There’s a delicious irony in screening Psycho the day after Thanksgiving, as if AFI wants to offer a post-holiday reminder that however bad our relationship with dear ol’ mum might be, it couldn’t possibly be more fractured than Norman and Mrs. Bates’. An undisputed hallmark of American cinema, Psycho is celebrating its 50th anniversary by touring the repertory circuit with a sharp new 35 mm print. After decades of analysis (not to mention technological advances), Alfred Hitchcock’s classic tale of pseudo-psychoanalysis might not carry the same visceral charge for contemporary audiences (yes, the blood is chocolate sauce), but Psycho is hardly a stodgy relic to be perfunctorily trotted out. For all of the lazy parody and uninspired knock-offs, the film still plays without the campy sheen of most horror classics. It’s a wonderful example of intellectual heft matched with a penchant for piercing fright.
PSYCHO SCREENS AT VARIOUS TIMES NOV. 26 TO DEC. 2 AT THE AFI SILVER THEATRE AND CULTURAL CENTER, 8633 COLESVILLE RD., SILVER SPRING. $10. (301) 495-6720.