14 Facts About Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho

Alfred Hitchock directs Janet Leigh in Psycho (1960).
Alfred Hitchock directs Janet Leigh in Psycho (1960).
IFC Films

Alfred Hitchcock's immortal horror film Psycho is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2020, so it only makes sense that we'd want to celebrate the freaky old flick. While there's not much that hardcore movie geeks don't know about this endlessly lauded, wildly influential film, here are 14 things that you might not have known about this horror classic.

1. Alfred Hitchcock paid less than $10,000 for the rights to Psycho.

Alfred Hitchcock paid $9000 for the film rights to Robert Bloch's novel, which he purchased based on a positive review he read in The New York Times. (He also made the bid anonymously, so as to keep the project under wraps for as long as possible.)

2. Alfred Hitchcock financed Psycho himself.

Paramount had all sorts of cold feet regarding the project, which prompted Hitchcock to both pay for the film out of his own pocket and forgo his (rather substantial) director's fee in exchange for 60 percent ownership of the film. This highly uncommon arrangement put a lot of money in Hitchcock's pocket. Plus the film doesn't even belong to Paramount anymore; it's been a Universal title since 1968. (Bad move, Paramount.)

3. Psycho’s ending was spoiled months before the film's release.

Alfred Hitchcock attends the premiere of Psycho (1960).Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Despite Hitchcock's fervent and admirable attempts at keeping the project a secret, both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter published very thorough spoilers regarding the Psycho plot months before the film actually came out.

4. Visible holiday decor in Psycho led to a December setting.

At the beginning of the film, the viewer is informed that the movie opens on December 11, which is only because some of the second unit shots (as Marion hightails it out of Phoenix) contain visible Christmas decorations.

5. Alfred Hitchcock wouldn't let Psycho be screened before its premiere.

The aforementioned media breach led Hitchcock to take even more extreme measures to guard the film's plot—and ending. In addition to withholding the release of any stills from the movie's key scenes, Hitchcock refused to let film critics see the movie ahead of time, which may have accounted for some of the movie's less-than-stellar opening weekend reviews. (Although it's safe to say that Hitchcock had the last laugh overall.)

6. Late moviegoers weren't allowed in to see Psycho.

Not only was Hitchcock intent on keeping the film under wraps until the last possible minute—he also instructed theaters to not allow anyone in once the film had started. And they did it!

7. Psycho is the first American film to feature a toilet.

Psycho is the first American film to show a toilet on screen. It's also the first American film in which we hear a toilet being flushed. (That's just how repressed Americans were in the 1950s.)

8. There are three Norma Bates featured in Psycho.

No less than three actresses recorded Norma Bates's dialogue. Their recordings were then mixed together until Hitchcock found the right tone of voice for each particular scene.

9. Alfred Hitchcock makes his cameo in a cowboy hat.

Alfred Hitchock makes a cameo in Psycho (1960).Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

The Master of Suspense was well-known for showing up in each of his movies, and Psycho was no exception: take note of the gentleman standing outside the office building a little over six minutes into the film. Yes, that's Alfred Hitchcock in the cowboy hat.

10. Psycho was given an R rating—a quarter-century after its release.

The film was given an R rating by the MPAA in 1984. Yes, a film released in 1960 is now rated R. (The MPAA ratings system wasn't created until 1968, but they do like to re-rate older films from time to time.)

11. Psycho’s famous score is all strings.

Despite Hitchcock's early intention to use jazz, Bernard Herrmann's immortal Psycho score contains only stringed instruments.

12. Saul Bass's fingerprints are all over Psycho.

Janet Leigh screams for her life in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960).IFC Films

Not only did celebrated title (and poster) artist Saul Bass create the opening credits sequence for Psycho, he also helped out in the storyboard department—most notably for the legendary shower sequence.

13. Psycho was Alfred Hitchcock's most successful film.

Psycho was Alfred Hitchcock's most successful film, financially speaking. It made $32 million at the North American box office during it first theatrical release, off of a production budget of approximately $807,000.

Hitchcock's next biggest hits were Rear Window, which grossed about $27.5 million in 1954, and Notorious, which made approximately $24.5 million in 1946.

14. Psycho earned Alfred Hitchcock his final Oscar nomination.

Psycho marked the fifth and final time that Hitchcock would earn an Oscar nomination for Best Director. (The Academy gave him the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1968.) Yes, you read that right: Alfred Hitchcock never won an Oscar for directing! Let that sink in for a bit.

Additional Sources: Universal Blu-ray special features

10 of the Best Indoor and Outdoor Heaters on Amazon

Mr. Heater/Amazon
Mr. Heater/Amazon

With the colder months just around the corner, you might want to start thinking about investing in an indoor or outdoor heater. Indoor heaters not only provide a boost of heat for drafty spaces, but they can also be a money-saver, allowing you to actively control the heat based on the rooms you’re using. Outdoor heaters, meanwhile, can help you take advantage of cold-weather activities like camping or tailgating without having to call it quits because your extremities have gone numb. Check out this list of some of Amazon’s highest-rated indoor and outdoor heaters so you can spend less time shivering this winter and more time enjoying what the season has to offer.

Indoor Heaters

1. Lasko Ceramic Portable Heater; $20

Lasko/Amazon

This 1500-watt heater from Lasko may only be nine inches tall, but it can heat up to 300 square feet of space. With 11 temperature settings and three quiet settings—for high heat, low heat, and fan only—it’s a dynamic powerhouse that’ll keep you toasty all season long.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Alrocket Oscillating Space Heater; $25

Alrocket/Amazon

Alrocket’s oscillating space heater is an excellent addition to any desk or nightstand. Using energy-saving ceramic technology, this heater is made of fire-resistant material, and its special “tip-over” safety feature forces it to turn off if it falls over (making it a reliable choice for homes with kids or pets). It’s extremely quiet, too—at only 45 dB, it’s just a touch louder than a whisper. According to one reviewer, this an ideal option for a “very quiet but powerful” heater.

Buy it: Amazon

3. De’Longhi Oil-Filled Radiator Space Heather; $79

De’Longhi/Amazon

If you prefer a space heater with a more old-fashioned vibe, this radiator heater from De’Longhi gives you 2020 technology with a vintage feel. De’Longhi’s heater automatically turns itself on when the temperatures drops below 44°F, and it will also automatically turn itself off if it starts to overheat. Another smart safety feature? The oil system is permanently sealed, so you won’t have to worry about accidental spills.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Aikoper Ceramic Tower Heater; $70

Aikoper/Amazon

Whether your room needs a little extra warmth or its own heat source, Aikoper’s incredibly precise space heater has got you covered. With a range of 40-95°F, it adjusts by one-degree intervals, giving you the specific level of heat you want. It also has an option for running on an eight-hour timer, ensuring that it will only run when you need it.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Isiler Space Heater; $37

Isiler/Amazon

For a space heater that adds a fun pop of color to any room, check out this yellow unit from Isiler. Made from fire-resistant ceramic, Isiler’s heater can start warming up a space within seconds. It’s positioned on a triangular stand that creates an optimal angle for hot air to start circulating, rendering it so effective that, as one reviewer put it, “This heater needs to say ‘mighty’ in its description.”

Buy it: Amazon

Outdoor Heaters

6. Mr. Heater Portable Buddy; $104

Mr. Heater/Amazon

Make outdoor activities like camping and grilling last longer with Mr. Heater’s indoor/outdoor portable heater. This heater can connect to a propane tank or to a disposable cylinder, allowing you to keep it in one place or take it on the go. With such a versatile range of uses, this heater will—true to its name—become your best buddy when the temperature starts to drop.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiland Pyramid Patio Propane Heater; Various

Hiland/Amazon

The cold’s got nothing on this powerful outdoor heater. Hiland’s patio heater has a whopping 40,000 BTU output, which runs for eight to 10 hours on high heat. Simply open the heater’s bottom door to insert a propane tank, power it on, and sit back to let it warm up your backyard. The bright, contained flame from the propane doubles as an outdoor light.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Solo Stove Bonfire Pit; $345

Solo Stove/Amazon

This one is a slight cheat since it’s a bonfire pit and not a traditional outdoor heater, but the Solo Stove has a 4.7-star rating on Amazon for a reason. Everything about this portable fire pit is meticulously crafted to maximize airflow while it's lit, from its double-wall construction to its bottom air vents. These features all work together to help the logs burn more completely while emitting far less smoke than other pits. It’s the best choice for anyone who wants both warmth and ambiance on their patio.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Dr. Infrared Garage Shop Heater; $119

Dr. Infrared/Amazon

You’ll be able to use your garage or basement workshop all season long with this durable heater from Dr. Infrared. It’s unique in that it includes a built-in fan to keep warm air flowing—something that’s especially handy if you need to work without wearing gloves. The fan is overlaid with heat and finger-protectant grills, keeping you safe while it’s powered on.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Mr. Heater 540 Degree Tank Top; $86

Mr. Heater/Amazon

Mr. Heater’s clever propane tank top automatically connects to its fuel source, saving you from having to bring any extra attachments with you on the road. With three heat settings that can get up to 45,000 BTU, the top can rotate 360 degrees to give you the perfect angle of heat you need to stay cozy. According to a reviewer, for a no-fuss outdoor heater, “This baby is super easy to light, comes fully assembled … and man, does it put out the heat.”

Buy it: Amazon

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5 TV Shows to Watch On Netflix If You Miss The Good Place

Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara in a scene from Schitt's Creek.
Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara in a scene from Schitt's Creek.
Pop TV

Though The Good Place capped off its four-season run in early 2020, it only recently became available to stream on Netflix. The series, which stars Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, and William Jackson Harper, is a philosophical comedy about a group of people who are selected to enter a Heaven-like utopia after their deaths. If you’ve finished the witty, heartwarming series and are wondering what to watch next time you open Netflix, look no further than these five shows.

1. Schitt’s Creek

Schitt’s Creek is certifiably entertaining—the show did, after all, set a record at the 2020 Emmy Awards, bagging a staggering nine awards. The series chronicles the lives of the uber-wealthy Rose family, who lose all of their money after being defrauded by their business manager. With no place left to turn, the Roses are forced to relocate to Schitt’s Creek, a little town they once purchased as a joke. Their personalities frequently clash with the town’s more humble residents, and the results couldn’t be funnier.

The sixth and final season of the series is coming to Netflix on October 7.

2. Grace and Frankie

If you want something as laugh-out-loud funny as The Good Place, give Grace and Frankie a try. The series stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as Grace and Frankie, respectively—two women who have never been fond of each other, but have been forced to interact over the years because their husbands are best friends and business partners. However, their lives are turned upside-down when their husbands (played by Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston) announce that they are in love and leaving their wives in order to marry each other. Which forces Grace and Frankie to end up living together, and inevitably learn that friendship can come from the most unexpected places.

3. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend stars Rachel Bloom as Rebecca Bunch, a successful attorney at a well-respected law firm in New York. Even though it looks as if she has her life together, Rebecca is far from perfect. When a chance meeting with her ex-boyfriend Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III) gives her a new lease on life, she decides to abandon her life in New York and move to Josh’s hometown of West Covina, California, in order to win him back.

4. Cuckoo

Cuckoo follows the lives of the Thompson family. When they pick their daughter Rachel (Tamla Kari) up at the airport, parents Ken (Greg Davies) and Lorna (Helen Baxendale) learn Rachel has married Dale “Cuckoo” Ashbrick (Andy Samberg), an unemployed American drifter with a penchant for drugs.

5. BoJack Horseman

This animated series is hilarious, deeply tragic, and surprisingly poignant. Even though the series is firmly rooted in fantasy, it manages to tackle tough subjects like depression, sexual assault, fame, and alcoholism with frightening realism. Similar to The Good Place, BoJack Horseman will have you laughing one minute and pondering the human condition the next.