Crazy for Psycho

One of the perks of writing a movie column is that you can always justify attending movie-based events. Most of the time that means heading out to an opening night, or taking in a film festival. But occasionally, unique events come up that any film lover, yours truly included, would not want to miss.

I’m currently attending school in Calgary, and my busy class schedule doesn’t leave a lot of time for movies. However, back in September I happened to be perusing the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra’s website when an event caught my eye. The CPO was running a special Halloween event: a screening of the Alfred Hitchcock classic, Psycho, with a live performance of the score. I couldn’t believe my luck. It’s not every day that a world-class symphony departs from its usual classical fare to put on this sort of show. I immediately booked my tickets and marked the date on my calendar.

I hate to admit that I had never seen Psycho through to the end. Of course I knew of the famous shower scene where Janet Leigh meets her demise, the spectre of the Bates Motel, and the piercing music that raises the hair on the back of your neck. The opportunity to cross Psycho off my list of must-see classics and hear the eerie score played by a dozen violins, violas, cellos and bases had me counting down the days until Halloween weekend.

I was not disappointed. The movie itself was incredible. Although by today’s standards many of the cinematic devices are considered cliché, I can see why it was heralded as a horror classic when it was first released in 1960. There were definitely a few moments when I hunched down in my seat and covered my eyes. However, it was the live music that made the night. The sound resonated through the hall, and was so perfectly executed that, at times, I completely forgot that the music was being performed right in front of me. When the lights finally came back up, the crowd gave the orchestra a much-deserved round of applause, and I had the opportunity to eavesdrop on a few conversations around me. The consensus seemed to be that the event was a huge success, and like me, many others felt that the music worked seamlessly with the film. The friend who I had brought agreed, and asked me to make sure to invite her along for the next CPO movie night.

Even true videophiles can get that stale feeling every once in a while. When the new release lists get uninspiring, it’s a treat to try something a little different. While the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra doesn’t have a movie option in their program (yet!), I encourage you to seek out special movie events. Whether it’s the Kamloops Film Society’s Thursday Night Film Series, or a classic movie night at a friend’s house, getting away from the “Top 10” latest and greatest is a sure way to rekindle your love of great film.

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