78/52 – Review

The sell is kind of impossible, right?

“Hey you there, regular film consumers, would you like to watch a documentary shot entirely in black and white where filmmakers old, new, underground, and popular talk about this singular scene in a classic horror film?”

I can’t imagine any person with an average film interest finding the premise of 78/52 intriguing, let alone entertaining. It’s like sitting with that one annoying cinema obsessive as they whisper in your year about grading, transitions, scene direction and script. You just want to watch the film whilst, there they are, talking about how epic the scene is. That’s the feeling in movie form!

How do you plug that?

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Well, you find the right audience for it (me, me, and more me) and there are plenty who’ll lap up Alexandre O. Philippe’s documentary 78/52.

The name comes from the 78 camera set-ups and 52 edits for Psycho’s shower scene. With directors and filmmakers speaking about how ground-breaking the whole horror show is.

Famous faces crop up in Philippe’s black and white drama to talk about everything Psycho provided the film industry.  There’s the likes of Guillermo del Toro, Elijah Wood, and Jamie Lee Curtis who unfold the impact this movie has had on their lives and how enriching the bloody, brutal scene has been for shaping the future of cinema.

It is interesting to delve into the history of this film and truly unpack the elements that pulled this movie together. From killing off the famed actress moments into the  to how the body lands, there is a lot to dissect within this film as well as moments leading up to it and after. It’s great to follow the roots to see how this epic scene ties it all together.

There are so many different interesting themes here that are embellished as filmmakers take you through Hitchcock’s direction. The decisions, the layout, the costumes, the music – even the painting covering the peep-hole is uncovered with theories and discussion that’ll bring joy for anyone keen to dig underneath the skin of the best thriller of all time.

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There’s also lots of details that you never knew about and points of view you hadn’t considered, drifting to show works completely inspired by the work. 78/52 excels when it is weaving the tapestry of the film industry that started with this ball of terrifying yarn.

So yes, 78/52 is crafted for the die-hard movie fans who love nothing more than to quantify, dissect, and look for the intricacies of a scene. It’s incredible to witness just how far director’s would go with their detail and how perfectly laying out one moment can ripple throughout a whole community. The documentary is a film fanatic’s dream; really cutting to the meaning of the most infamous moment in cinematic history in a super and excellent way.

Now there’s a plug!

78/52 is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now! 

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