Psycho is a 1960 horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It was written by Joseph Stefano and Robert Bloch. It stars Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates, Janet Leigh as Marion Crane and Vera Miles as Lila Crane.
This film opens in Phoenix, Arizona, where a young woman, named Marion Crane, and her boyfriend, Sam Loomis, meet for a secret romance in a hotel. The two discuss their future but are aware that they cannot get married, due to the fact that they cannot afford to. When Marion gets back to her office, a client comes with $40,000 and entrusts the money to Marion. Marion is unable to resist temptation and steals the money so she can marry Sam. She then decides to leave town, so that she will not be caught.
As she is driving, she begins to feel guilty for what she has done. She soon falls asleep and is awoken the next day by a police officer. The cop is able to sense that she is feeling guilty and, although he lets her go, follows her to a used car dealership, where Marion plans to exchange her car for another one. The police officer eventually leaves.
That night, Marion continues to drive. It begins to storm, Marion realizes that she cannot continue to drive in such bad weather and checks into a motel near the town of Fairvale, California, called the Bates Motel, to spend the night. Marion checks in with the owner, Norman Bates. He tells her that the motel has lost business ever since the diversion of the main highway.
Norman invites Marion for dinner in his office. He soon begins to develop feelings for her. Marion notices Norman's large collection of stuffed birds. Norman tells her that his hobby is taxidermy but he only stuffs birds, which he considers more passive than other animals, and cannot bear the idea of stuffing cats or dogs as some people do. Norman goes on to tell Marion that his mother lives with him, adding that the woman is mentally ill and has been like that ever since the death of her second husband. Their conversation convinces Marion to return home and return the stolen money.
Later that night, Marion takes a shower, a shadowy figure, presumably Norman's mother, appears and stabs Marion to death. The murderer quickly leaves and Norman soon enters, shocked to see Marion's dead body. Out of fear, he wraps her body in the shower curtain, and cleans up the blood. Norman gathers up all of Marion's possessions, including the $40,000, hidden inside a rolled up newspaper which Norman does not even open. Norman puts all of Marion's possessions and her corpse into Marion's car and sinks the car in a swamp. He is not aware that he has sent a large amount of money to the bottom of the swamp together with the young woman's body.
Marion's sister, Lila, and Sam are concerned about Marion's disappearance. They are approached by a private detective, named Arbogast, who has been hired by the client whose money was stolen by Marion. Arbogast confirms to them that Marion stole $40,000. He then goes out in search for her, soon arriving at the Bates Motel. Norman soon admits that Marion was at the hotel recently but does not tell Arbogast about her murder. Arbogast decides to question Norman's mother and enters her house. However, the figure who killed Marion returns and kills Arbogast.
When Arbogast does not call, Lila and Sam worry something happened to him. They go to the town sheriff and tell him that they have not heard from Arbogast since he entered the Bates Motel. The sheriff reveals that Norman Bate's mother died years ago, in a suicide murder along with her second husband. This shocks the two, as Arbogast told them that Bates' mother was alive. They decide to go to the Bates Motel and investigate.
The two pose as a married couple and check in at the motel. They enter the room Marion had and investigate it. Lila goes into the bathroom and discovers a scrap of paper, which says $40,000, and notices that there is no curtain on the shower. While Sam distracts Norman, Lila enters Mrs. Bate's house to look for her. Norman soon discovers this and chases after Lila. Lila runs to hide in the basement and sees Mrs. Bates from the back on a rocking chair. The chair rotates, and reveals Mrs. Bates' mummified corpse. Suddenly, an elderly woman, the same one who killed Marion and Arbogast, enters the room, holding a knife. Before she can attack Lila, Sam attacks her and it is revealed that the woman is Norman, wearing a wig and a dress.
Norman is arrested for his crimes and a psychiatrist reveals what has happened. Norman had murdered his mother and step-father years ago but began to feel guilty and missed his mother. To erase what happened from his mind, Norman tried to convince himself that his mother was still alive. He stole her corpse and used his taxidermy skills to preserve it. He also began to talk for his mother and dress like her and soon developed multiple personality syndrome, sometimes functioning as Norman, sometimes as Mrs. Bates. The psychiatrist also reveals that Norman is now locked into his mother's personality.
In the end, in a voiceover, Mrs. Bates claims that it was not her who committed the crimes but her son and, in reality, she is harmless.