How Psycho changed cinema

It’s 50 years since Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho was unleashed on a soon-to-be-terrified world. Even if you’ve never seen the film you’ve probably been exposed to its extensive influence. Alfred Hitchcock had made his name as the “master of suspense” with brilliant, glossy thrillers like Rear Window and North by Northwest, but Psycho was altogether different – the like of which most cinema-goers had never seen.

With its shocking bursts of violence and provocative sexual explicitness, Psycho tested the strict censorship boundaries of the day as well as audiences’ mettle – and it gave Hitchcock the biggest hit of his career. Awakened to the box office potential of violence and sex, mainstream filmmakers followed suit. Here is how Psycho changed cinema:

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Run Lola Run


Run Lola Run (original German title Lola rennt, translates as Lola Runs) is a 1998 film by German screenwriter and director Tom Tykwer, starring Franka Potente as Lola.

In the movie “Run Lola Run” (Lola rennt in German-1998), the butterfly effect is represented more clearly. There, minor and almost sub-conscious actions in everyday life can be seen to have gross and wide spread effects upon the future. For example, the fact that Lola bumps into someone instead of passing by may lead to a painful death after suffering paralysis. As such, seemingly inconsequential actions can be seen to have drastic long-term results.

Lola’s boyfriend Manni is trying to prove his loyalty to a gang boss. Manni’s final task in a particular job is to deliver 100,000 Deutsche Marks to his boss Ronnie. Everything goes wrong. Lola’s moped is stolen and she is unable to transport Manni to the meeting place. After waiting for her Manni decides to use the metro. He accidentally leaves the bag, with its 100,000 Marks, in the underground after an encounter with a bum and two ticket-controllers. The money is then found by the homeless man. Manni realises what he’s done and soon makes a desperate phone call to Lola, asking her to think of something, to help him. If he does not have the money by the meeting at 12 noon, he will certainly be killed. Lola promises to get him the 100,000 marks. Manni warns her that he will rob a supermarket on the street corner if Lola has not come in 20 minutes. Can Lola get him the money and save his life? It is at this point that the three sequential alternative realities begin.

The film features several allusions to Alfred Hitchcock’s film Vertigo. Like that film, it features recurring images of spirals, such as the ‘Spirale’ Cafe behind Manni’s phone box and the spiral staircase down which Lola runs. In addition, the painting on the back wall of the casino of a woman’s head seen from behind is based on a shot in Vertigo: Tykwer disliked the empty space on the wall behind the roulette table and commissioned production designer Alexander Manasse to paint a picture of Kim Novak as she appeared in Vertigo. Manasse could not remember what she looked like in the film and so decided to paint the famous shot of the back of her head. The painting took fifteen minutes to complete.

There are also several references to German culture in the film. The most notable is the use of Hans Paetsch as a narrator. Paetsch is a famous voice of children’s stories in Germany, recognized by millions. Many of the small parts are cameo roles by famous German actors (for example the bank teller). Also, two quotes by German football legend Sepp Herberger appear: “The ball is round, the game lasts 90 minutes, everything else is pure theory,” and, “After the game is before the game.” (wikipedia)


The meaning of the butterfly
Why pop culture loves the ‘butterfly effect,’ and gets it totally wrong
By Peter Dizikes
June 8, 2008

SOME SCIENTISTS SEE their work make headlines. But MIT meteorologist Edward Lorenz watched his work become a catch phrase. Lorenz, who died in April, created one of the most beguiling and evocative notions ever to leap from the lab into popular culture: the “butterfly effect,” the concept that small events can have large, widespread consequences. The name stems from Lorenz’s suggestion that a massive storm might have its roots in the faraway flapping of a tiny butterfly’s wings.

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Jacob’s Ladder


After returning home from the Vietnam War, veteran Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins) struggles to maintain his sanity. Plagued by hallucinations and flashbacks, Singer rapidly falls apart as the world and people around him morph and twist into disturbing images. His girlfriend, Jezzie (Elizabeth Peña), and ex-wife, Sarah (Patricia Kalember), try to help, but to little avail. Even Singer’s chiropractor friend, Louis (Danny Aiello), fails to reach him as he descends into madness.

Release date: November 2, 1990 (USA)
Director: Adrian Lyne
Budget: 25 million USD
Screenplay: Bruce Joel Rubin
Music composed by: Maurice Jarre




a person who is able to change their appearance, behavior, or attitudes, so as to be comfortable in any situation.


Zelig is a 1983 American mockumentary film written and directed by Woody Allen and starring Allen and Mia Farrow. Allen plays Leonard Zelig, a nondescript enigma who, out of his desire to fit in and be liked, takes on the characteristics of strong personalities around him. The film, presented as a documentary, recounts Zelig’s intense period of celebrity in the 1920s and includes analyses from present day intellectuals.

The film was photographed and narrated in the style of 1920s black-and-white newsreels, which are interwoven with archival footage from the era, and re-enactments of real historical events. Color segments from the present day include interviews of real and fictional personages, including Saul Bellow and Susan Sontag.