Even people who’ve never seen Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” know quite a bit about Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho.” It’s a bona fide classic, both in horror and film in general.
On the downside, its pop-culture power is so potent that we forgot how revolutionary it truly was. Spending an hour and a half watching “The Psycho Legacy” documentary serves as a welcome reminder. Through film clips and interviews with both those who were involved and those who were influenced, the production details the entire franchise … well, almost.
Among those sharing their stories are several actors, screenwriters and directors, but mostly relegated to the sequels. It’s a shame we couldn’t get Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Martin Balsam, Joseph Stefano, Robert Bloch and Hitch himself, but many of them are represented through old footage, some even captured by a rather shaky camcorder.
As a sucker for franchise-encompassing documentaries (from “Behind the Planet of the Apes” to “Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy“), I appreciate that “Legacy” doesn’t bypass “Psycho II,” “Psycho III” or “Psycho IV: The Beginning.” While not classics, they’re not bad films at all, and one reason why Norman Bates and his mother still hold front-of-mind space in our collective brains today.
Although “Legacy” is a somewhat low-rent production, it also is an entirely entertaining one “ a must for anyone who still thinks of getting stabbed while showering. A second disc is loaded with extras, mostly excised or extended interviews cobbled together in a thematic featurette.
One important note: “Legacy” isn’t quite complete. It skips and/or ignores the much-maligned Gus Van Sant shot-for-shot remake of ’98 completely, as well as the one-off “Bates Motel” made-for-TV spin-off that aired in 1987 with Bud Cort as the locale’s new owner. But we all go a little mad sometimes. —Rod Lott