78/52 – aka 78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene – is a 2017 American documentary film written and directed by Alexandre O. Philippe (Doc of the Dead). It looks at the iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, the “man behind the curtain”, and the screen murder that profoundly changed the course of world cinema.
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Fifty years after its initial release shocked an entire generation of unsuspicious moviegoers, Psycho remains one of the most intensely discussed and analyzed movies of all time.
78/52 explores that intangible “cinematic space” between the shots. It delves into Hitchcock’s genius in unprecedented fashion, to become the first feature-length investigation into the art, craft, and influence of a single extraordinary scene – one which forever changed the course of popular cinema, and continues to inspire some of the greatest filmmakers of our time. A 78 shot / 52 cut slice of cinematic heaven: the “shower scene”.
The film features interviews with:
- Peter Bogdanovich
- Jamie Lee Curtis
- Guillermo del Toro
- Danny Elfman
- Bret Easton Ellis
- Mick Garris
- Karyn Kusama
- Neil Marshall
- Bob Murawski
- Walter Murch
- Oz Perkins
- Marli Renfro
- Eli Roth
- Scott Spiegel
- Richard Stanley
- Leigh Whannell
- Elijah Wood
“It’s the double-edged sword of focusing on a few moments at the neglect of what surrounds those moments. Thankfully, that deep dive is such an enjoyment to watch and a thoughtful approach to Hitchcock’s direction that it’s difficult to complain that the documentary leaves us wanting more.” Collider
” …the preponderance of youngish horror filmmakers and enthusiasts whose often manic and jargon-filled ejaculations of avidity for Psycho suggests that Hitchcock’s achievement lies less in pioneering (however unwittingly) the cultural shift signposted by 1960 and more in cracking open the door to a later generation of filmmakers to make gruesomely unrestrained horror films…” The Hollywood Reporter
“78/52 is powered by captivating stories, like the one about how Hitchcock tested out the death-cut sound of knives slashing through a hundred different varieties of melon (having decided, he finally said “casaba” with matter-of-fact authority, and left the room). Or how, amazingly, when he saw the first rough cut of Psycho, he thought that the movie played so badly that he decided to scrap the entire project…” Variety
” …78/52 looks at virtually every aspect of the shower scene—including the staging, the production design, the music and sound effects, the camera work, Saul Bass’ storyboards, etc.—and marvels at how brilliantly integrated they were. The word “genius” is heard more than once, and the more the film shows us, the less even hardened skeptics will be likely to demur.” RogerEbert.com
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“It does presume that you have seen Psycho and know the twists and turns that Hitchcock prepared for his viewers, so if you have not seen Psycho beforehand, first, how dare you, and second, get on that. Then watch Philippe’s excellent documentary about one of cinema’s greatest moments, the two minute scene that made the world afraid to go into the shower alone.” Screen Anarchy
Psycho in the Shower: The History of Cinema’s Most Famous Scene by Philip J. Skerry
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The film was released by Dogwoof on DVD in the UK on 11 December 2017.