I won’t attempt to review a film that has been examined, written about and reviewed for a lot longer than I have been alive, by people much better qualified than me. All you really need to know on this occasion is that I was in Notting Hill at the beautiful 20th Century Theatre watching the Scaredy Cat Cinema’s immersive cinema experience of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.
Walking into any venue and finding a weird mock up of a shower, a skeleton and some dead birds is enough to make anyone wonder what on earth is going on, but in this context made a certain sense. Still, not knowing the first thing about the Scaredy Cat Cinema this made a fantastic first impression and set the ghoulishly humorous tone for the rest of the evening.
A little warm up music on a similar dark tone continued and exaggerated the very Hitchcock-esque tone the evening was given by the red lights, skeletons and blood smeared shower curtains scattered around the venue. Harking right back to the golden era of cinema and film when there was a much fuller experience to going to the cinema, the film was prefaced by a short introduction from ‘Alfred Hitchcock’, complete with bald wig and bulging stomach, suitably in the style the great man himself gave to his films. This was followed shortly by the actual introduction from Hitchcock himself, as was his want with his films.
With the theatre providing a superb venue, acoustically, visually and indeed atmospherically the film unfolded in front of our eyes and even succeeded in providing some genuine thrills and scares. Sometimes the oldies are the best. Ending with the iconic, evil glare from Norman Bates we were left, much as the original audience was, I imagine, with the shivers still running down our spine.
The final, finishing touch, is one of my favourite things about the whole evening; on entering all attendees are given a small key (like a motel key…) and are invited to provide feedback by dropping the key in a pot either with a smiley face or a sad face on it on the way out. I will confidently admit I put mine in the smiley faced pot and would gladly return for another round of terror with the Scaredy Cat crew.
Reporter Peter Churchill