The first time you see Psycho, it terrifies and shocks you with certain scenes, particularly the iconic shower scene and the unveiling of Norman's mother.
On subsequent screenings, it creeps you out.
It's one of the many masterstrokes of this movie and Alfred Hitchcock's whole career that he made a movie that operates on one level when you first see it and other levels on subsequent showings. The images that resonated with me the first time I saw it were the clotting blood running down the shower drain and Mother's face -- a scene that nearly sent 11-year-old me through the wall when I first watched Psycho on our independent UHF station's regular Saturday night feature.
Now, I think of the scene of Norman eating dinner in the Bates Motel Office with all of the stuffed birds casting shadows on the ceiling. I think of the house on the hill that we don't enter until near the end, and we don't want to. I think of Janet Leigh's lonely, drowsy drive that ends at the Bates Motel.
And I think of this prophetic exchange between Norman and Marion:
Norman: We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven't you?
Marion: Yes. Sometimes just one time can be enough.
Having seen it numerous times on the small screen, I'm anxious to see what the impact of these and other scenes will have in the theater when the Kentucky Theatre shows Psycho at 1:30 p.m. at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday as part of its summer classics series. Admission is $3.