The trailer for 78/52 demonstrates why Hitchcock's Psycho is still a masterpiece

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Mar 25, 2021, 12:00 PM EDT (Updated)

Alfred Hitchcock is one of the most celebrated and studied filmmakers of all time -- and with good reason. A master of suspense, his films have stood the test of time, defined a genre, and reimagined the cinema itself.

Psycho stands at the top of the Hitchcock heap, being the most revered of all his films (though The Birds, Rope, and Lifeboat do make a strong push). And there are many tales of Psycho: the hysteria it built among audiences; the surprise of Janet Leigh, the movie's headline star, being killed in the first 20 minutes of the film; Gus Van Sant's false claim that the masturbation scene he put in his 1998 remake was cut out of Hitch's original script by censors; the fact that Psycho was the first film to implement screening times.

There is so much to know about Psycho that I am kind of stunned that someone made a whole documentary on one scene, made up of 78 setups and 52 edits (hence the title). Everyone knows that the knife stab sounds were made by stabbing a melon; everyone knows that chocolate sauce was used as blood. What this documentary aims to unravel is how Hitch could jam so much meaning, so much art, into a few seconds of screen time. The documentary promises to break down the scene frame by frame. This might be a film just for the nerdiest film buffs.

78/52 was directed by Alexandre O. Philippe, who also directed Doc of the Dead and The People vs. George Lucas. Some of the talking heads include Jamie Lee Curtis, Guillermo del Toro, Elijah Wood, Danny Elfman, Mick Garris, Bret Easton Ellis, Neil Marshall, Leigh Whannell, and Walter Murch. The film hits theaters and VOD on October 13.