Laurence A. Rickels: The Psycho Records

The shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) comprises some of the most dissected seconds in the history of movies, an obsession that last month gained a new chapter with the publication of Laurence A. Rickels's The Psycho Records. The book purports to "[follow] the influence" of the chilling, less-than-a-minute death sequence, but Rickels actually gets at the core of its impact by getting around it. Instead of taking a formalist, shot-by-shot approach, picking apart each edit and sound cue, he branches out to bigger-picture trends in screen characterization, tracing the development of vampires, phantoms, and demons in the movies. It's heady stuff, so best to hear Rickels lay some groundwork for you before digging in.
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