The shower scene is one of the most famous sequences ever captured on film for two reasons: as violent as it is you never see the knife go into Leigh's body and it was the first time in film history that a major movie star was brutally killed off in the first 30 minutes of the movie. No director had ever dared betray his audience in such a way before. Plus, she's clearly naked...though again you never actually see anything all that revealing. I wish I could have been at one of those original screenings. I have never encountered such a thrilling, unexpected moment in any movie I've seen to date. THE SIXTH SENSE comes closest, though I figured out the surprise about a half hour before the end. I guess THE CRYING GAME would be a close second for shear audacity. The surprise in that film is just as shocking, though not as deadly.
As much as she would have hoped, Marion's disappearance does not go unnoticed. The Bates Motel becomes a very popular place as people begin to trace her steps. Mother is not at all happy. Not many of the surprise guests escape her wrath. I won't ruin the ending for those of you who have never seen the film, but it's one I certainly didn't expect and one far more unsettling than most horror movies come up with. After this brilliantly creepy performance, Anthony Perkins could never shake the Norman Bates stereotype, which was unfortunate for his career, but great for the audience. Just thinking about Norman makes my skin crawl. He may not have wanted this role to be his legacy, but at least he'll always be remembered.
If you want the bejesus scared out of you, rent this movie. Your life will never be the same. Unfortunately, much of the plot and scenes from the film are already common knowledge, so you may not find it as scary as I did, and still do for that matter. The less you know, the creepier it will be. When it comes to manipulating an audience, there's no one better than Hitchcock. He's a master of story and camera movement, creating unique characters and unforgettable moments. No matter how unsettling this film is, it draws you in and refuses to let go. I shiver in excitement and dread at the thought of seeing it again. It's just one of those movies that you never forget.