Prime Video movie of the day: Janet Leigh gives an iconic performance in the Oscar-nominated horror Psycho

Janet Leigh screams in the shower, in Psycho
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)
Movie of the day

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Psycho is considered to be Alfred Hitchcock’s most influential (and controversial) work and it’s now streaming on Prime Video.

It is a horror movie that’s so well-known, you don’t even have to have seen it to recognise the famous shower scene where Janet Leigh is stabbed to death while a chilling violin screech plays in the background. The scene has inspired many other works, including parodies in shows like The Simpsons, which means even the most squeamish among us is likely familiar with it. But Psycho is so much more than this iconic scene. 

It’s a must-watch for all horror fans, given its influence on the genre at the time. Even 64 years after its theatrical release, there’s still plenty of love for it. Whether this is your first watch or you’ve seen it many times before, it’s always worth revisiting. If not for Janet Leigh, then for Anthony Perkins’ truly chilling Norman Bates, who is a horror icon in his own right.

Psycho is arguably the birth of modern horror

Horror is so commonplace nowadays that it’s become very easy to find a creepy, bloodsoaked or chilling story to watch, but Psycho was released at a time when such topics were considered taboo. As a result of this, it was considered controversial when it was first released, and despite being nominated for four academy awards – which was a big achievement for a horror flick back then – it did receive a lot of criticism from reviewers.

Critics in 1960 from publications such as The New York Times, Newsweek and Esquire called Psycho "a blot on an honorable career", "plainly a gimmick movie", and "merely one of those television shows padded out to two hours", so there was a lot of backlash.

But critics have finally changed their tone and are recognizing Hitchcock’s contributions to the now hugely profitable horror genre. “Look into Janet Leigh's eye after the shower scene and be amazed how fresh this black-and-white ghoulish chic seems in the saccharine surroundings of modern cinema,” The Times wrote in a five-star review posted in 2010.

Elsewhere, legendary critic Roger Ebert said: “What makes Psycho immortal, when so many films are already half-forgotten as we leave the theater, is that it connects directly with our fears.”

Though people will have conflicting opinions on the quality of Hitchcock’s Psycho, its influence cannot be ignored. Just look at the TV adaptation Bates Motel, which was one of five Hollywood classics new to the streamer in May, and the numerous horrors the shower scene alone has inspired, and it’s hard to argue against it.

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Lucy Buglass
Senior Entertainment Writer

Lucy is a long-time movie and television lover who is an approved critic on Rotten Tomatoes. She has written several reviews in her time, starting with a small self-ran blog called Lucy Goes to Hollywood before moving onto bigger websites such as What's on TV and What to Watch, with TechRadar being her most recent venture. Her interests primarily lie within horror and thriller, loving nothing more than a chilling story that keeps her thinking moments after the credits have rolled. Many of these creepy tales can be found on the streaming services she covers regularly.

When she’s not scaring herself half to death with the various shows and movies she watches, she likes to unwind by playing video games on Easy Mode and has no shame in admitting she’s terrible at them. She also quotes The Simpsons religiously and has a Blinky the Fish tattoo, solidifying her position as a complete nerd.