Spoiler Alert! The 50 Best Movie Twists

12. Norman Bates killed his mother and pretends to be her whenever it's time to kill

Movie: Psycho (1960)
Writer: Robert Bloch (original novel), Joseph Stefano (screenplay)

In the simplest terms, Psycho is just a story about a boy and his mother—that is, a completely insane boy and the skeleton of a mother who was murdered by said boy. Not exactly fodder for a Hallmark card.

Thankfully, cheesy greeting cards were of no use to author Robert Bloch and filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock when they both hatched their incarnations of the classic horror tale Psycho, about roadside motel proprietor Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins in the film) and the brutal, in-the-shower killing of a beautiful, criminally minded guest (Janet Leigh).

When the poor woman is knifed to death in the bathroom, all we see is a shadow of what appears to be an old lady—presumably Norman's said-to-be invalid mom. The same woman who the murder victim's sister and lover learn was killed by Norman ten years earlier, after he found her in bed in with a man and incestuously got to slaying.

That shadow of a womanly figure? Norman in a dress and wig, acting as his mother in a fit of fractured psychosis. The moral of the story: On long, by-yourself road trips, spend a few more bucks and opt for the nearest Hilton.

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