ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)

Entertainment Media Analysis Report

Psycho (1998), (R)
CAP Score: 63, CAP ID: 0.67

Thomas A. Carder
CAP President

Executive Summary / Commentary
Findings / Scoring

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Psycho (1998) - Wow! What - an - immproovement! [NOT!] It was almost a scene-for-scene and set-for-set recreation of the original Hitchcock classic but this one was boring. The biggest differences between this 1998 version and the original is that in this 1998 version the music was more screeching, the gore more intensive, and there was more nudity -- a lot more. But there just was none of the energy that powered the original movie. Even the screeching music and sound effects used to empower the visuals with "grab-ya" did not conjure edge-of-the-seat anticipation or any reaction at all from me. The "capture factor" was just not there.......thankfully.

There were two very graphic knife murders, some full nudity (one instance was particularly vulgar), lots of brief/partial nudity, and masturbation maneuvers. There was adultery (presented as acceptable, of course), theft, and threats with a knife. Also freckling the choreography were attempted coverups of murder, a same-sex couple in bed together, and repeated exposure to adult underwear. Strong implication of sexual intercourse was present, but no images of it. An attack to the face with a golf club was certainly a bad example. A great deal of blood was seen which could upset some folks. And illegal activities such as unauthorized trespass might give the impression of immunity to access restrictions. The most invasive presentations in this movie were the slashings and stabbings. Penetration of the blade was not seen even once. However, while the choreographers were skillful at preventing the observer from seeing the knife penetrate, they were skillful at ensuring the observer had full view of the knife as it was coming down and as it suddenly stopped. Results of knife attacks were boldly displayed.

Of particular note, there was no foul or vulgar language at all! Not once. Not even the little flippant snippets of locker room language typical of PG-13 and R-rated movies. The only instance of unacceptable choice of words was one use of God's name in vain but without the four letter expletive. The main reasons why this movie was rated R was the extensive nudity and graphic violence.

FINDINGS / SCORING: Psycho (1998) CAP Thermometers

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) did not lose any points to the maximum level but lost points twice to the intermediate level due to attack to the face with a golf club (which in speaking as an ex-medic would have likely resulted in death, rather than temorary incapacitation) and due to graphic presentation of a decayed body with a spider crawling out of its mouth.

Impudence*/Hate (I)(1) lost no points in the maximum level but did loose points in the intermediate level once due to presentation of an adulterous affair with repeated treatment of it as completely acceptable.

Sex/Homosexuality (S) lost no points in the maximum level but lost points in the intermediate level four times due to nudity and masturbation maneuvers with associated sounds.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) lost no points to the maximum or intermediate levels.

Offense to God (O)(2) lost no points to the maximum or intermediate levels.

Murder/Suicide (M)(3) lost the maximum level points twice due to graphic knife murders. Murder/Suicide lost no points to the intermediate level.

Other examples of entertainment ignominy warranting the loss of the minimum point level included

  • a couple in bed together with she dressed in only underwear and he covered only by a sheet
  • suggestive eye movement
  • repeated exposure to adult underwear
  • sexual innuendo
  • theft and illegal purchase
  • belittling talk to and of 'mother' and belittling talk by 'mother' to son
  • brief nudity, partial nudity, "shower curtain" nudity, picture nudity, and magazine nudity
  • buildup to threats
  • cleaning up blood
  • attempted coverups of murder
  • unauthorized trespass
  • one use of God's name i vain without the four letter expletive
  • camera angles to focus viewer on private parts
  • threats with a knife
  • talk of drinking and drunkenness, a mug of [ostensibly] beer, and whiskey in an office
  • talk of murder/suicide by poisoning

    * "Imunity/Hate" is being changed to "Impudence/Hate."

    In accordance with the numeric comparative baseline database of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model, Psycho (1998) presented programming equivalent to R-rated material in Wanton Violence/Crime, Impudence/Hate, and Sex/Homosexuality. The movie was equivalent to PG-13 programming in and PG programming in , Drugs/Alcohol, and Offense to God. Title was equivalent to G-rated programming in and Murder/Suicide. Thus, Title is equivalent to 16% R-rated programming, 16% PG-13 programming, 50% PG-rated programming, and 16% G-rated programming.

    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the three/four letter word vocabulary is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication. As required of the Holy Scriptures, unless God's name is used with reverence to His glory and praise, its use is considered in vain, whether literal or euphemistic.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Presentation of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

    Please remember we believe that if even one of the six Investigation Area scores for a movie is equivalent to the CAP comparative baseline database scoring range for R, PG-13, or PG material, the entire movie should be regarded as so rated.  For example, if only Wanton Violence/Crime earns a score equivalent to R but all other Investigation Areas earn a score equivalent to G, THERE IS R-RATED MATERIAL IN THE MOVIE AND YOUR KIDS WILL SEE IT AND HEAR IT IF THEY WATCH THE MOVIE!

    Additional reviews of this movie may be located at "Movie Review Query Engine at Telerama."

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    Thomas A. Carder
    ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)

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