When it comes to historic horror film locations, I can think of no other house that’s as instantly recognizable as the PSYCHO house (and Bates Motel) from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece. And with A&E’s recent BATES MOTEL wrapping up its 5 season run, I thought it’d be fitting to take a tour of where the madness all began!
Granted, the BATES MOTEL production took place in Canada and was a replica of the infamous PSYCHO house. But the original house and motel are still accessible on the Universal Studios tram tour, and a big attraction for the theme park. During Halloween Horror Nights in late September through Halloween, you can even walk up to the house and get a photo with Norman at the doorstep.
Believe it or not, when Hitchcock shot the original PSYCHO, it only consisted of the two visible walls. The left side, and the front. The inside of the house was all shot on sets in sound stages, and eventually, the other sides of the house were completed after it was moved from its original location to be a part of the tram tour. (And was finally seen again in 1982’s PSYCHO II!)
Why not take a tour of the house and motel itself, as it appeared way back in 1960 with none other that Hitch to guide us. Let’s go!
That was, of course, the infamous 6 minute promotion theatrical trailer for PSYCHO! It’s still to this day one of the most famous trailers ever put together to help promote a movie, while simultaneously showing you no footage from the actual movie! Truly, a genius marketing ploy!
While things have changed over the years, they thankfully haven’t changed too drastically. Back in 2010, I released a documentary project titled THE PSYCHO LEGACY to chronicle the making-of all 4 Anthony Perkins-fronted PSYCHO films. I was fortunate enough to take a quick walk around the actual grounds of the Bates Motel, as it stands today, on the Universal backlot, thanks to John Murdy, the creative director and executive producer of Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights in Hollywood, California. Let’s take a look at the PSYCHO house from a mere 7 years ago.
So there you have it! A quickie tour of the PSYCHO house from two completely different time periods. Of course, I recommend coming to Los Angeles to see it for yourself, but if you can’t, you can always revisit these videos at any time. I’m sure Mother would approve.