History of Mental Health in the U.S.

Month: November 2023

Film Post: Psycho

For my movie/show post, I decided to pick Alfred Hitchcock’s classic Psycho. This film as always been one of my favorites, since I was a kid when my parents first introduced me to it.

The movie takes place following a woman by the name of Marion Crane who is supposed to be putting a sum of around $40,000 dollars away for her job at the local bank. Instead, Marion takes the money and leaves town without telling anyone of her whereabouts. She after a ways into her trip, she decides to stop at a Motel on a now bypassed road. Once there Marion is greeted by a young man by the name of Norman Bates who runs the motel and lives in the old spooky looking house on the hill behind the motel.

Norman starts small talk with Marion where we learn that Norman is trapped taking care of his mother, who we get the impression that she is not physically well and Marion suggests that his mother should seek help. Norman did not like this idea and got very upset. Following this Marion decides to call it a night and she thinks about returning the cash that she stole as well as replacing the money that she used up.

Before heading to bed Marion takes a shower where all of a sudden an older women comes in and murders her. The mysterious woman rushes out and Norman screams. It was his mother who murdered Marion and so he quickly covers up his mother’s wicked deed and puts Marion’s body into the swamp behind the motel. We then jump to Marion’s sister and boyfriend trying to find her with the help of an investigator. The investigator while at the Bates Motel is murdered by Normans mother. Marion’s sister and boyfriend decided to get in contact with the local sheriff who they discussed the fact about Norman’s mother. The sheriff informs them that it would be impossible because Normans Mother has been dead and buried for 10 years.

This frankly shocks them and they decide to go and investigate themselves. While Norman is distracted by the boyfriend, Marion’s sister runs to the house. Norman finds out and knocks the boyfriend unconscious and runs after her. She sees him coming and decides to hide in the basement where she finds Mrs. Bates sitting in a corner. As she gets closer the chair swivels that Mrs. Bates is in and we get to see that she is a mummified corpse, at this point Norman rushes in dressed like his mother and mimics her voice. The Boyfriend is able to make it in time to hold Norman back. The scene cuts to the police department where they discuss the state of Norman’s mental health. While in a holding cell Norman continues to talk in his mother’s voice.

We can get a sense of how someone who was mistreated by their parents can develop a mental illness. Norman seemed to be suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder which this movie seems to have an interesting take on that I believe we can use as a way to see how film depicted mental health 63 years ago. I think we can use this film compared with our readings to see how people suffering from mental health were basically all stereotyped into a negative category of “Killers” which this was not always the case in reality.

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