Taxidermy is an innocuous pastime that has given countless hours of pleasure to millions of people across the globe. Now regarded as something of a niche craft, in days gone by (in a time when the reality of death was more openly acknowledged in everyday life) it was a perfectly innocent hobby… Until Alfred Hitchcock chose to feature it in his so-called ‘masterpiece’ Psycho.

The story follows the tribulations of Marion Crane (not a taxidermist) who goes on a short holiday to a motel run by Norman Bates (a taxidermist). Throw in a boss, a boyfriend and a sister (none of them mention taxidermy) plus a nosy cop (possibly himself an amateur taxidermist, but I’m reading between the lines here) and a pushy mom (ditto) and the stage is set for a comedy of misunderstandings. Unfortunately, Hitchcock conspicuously drops the ball in the middle of the film, pushing a ludicrous sub plot centre stage, and the whole thing ends in a confusing mess.

I’m giving this two stars because any mention of taxidermy is worth one star, plus another star because I’ve heard of Alfred Hitchcock.

Warning: there is a scene set in a shower, apparently, but I missed this because I spilled my wasabi peas under my chair, and was just picking them up. I did notice that the score at this point perfectly represents the experience of eating too many wasabi peas in one go. Perhaps composer Bernard Hermann is secretly a Japanese man with synesthesia? I’ve searched the web, and there are no attempts to deny this.

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