Psycho Live! at The Colston Hall in Bristol

Psycho Live! at The Colston Hall in Bristol

Posted on: 25 Mar 2014

When it comes to classic movies still guaranteed to scare the bejesus out of you, Psycho remains the granddaddy of horror thrillers.


Directed by the Master of Suspense, Alfred Htichcock, it's filmed from a screenplay by Joseph Stefano based on his original novel, itself based on the grisly murder of serial killer Ed Gein.


The film centres on Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) who embezzles $40,000 from her employer and escapes to the eerie confines of the Bates Motel, run by the disturbed manager Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). There she meets a grisly end, leading to an investigation by her sister and a detective which leads to a few shocking discoveries.


Made straight after Hitchcock's Cary Grant-starrer, North by Northwest, a fun, kinetic cinematic soufflé, Psycho was a major departure for the director.  A dark, unsettling study in black and white of psychopathy, murder and matricide with a heavy dose of  psychoanalysis thrown in,  it was met with mixed critical reactions but lapped up by  an enthusiastic cinema-going public, who queued around the block to see Hitch's latest macabre masterpiece (prompted also by Hitchcock's strict 'no late admittance' policy). 


It was acknowledged by the Academy Awards with four nominations, including Best Supporting Actress for Leigh and Best Director for Hitchcock.  


Although it was made in 1960, it stands as a monolith of horror thriller movie making, the high water mark by which all other films in the genre must be judged.  


It's been referenced, analysed, discussed, deconstructed, revered, reviled, paid homage to and imitated countless times – and one of the many elements of Psycho that's been endlessly imitated is the score by Bernard Herrmann. 


Herrmann utilized an entirely string orchestra, saying he wanted to create a black and white sound for a black and white film.  Hitchcock himself admitted that "33% of the effect of Psycho was due to the music", with its trenchant opening titles, unnerving motifs, jagged rhythms and shrieking strings. 


The terrifying and iconic shower murder scene was originally intended by Hitchcock to run without any music, but Herrmann – a gruff, volatile New Yorker who never did as he was told – composed a cue anyway and played it to Hitchcock who loved and used it. Herrmann reminded the director, "But Hitch, you said you wanted absolutely no music", to which Hitchcock sardonically replied, "Improper suggestion."


Now, audiences are in for real treat on Thursday 10th April at the Colston Hall when they can watch Psycho on the big screen with Herrmann's legendary music played live onstage by the British Sinfonietta, conducted by Anthony Gabriele.


For the price of one ticket, you can see one of the greatest horror thrillers of all time and experience this renowned orchestra performing one of the most iconic scores in cinema history.  


To book, contact the Colston Hall for what's guaranteed to be a thrilling event that will send shivers down your spine and raise the hairs on the back of your neck. 


By Jamie Caddick for 365Bristol - the number 1 events and entertainment website in Bristol.

Article by:

James Anderson

Born and raised in the suburbs of Swansea, Jimmy moved to Bristol back in 2004 to attend university. Passionate about live music, sport, science and nature, he can usually be found walking his cocker spaniel Baxter at any number of green spots around the city. Call James on 078 9999 3534 or email