffed her, too. With his mental state surrounding his mother, though, he probably wouldn't know if he did.
-->'''Marion:''' A man should have a hobby.
-->'''Norman:''' Well, it's, it's more than a hobby. A hobby's supposed to pass the time, not fill it.
-->'''Marion:''' Is your time so empty? [...] Do you go out with friends?
-->'''Norman:''' [[Main/AFIS100Years100MovieQuotes Well, a boy's best friend is his mother.]]
* CultSoundtrack: Most films by Hitchcock are memorable for Music/BernardHerrmann's music, but this one in particular has become a PopCulturalOsmosis in the sense that many people recognize the famous "shower stabbing" violins from the countless parodies.
* CuteAndPsycho: Norman has very cute mannerisms and verbal tics (nibbling candy, giggling, stuttering, saying "sorry" and "gee") and his boy-next-door looks don't hurt anything, but none of it changes the fact that he's pretty much out of his mind.
* DarkComedy: Creator/AlfredHitchcock considered ''Psycho'' to be this.
* ADateWithRosiePalms: Slightly implied in the original; lamentably explicit in the remake.
* DaylightHorror: Though they all 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. One of the scariest moments is [[NothingIsScarier Lila walking up to the Bates Motel.]]
* 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. Another rumor is that color would have made the murder scene too gory, which would have pulled viewers out of the narrative.
* DefyingTheCensors: There is a rumor that this film was not passed for release because Janet Leigh's nipple (or more accurately, that of her body double) was visible during the shower scene. Hitchcock made no changes and merely sent it back, assuming that nobody at the [[UsefulNotes/TheHaysCode Hays Office]] would bother to watch it.
** Probably the bigger contributor is that Hitchcock wanted to make the film with a lower budget; Paramount didn't want to do ''Psycho'' due to its content, so Hitchcock financed the film himself, bringing the budget down by using the crew from his TV series to shoot the film. This also included shooting in black-and-white, since color film was still very expensive in 1960. The opportunity for better blood effects was coincidental.
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: At the end, on the window of an office in the police station.
-->"Office Of Deputy District Attorney. Alan Deats, Deputy District Attorney."
* DevelopingDoomedCharacters: Audiences were led to believe that the film was all about Marion Crane...until she had that unfortunate incident in the shower.
* DidIMentionItsChristmas:
** The film begins on "Friday, December the Eleventh" according to an onscreen graphic during the opening shot, and Christmas decorations can be seen in downtown Phoenix as Marion leaves town. However, no further allusion to the holiday is made although the film's narrative extends later into the month. (Albeit, this was not intentional. The film crew noticed after filming that decorations were up, and decided to superimpose a December date to make it work.)
* 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.
** He also reveals more than he intends in his conversation with Arbogast.
* DirtyOldMan: Cassidy, well into his 60s, casually tries to flirt with 22-year-old Marion. The fact that a man his age has a teenage daughter also implies [[SugarDaddy he likes them young]].
* DiscOneFinalBoss: Think [[PrivateDetective Arbogast]] will be the one to crack the case and expose Norman and his mother? [[spoiler: ''Wrong.'']]
* DisposingOfABody: Norman uses the in-a-trunk-in-a-car-in-a-lake variant.
* 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.
%%* DrivingADesk
* DropDeadGorgeous: [[spoiler:Marion is slashed to death while taking a shower. Camera angles and fast cutting give the impression of a naked body, though no actual nudity is shown]].

[[folder: EM]]
* EpicTrackingShot: The opening shot was meant to be one, with the camera panning through the city until it entered the hotel room Marion was having her affair in. It proved impossible to do with the technology of the time, so Hitchcock used a series of cuts to achieve a similar effect.
* EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas: Although Bates probably wouldn't be so bad if he could get out of the psychological hold she's inflicted onto him since he was a young child.
* EvilMatriarch: Norma Bates is cruel, abusive, and murderous.
* 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.
* TheFaceless: Mother Bates, until the climax of the film.
* FaceRevealingTurn: A particularly ghastly version of this trope forms TheReveal when Lila finds Mother in the basement.
* FakeOutOpening: At the behest of Alfred Hitchcock himself, audiences were not allowed to enter theatres after the film began, as to not spoil the twists. One of which being the fact that the character we spend the entire first part of the film with is replaced with an entirely new one, despite the fact Janet Leigh was promoted as the star on all the advertising.
* FanDisservice: The shower scene. Marion's nudity and vulnerability make the scene all the more terrifying.
* {{Fanservice}}: Marion appears stripped down to a bra and half-slip in multiple scenes.
* FemaleMisogynist: Mrs. Bates raised Norman to hate and fear women who weren't her.
* FilmNoir: The first half of the movie, anyway.
* TheFilmOfTheBook: Creator/RobertBloch's novel was published in 1959, and Hitchcock's film sticks very close to the novel's plot. There are only a couple of differences: in the novel is that the conversation between Marion ("Mary" in the book) and Norman actually takes place in the house, and in the novel it's the sheriff who comes to the rescue of Lila in the basement. Also, the suggestion in the film that Norman is a SerialKiller is absent from the book, in which the murder of Mary Crane seems to be a first.
* FinalGirl: [[spoiler:The film is considered to be an UrExample of a Slasher film. While not a perfect fit of the Final Girl that has become conventional in later years, Lila can be considered a prototype since she is the one who investigates her sister's disappearance and survives her confrontation with the killer, albeit not by her own doing.]]
* FinallyFoundTheBody: Aside from Marion and Arbogast, implied regarding the two unsolved missing persons cases mentioned by the psychiatrist during his monologue.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: A lot of Norman's more blackly comic lines ("She isn't quite 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.
** There are two mentions of mothers early on, from Marion and Caroline, foreshadowing that as a theme.
** Norman is clearly swiveling his hips in a womanly way when climbing the stairs to fetch Mother.
** The DeadStarWalking trope is foreshadowed in the credits itself where Janet Leigh gets an AndStarring credit.
* FreudianExcuse: And how! There's a whole speech at the end explaining the HollywoodPsych behind the plot.
* FreudianSlip: Norman can't figure out how to say "fallacy" without accidentally saying "phallus" so he just makes up a different word.
-->You know, I heard the phrase 'eats like a bird' is actually a fa fal f uh, falsity.
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: When Marion tells her boss she plans to spend the weekend in "bed," Cassidy's reaction is one of lewd amusement. Given the [[DirtyOldMan kind of fellow he is]], he clearly didn't think she meant rest.
* 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 psychodrama.
* 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://the.hitchcock.zone/files/gallery/org/7540.jpg here]], possibly NSFW).
** Some film analysts agree that the shower scene is actually depicting a ''rape''--knife=penis, stabbing=penetration, blood spatter=ejaculation.
* GigglingVillain: Norman can rarely get through a sentence without a cute little nervous giggle. The tic seems to disappear as soon as he goes into full-blown psycho mode, though.
** He smiles after managing to shoo Arbogast away.
* 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.
* GoryDiscretionShot: During the shower scene, only two times is the knife ever seen touching the victim (and in both cases, never penetrates flesh), and otherwise, at no point does the knife, killer, or victim ever appear in the same frame. All violence is implied by the moving knife, the victim's screams, and the final shot of blood circling down the drain.
** Aside from when she slashes his face, we don't see Mother kill Arbogast either, just her hand with the knife coming down and his scream.
* GuiltComplex: Marion is wracked with guilt over stealing the money almost immediately and her conversation with Norman in the parlor seems to convince her to drive back to Pheonix to return it.
* 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 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.
* HeroAntagonist: Lila Crane and Sam Loomis, trying to find out what happened to Marion.
* HeyWait: Marion starts to drive away from California Charlie's without her suitcase from her old car.
* HiddenInPlainSight: Marion hides the stolen money by taking it out of the envelope she carried it up to the Bates Motel in, wrapping it in a newspaper she bought earlier and just putting it down on top of the cabinet.
* HollywoodDarkness: The film has some day-for-night shots, particularly the sequence where Norman is getting rid of [[spoiler:Marion's body]] and her car (the shadows are very sharp).
* IDidntMeanToTurnYouOn: PlayedForDrama. Whenever Norman feels attracted to a woman staying at his motel, his mother eventually discovers it and decides to Murder the Hypotenuse, even if said woman never intended to gain her son's interest.
* ImmediateSelfContradiction: Norman has a habit of doing this, which makes him a strangely BadLiar for someone who [[SerialKiller has a lot to hide]].
-->'''Norman''': [regarding his mother's abuse] I don't mind it anymore.\\
'''Marion''': Oh, but you should. You ''should'' mind it.\\
'''Norman''': I do, but I ''say'' I don't.
* 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.
* InMediasRes: The second chapter of the book features Mary arriving at the motel, with her backstory explained in a few pages.
* InnocentlyInsensitive: It seems like Norman is going to run into this, especially once he starts asking Marion about "what [she's] running away from," but she [[SubvertedTrope seems strangely tolerant of it]]. A moment later, when she asks why Norman doesn't send his delusional old mother to an institution, he [[BerserkButton does not extend her the same courtesy]].
-->'''Marion''': I am sorry. I only felt... it seems she's hurting you. I meant well.
-->'''Norman''': People ''always'' "mean well"! They cluck their thick tongues, and shake their heads, and suggest oh, so very delicately.
* InnOfNoReturn: The Bates Motel is arguably the definitive example.
* InsaneEqualsViolent: Norman seems harmlessly socially awkward at first, [[spoiler:but he is gradually revealed to be a dissociating murderer]].
* IntimateOpenShirt: Sam begins the scene shirtless and by the end is like this, as he wants to continue their raunchy hotel antics whereas Marion wants to go back to work.
* {{Irony}}: Marion survives sleeping in her car, a situation ripe for robbery/rape/murder. The cop chastises her for this, telling her she would have been safer in a motel. She stays in one the next night and is stabbed to death.
** "Mother" refuses to swat a fly--but had no problem with killing Marion and the others.
* 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.
* KensingtonGore: Chocolate syrup variety.
* KnifeNut: Mother'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 also gives one while standing at the swamp's edge after sinking Arbogast's car as he hears Sam calling for him, indicating that he's becoming thoroughly fed up with covering for his "mother".
* 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.
* LargeHam: Mr. Cassidy and the psychiatrist, in-universe as well as out.
* LaughingMad: Norman occasionally laughs at inappropriate points during his dinner with Marion. He also lurches from laughter to complete seriousness a couple of times, which is equally scary. Downplayed in that it's a nervous chuckle rather than a full-lunged hysterical laugh.
* LingerieScene: Marion is seen in her bra and half-slip. In a later scene, after she has decided to run away with her employer's money, she is shown in lingerie again when getting dressed. There is some colour symbolism as well: in the first scene her bra and slip are white, and in the second they are black.
* TheLoinsSleepTonight: In the novel, Norman mentions having a "terrible feeling" when dining with Mary (as she's called in the book).
--> "''Im'' something. ''Im''portance? No, he didn't feel important when he was with a woman. ''Im''possible? No, that wasn't right either."
** He comes up with the correct word a few sentences later, taunting himself about it. Is it any wonder that the knife is a phallic substitute and the murder symbolizes a rape that he can't carry out?
* LonersAreFreaks: Norman Bates certainly qualifies, [[spoiler:although of course he has 'Mother' to keep him company]].
* 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.
* MalignantPlotTumor: Many people forget that the first half hour is a heist plot involving Marion Crane embezzling money from her boss and making her escape. The entire plotline is completely abandoned once she's murdered partway through the film. The emphasis then transfers over to Norman Bates and how he's eventually captured.
* MatchCut: The shower drain to Marion's eye.
* {{Matricide}}: Norman Bates is one of the most iconic modern examples. His mother Norma sheltered him extensively after the death of her husband, not letting him have friends or leave her side, making Norman form a codependent attachment. When she found a new paramour, Norman murdered his mother out of desperation and jealousy/rage, causing him to [[SplitPersonalityTakeover develop a second personality modelled after her]] to conceal this crime from himself.
* 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.
* MommasBoy: Norman Bates must be the creepiest and most dominated example of this in film history. [[spoiler:Even though he killed his mother, she still dominates him from beyond the grave]].
* MotiveMisidentification: When Lila and Sam become convinced that both Marion and Arbogast were both killed at the Bates Hotel, they're sure that Norman Bates robbed Marion and then covered it up. In reality, of course, Norman is just crazy and never even knew about the money that Marion had.
* MrExposition: The psychiatrist.
* MultiGenderedSplitPersonalities: In the [[ItWasHisSled famous]] twist ending it turns out that Norman Bates' mother is long since dead, but Norman has a split personality who acts as his mother. Even more creepily, we actually hear Norman talk in her voice inside his head near the end of the film.
* MummiesAtTheDinnerTable: Norman keeps his mother's corpse in the master bedroom, occasionally taking her to the basement when someone comes to the house.
* MyBelovedSmother: The relationship Norman has with his domineering mother, as he covers up for her. [[spoiler: Then we find out the trope still holds true - but ''from beyond the grave''.]]

[[folder: NR]]
* NoTellMotel: Not the Bates Motel, but the place where Marion and Sam have met for a tryst in the opening scene.
* NobodyPoops: Averted; this was the first American movie of UsefulNotes/TheHaysCode era to show a toilet, thereby implying people have to use it. This was SeriousBusiness at the time, no pun intended.
* NothingIsScarier: There is extremely little explicit horror content in the film. It was made by The Master of Suspense himself, after all.
* NothingIsTheSameAnymore: [[spoiler:Marion's death completely changes the plot from a thief on the run to a serial killer at a motel]].
* 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.
-->'''Norman:''' A boy's best friend is his mother.
* OhCrap:
** When Marion's boss passes on the crosswalk in front of her as she's stopped at a red light while leaving town, then turns and nods at her before doing a DoubleTake. (She's supposed to have gone home with a pounding headache after leaving work early.)
** Marion again, when she's at the car dealership and suddenly sees the same highway patrolman she'd encountered that morning parked across the street, standing outside his cruiser and watching her.
** Arbogast clearly gets a moment of this when [[spoiler:"Mother" stabs him at the top of the stairs.]]
* OldMaid: In both the book and the movie, Marion is motivated to set the film's action in motion--that is, steal $40,000, and run off with it in order to pay off her boyfriend's debts so he can marry her in part because she is over 35 (27 in the book), and desperate to get married.
* OneBadMother: Mother if not the TropeMaker, then definitely a popularizer.
* OneWordTitle
* ParentalIncest: Norman's ''extreme'' issues with his mother and sexuality are both very firmly connected.
* 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.
* PhallicWeapon: The knife. Note its silhouette as the stabbing sequence begins.
* POVCam: Briefly but effectively used at several points throughout the film.
* PrivateDetective: Arbogast, who has been sent to find Marion because the people back in Phoenix don't want to call the cops.
* PromotedToLoveInterest: Inverted. In the original novel Lila and Sam become romantically involved after [[spoiler:Marion is killed and they try to solve her murder]]. Hitchcock made their relationship platonic in the film, because it would be gross otherwise.
* PsychopathicManchild: Norman, to a small extent. We see Norman's childhood toys when Lila goes into his room.
* PsychoticSmirk: ''Marion'' displays this while driving along and imagining the reactions of everyone as they realize that she's fled with the money, particularly Mr. Cassidy.
** [[spoiler: Norman has a slight one at the very end]]
* PsychoStrings: {{Trope Namer|s}}, along with PsychoShowerMurderParody.
--> '''''REE REE REE REE REE!'''''
* RedemptionEqualsDeath: Marion takes her fatal shower more or less immediately after deciding to go back to Phoenix, return what's left of the money, and face the music.
* RedHerring: As mentioned before, the money. The fact that Norman tosses the $40,000 away alongside Marion's body in the lake (and ''never even knew about it'') completely demolishes the audience's original expectations about the reasons of Marion's death, [[spoiler:and thus cements in the end that Norman did it all because he's insane, and Marion was not killed for her money.]]
* ReflexiveResponse: Marion nods at Cassidy when she sees him crossing the street, only to realize a split second later that he's just caught her in a lie (she's driving out of town rather than home sick as she claimed).
* TheReveal: One of the most famous in history, as Lila turns to find Norman Bates in wig and dress, holding a knife.
* RuleOfScary: Mrs. Bates' rocking chair acts like a swivel chair around the end of the movie, entirely for the benefit of a very creepy shot. Audiences were okay with this.

[[folder: SZ]]
* SacrificialLion: Offing an important character in order to make a sudden change in direction--Marion is a perfect example.
* SerialKiller: Norman Bates is easily one of the most famous examples.
* SexIsEvilAndIAmHorny: Norman's reaction when he is peeking at Marion in her room.
* SexistUsedCarSalesman: Averted. Marion is ''desperate'' to sell her car and get another (in order to change her conspicuous license plate, given the theft she committed has already been reported), and has to practically beg the dealership man to get one, without even bothering to discuss the price.
* SexyPackaging: The original poster had Janet Leigh in a bra as the central image.
* SexyWalk: Sharp eyes will notice Norman goes up the stairs swiveling like a woman in the first film.
* TheSheriff: Al Chambers, who doesn't think much of Lila's wild tale.
* ShirtlessScene: Sam Loomis, in the hotel room at the beginning.
* ShowerOfAngst: Marion takes one after deciding to return to Phoenix, but it is horribly subverted.
* 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 strict example 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 the third only comes close.
* SlasherSmile: Norman gets off an epic one at the end while he's in a holding cell.
* 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.
* SpeechImpediment: Norman has an occasional stammer. Initially, it adds to his early adorkableness, and seems to be due to nerves. It becomes more unsettling later, when it becomes apparent that Norman stammers over significant words.
* 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.
* StayOnThePath: Marion discovers that she has missed her exit while driving in the dark and the rain, and gotten off the main road onto the old road. This was in 1960, when the highway system was less extensive than today, and she made a very common mistake people made then, which would have made the audience nod in recognition. She stops at the Bates Motel to ask directions, and decides to stay the night before trying to find her way back in the dark. After being spooked by an essentially harmless, but seemingly menacing, policeman when she tried sleeping in her car the night before. She feels sorry for Norman, who is lonely, hasn't rented a room in a long time, and ''seems'' so harmless.
* StealingFromTheTill: Marion makes a crazy spur-of-the-moment decision to run off with Mr. Cassidy's forty grand rather than deposit it at the bank.
* StepfordSmiler: Norman. Outwardly smiling and charming, but oh so unwell behind the mask. It's even more unnerving because Norman himself is so unstable that he acknowledges his Stepford mask slipping on and off:
-->'''Marion:''' Sometimes, we deliberately step into those traps.
-->'''Norman:''' I was born into mine. I don't mind it anymore.
-->'''Marion:''' Oh, but you should. You should mind it.
-->'''Norman:''' Oh, I do ''(laughs)'' but I say I don't.
* SurprisinglySuddenDeath: [[spoiler:Arbogast's death scene was filmed to invoke this, as focusing the camera on the his feet would clue the audience in that something was about to happen]].
* SurvivorshipBias: Zig-zagged. [[spoiler:While Marion dies early in the film, after the story continues on, the narrative shifts its emotional investment to the surviving characters and Norman]].
* SweetTooth: Norman is constantly munching on candy.
** ThrowItIn: This was Creator/AnthonyPerkins' idea.
* SympatheticMurderer: [[spoiler:Norman is a very deeply disturbed man, and the movie is directed in such a way as to elicit sympathy from the audience after he kills Marion. In the end, he becomes a figure of pity and is states to not really be responsible for his own actions.]]
* 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.
* TheTetrisEffect: The film gave people a pathological fear of showers.
* TheyLookJustLikeEveryoneElse: Norman Bates. In the book, he's written as middle-aged, homely at best, and a bit creepy (much like his inspiration, Ed Gein), but Hitchcock thought it would be more interesting to make him look wholesome.
* ToplessnessFromTheBack: [[ShowerScene Guess.]]
* TrademarkFavoriteFood: Norman is often seen munching on candy corn, a habit created by Creator/AnthonyPerkins for the character.
* TrailersAlwaysSpoil: Every home video release from 2008 onward unfortunately spoiled the killer's identity in the synoposis. Some home video trailers even have the nerve to show [[spoiler:Norma Bates' stuffed corpse!]]
* 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.
* UnresolvedSexualTension: Between Marion and Norman. There are problems in Marion's and Sam's relationship, so when the handsome young Norman shows up, audiences at the time were primed to expect a love triangle to develop.
* TheUnreveal: Lila opens a book in Norman's bedroom. We never see what's in it and her expression offers no clue--pornography (as it was in the remake), a children's book, a photo album?
* UrExample: One of the {{Ur Example}}s of the SlasherMovie.
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: Certain aspects of Norman Bates (specifically the [[MyBelovedSmother mommy issues]] and the [[CreepyCrossdresser crossdressing]]) are based on real life graverobber and murderer [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Gein Ed Gein]]. Though accounts vary on whether Robert Bloch, the author of the original 1959 novel that the 1960 film was adapted from, intentionally based Bates on Gein, Gein's crimes were uncovered in 1957 in Plainfield, Wisconsin, only 35 miles from where Bloch was living and writing at the time, and the case was a national media sensation.
* 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.
* VillainousIncest: Hinted at, but it's not until the prequel that the subtext becomes a textbook case of FreudianExcuse.
* VisualInnuendo: The entire shower scene. The distinctly phallic silhouette of the knife, the stabbing (or rather, penetration), the ejaculatory spurts of blood.
* TheVoice: Norman's "mother". [[spoiler:Well, she does make an on-screen appearance at the very end. Sort of.]]
* 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!
* WideEyesAndShrunkenIrises: Marion's eyes do this, though in a ArtisticLicenseBiology moment. (In RealLife pupils dilate at death.)
* 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?
* YouBastard: Subtly done. In a movie about a sexually-repressed voyeur, the opening scene is a semi-dressed couple just after having sex. The camera moves into and through the window so we can watch. We are voyeurs, just as the main character is.