Anthony Perkins, Psycho (Movie - 1960)
Credit: Psycho: Everett Collection

Anthony Perkins made our list of 10 best Oscar-snubbed performances

”We all go a little mad sometimes.” ”She might have fooled me, but she didn’t fool my mother.” No one can speak lines like these today without reflexively resorting to ”the psycho stutter” or ”the psycho stare.” Such unnaturalness is only natural — after a half century of serial-killer movies, we share a template for knife-wielding loonies. Perkins, the pioneer, had no such road map. For him, the tics were organic: He approached Norman Bates as a character, not a trope. His murderous, mother-lovin’ motelier is plenty creepy, yes, but it’s Perkins’ disarming, oddball lack of self-consciousness that makes you believe Janet Leigh wouldn’t take off down the highway after one look into those beady, birdlike eyes. No matter what he’s doing — sucking on a piece of candy or methodically cleaning up a blood-spattered bathroom — you never doubt for an instant that the man is completely, utterly, and terrifyingly at home.

Psycho (Movie - 1960)
  • Movie
  • 109 minutes