Nightmare Factory reads ‘Psycho’ by Robert Bloch. Yep, it inspired the Hitchcock movie.

The Nightmare Factory book club meets the third Tuesday of every month to discuss the best in literary horror fiction. Join us this Tuesday, April 17 at 7 p.m., if you dare! 


psycho

The iconic shower scene. A girl – Janet Leigh –  is interrupted mid-lather by an obscured figure holding a butcher knife. Cue the violin shrieks! The knife slashes bare flesh over and over and over. Release the chocolate syrup! Oh, God! Mother! Blood!

Many horror fans, myself included, are guilty of better remembering the adaptation than the source material – a forgivable infraction given the cultural saturation of the movie – but an infraction nevertheless. The only thing to be done to correct this glaring oversight is to immediately buy a copy of Psycho by Robert Bloch and immerse yourself in the world of the Bates Motel as envisioned by the original master of the macabre.

Psycho, as interpreted by Alfred Hitchcock, is a cinematic experiment in misdirection. Robert Bloch’s 1959 suspense classic, however, is a different kind of psychological study that deadens the nerves with the first jab and spends the remainder of the novel’s sparse 159 pages pulling them as taut as a garrote. Though Robert Bloch was something of a known quantity prior to its publication, having contributed to Weird Tales, Marvel Tales, and Unusual Stories throughout the 30s and 40s as the youngest inductee into the Arkham House crew, Psycho became his calling card, vaulting him from relative obscurity to the forefront of the public literary consciousness where he claimed his seat at the sacrificial altar as the rightful heir to Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft.

Based loosely on the ghoulish crimes of Ed Gein, Psycho taught the world that sleepy, little towns aren’t necessarily sanctuaries from horror. No – horror can strike anywhere at anytime for any reason.  So, how well do you really know the odd, little man that runs the motel? The guy that sells you your Twizzlers at the corner store? The people you live with? OR EVEN THE MEMBERS OF YOUR OWN BOOK CLUB?

Join the Nightmare Factory Book Club on Tuesday, April 17 at 7:00 p.m. in the cafe at BookPeople to discuss Psycho by Robert Bloch, and explore the impact that this slim pulp novel has had on the landscape of storytelling since its publication almost 60 years ago. Can you even imagine a world without the Vince Vaughn shot-for-shot movie remake?

The Nightmare Factory meets the third Tuesday of every month to crack wise over the greatest and grossest that literary horror fiction has to offer. We “epicures of terrible” have so much to pick over that we can always seat one more at the table. See you Tuesday.

— Steve(n) W. 

 

 

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