If Halloween (1978, John Carpenter) is considered the father of the modern slasher movie genre, then Psycho (1960, Alfred Hitchcock) could easily be considered the granddaddy of the genre. Interestingly Halloween stared Jamie Lee Curtis, the daughter of Psycho's Janet Leigh. The plot of Psycho revolves around Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) who runs away after stealing a great deal of money. She ends up stopping at a motel where she is nexpectedly and brutally murdered by a creepy but fascinating shut in named Norman Bates. Then the movie becomes like a crime thriller as a privet detective named Milton Arbogast (Martin Balsam) along with one of the Marion’s friends and her boyfriend try to piece together what exactly happened to her, and the money she stole.
Something that is notable about Hitchcock’s masterpiece is that it does not conform to the conventions of any particular genre. Although it is primarily a horror movie, it seems to move from one genre to another as the movie progresses. The first act is, in a way, like a soap opera, nothing scary is happening and there are not really any hints that it will (except for the ominous opening credit sequence), the same is true of Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963). In the second act once Marion has stolen the money and goes on the run it seems to become a chase movie. The main horror element is introduced in the third act after the character is unexpectedly murdered. Then it is like a procedural as the characters try to piece together the mystery of the Bates Motel.
Cinemassacre, 2007, Cinemassarcre’s Monster Madness Psycho 2007, Available at: http://www.cinemassacre.com/2007/10/14/psycho/