20 December 2014

PSYCHO (1960)
Contributed by Teri McMinn

Teri McMinn played Pam, the “meathook girl,” in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). Over the years, she has appeared in commercials and print work, as well as acting in regional theater. McMinn made her fan convention debut in 2008 and has been working on several projects including the TV pilot trailer, The Cellar. She'll be filming the witchy tale Cousin Sarah in November 2010 with Linda Blair and Tippi Hedren. Visit her official website at www.terimcminn.net.

From the time I was a little girl living in Houston, Texas, I have been addicted to films. I loved true crime, intrigue and suspense stories best. And Alfred Hitchcock’s movies were always some of my favorites.

Hitchcock influenced so many in the industry to strive to achieve greater things in film, and he led the way in the horror and suspense genre.

His most famous work is of course PSYCHO - which he made in 1960. Anthony Perkins played the creepy character Norman Bates so beautifully in my opinion. The novel by Robert Bloch had been published the previous year and was based on the very real Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein.

There's a strong connection between PSYCHO and Texas Chainsaw Massacre in that Gein was the same twisted individual that “Leatherface” and the events in TCM were based on. (There's also Deranged, and The Silence of the Lambs, etc.) In real life, Gein had murdered at least twelve women over several years and the details of his crimes are ghastly.

But for PSYCHO to get made, Hitchcock and screenwriter Joseph Stefano had to make numerous changes from Bloch’s book, including the elimination of Bates’ drunken stupors and his interest in the occult.

It was shot by the same crew at work on his then-current television series, and the director truly reached his zenith in popular culture and clout.

The cast of PSYCHO was first-rate. Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles and Martin Balsam are terrific. It is a film that has terrified generations of moviegoers, including myself!

With that single movie, Hitchcock ushered in a new dawn of the horror film, upping the ante in onscreen violence. (Which was ironic, since the violence was only suggested…everyone knows you never actually see the knife touch Leigh in the famous shower scene.) It was and still is shocking, but it was all done very intelligently.

What a wonderful director. I can’t quite remember the first gem of his that I saw, but I believe it might have been 1954's Dial M for Murder. I was immediately hooked! Through the years - every time one of his films was released, I saw it as soon as I could.

Shadow of a Doubt...Strangers on a Train...Rear Window...Notorious...To Catch a Thief...The Birds...The Wrong Man...The 39 Steps...Rebecca...Frenzy…they’re all classics that I’ve seen over and over. Each time I watch them, I see something new I hadn’t noticed before. Or I wait for those delicious scenes I never get tired of.

During his lengthy career, he broke ground with his savvy, sexy, and smart films. They were filled with great, rich dialogue, costumes, incredible casting, and amazing editing.

His character studies, plot lines, settings, and genius direction wove wonderful tales, and kept me in suspense from beginning to end. If one of Hitch’s films is on anywhere, chances are good I’ll be watching it.

I am proud to be a member of the cast of the 1974 film production of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which became a horror classic itself. I think we owe much to Alfred Hitchcock, the Master of Suspense and Filmmaker Extraordinaire.

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