The Scariest Screeching Strings Of Terror Ever: Bernard Hermann`s “Psycho”

October 8, 2009  
Filed under Music

PsychoThe cellos, violins, and violas screech during The Shower Curtain scene, as Marion Crane crumples to the ground. That`s chocolate syrup, not blood pouring down the drain. The silhouette of the old woman with the very large knife dashes out of the musty Bates Hotel room. The score to Psycho is wall to wall, and is an equal to the plot, images, and stars (Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, and Vera Miles). Bernard Hermann used only strings for the Psycho score, primarily because of budget concerns.

As we crawl towards October 31st, we seek out our most cherished Horror films and we also Psycho iisearch for music that best captures these spooky sentiments of spirit. Bernard Hermann`s Psycho tracks is at the top, for me. Norman Bates loses it when looking at Marion Crane undress; through a peephole he stares in an adjacent bird-stuffed office. Listen to the undulating strings as the scene builds, the dynamics and staccato rapture, then the sound of water and the camera focuses on a frozen eyeball. Terror strings, then “Mother, oh God!”

Psycho iiiThe tones of Bernard Hermann here have kept me frightened out of my wits for my entire life! While there are other greats in the gallery of horror, with scary soundtracks, like John Carpenter`s Halloween, I believe that the scariest accolades must go to B.H. and Psycho.


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