It’s Shower Time

Apr 2, 2010

This week, BFI Southbank launches a monthlong series in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the groundbreaking horror masterpiece Psycho. Yet this is no mere Hitchcock retrospective: the quirky Psycho—A Classic in Context, running through April 30, aims to prove the importance of this seminal slasher’s place in the past century of cinema by hosting a lineup of films either indebted to it or that may have influenced it, be it aesthetically, thematically, or in the way they toy with audience identification. Even the curation has a refreshingly schizoid bent: the inclusion of such shockers as Powell and Pressburger’s Peeping Tom, Clouzot’s Diabolique, De Palma’s Dressed to Kill, and Polanski’s Repulsion seems like a no-brainer, but others need a little context themselves—there’s Nicholas Ray’s On Dangerous Ground (a Bernard Herrmann–scored noir, with a lonely road trip that, the series’s description claims,  “tantalizingly anticipates the look and rhythms of Marion Crane’s later trip from Phoenix to the Bates Motel”), and there’s even room for Antonioni’s bold study of alienation, L’avventura, which was released the same year as Hitchcock’s melancholy murder spree and “also created a fuss when it first appeared.” Fritz Lang’s landmark serial killer film M makes an appearance too. Read the full list of titles here, and click on them to read about the thinking behind their inclusion.