Buds Worthy: Inside Psycho

Last month we looked at podcast from Gimlet Media, a podcast production company I have lots of familiarity with, but this month I’m trying something from the Wondery Podcasting Network. Looking at their site, you’ll see an interesting mix of scripted dramas as well as some true crime nonfiction pods. Inside Psycho intrigued me for a couple of reasons.  First off, it’s short, only six episodes. Each episode is about 20-25 minutes. It’s a deep dive. There’s plenty of podcasts about movies, but an entire series examining the history and impact of one film spoke to me. It really stood out amongst a backdrop of what most nonfiction podcasts are made up of: true crime, business, interviews or human interest.

Being a fan of movies, podcasts, Hitchcock, and Psycho itself, I was excited for this one. I will say the entire series wasn’t quite what I expected, and the first episode in particular was so divergent from what I was accustomed to, I had to check that I was indeed listening to the right podcast. A typical episode has your host, Mark Ramsey, take your through a different stage of the film’s inception, impact, or development. While Ramsey, for most episodes, is the only voice you’ll hear, the pod never feels that way. Through his own vocal talent, creative editing, and script writing, it never feels stale. Ramsey alternates between straight narration and dramatic reenactment that keeps the listener engaged.

Episodes take you through the real life murders that inspired the story, and how Psycho started as a short story. Ramsey covers why this film was so important to “Hitch,” and what he put on the line to make it a reality.  Hitchcock’s methods and demeanor are encapsulated along with his relationship to the cast and crew. There’s some pretty cool stuff in here about how theaters operated at the time, and Psycho changed them forever. You’ll be taken through, of course, a full breakdown of the shower scene, and some of my favorite moments, how Hitchcock bobs and weaves with the censors of the time. Censors, who in this era, wouldn’t let a toilet be shown on screen, so you can imagine their reaction to Psycho.

While Inside Psycho isn’t the best podcast you’ll listen to all year, I do recommend it as a break between longer running pods. It’s great for anyone interested in movies of the era, Alfred Hichcock, or the movie Psycho itself.  I would highly recommend seeing the movie, if you haven’t, before listening as there are spoilers without warning, if you can call something spoiled after 60 years have passed. The best part about this pod is that it isn’t a huge commitment. It’s enjoyable, the episodes will fit into most commutes, and you’ll come away with some interesting facts to bring up at your next happy hour. Be warned, you’ll be jonesing to rewatch this classic as soon as you finish episode six. Totally buds worthy.

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