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Alfred Hitchcock

Posted on November 23, 2023

Why You Should Watch The City of the Dead (and its Striking Resemblance to Psycho)

Dawn Keetley

It’s a moment of uncanny serendipity in horror film history.

The City of the Dead (re-named Horror Hotel in the US) – the first directorial project of Argentinian-born British director, John Llewellyn Moxey – was released in the UK in September 1960. Produced by Americans Milton Subotsky and Max J. Rosenberg, the film is generally considered to be the unofficial first of their Amicus Productions (a British company they would officially found shortly after the release of City of the Dead, and which had an impact on the horror genre in the 1960s that was second perhaps only to Hammer Studios)[i]. Filming commenced “at Shepperton Studios [in Surrey, England] in the Summer of 1959,” [ii] running at least through October.

The vastly more famous Psycho, produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, made at Universal Studios in the US and distributed by Paramount Pictures, was released in New York City in June 1960 and saw general distribution, like City of the Dead, in September 1960. Also like City of the Dead, filming began on Psycho in the later half of 1959 (running, specifically, between November 1959 and February 1960).

In other words, there’s virtually no way that either City of the Dead or Psycho could have influenced the other. And yet, they share some striking similarities. They are also, I should add, profoundly different in their approach to horror. Both these similarities and this difference are worth exploring.

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Posted on June 16, 2020

The Function of Money in Hitchcock’s Psycho

Elizabeth Erwin

When Psycho was released in 1960, it took audiences by storm, both because of its storyline as well as because of director Alfred Hitchcock’s masterful publicity plan. By refusing audiences entry into the picture after it had started, Hitchcock created a buzz around the film that made it much more than just a horror film. It made it an experience. Central to Psycho’s longevity is its ability to titillate and shock viewers in equal measure. From its infamous shower scene to Janet Leigh lounging provocatively in a negligee to Norman’s complicated gender performance, Psycho can be credited as a seminal moment in American film’s move away from Production Code prurient sensibilities and toward an explicitly adult form of storytelling where explorations of violence and deviant behavior weren’t just tolerated but actively encouraged. Film was ready to explore the darker side of a post WW2 America in the throes of homogeneity and Hitchcock was ready to capitalize on that desire.

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