Slasher films are probably my least favorite subgenre of horror films- I suppose I prefer psychological horror/thriller films. The characteristics which define slasher films are precisely the reason I don’t seem to like them. Victims are often morally repugnant, and not in any way sympathetic. They are dumbed down and fall into the same traps like splitting up from other characters. It frightens me more when characters that are harmless get axed them characters that are “asking for it.” Also, slasher films to me follow the same patterns and are followed by some ridiculous sequels.
That being said, Psycho is as classic a film today as it was edgy for the time. I’ve seen a number of Hitchcock films but I cannot recall in any of them the female characters walking around half-dressed or lying in bed with their boyfriends. The film can be dated by the language and elements that were seen as “racy” at the time. You don’t ever see Janet Leigh’s navel- that would have been a no-no until I Love Jeannie eventually forced the taboo out. I even discovered through the magic of the Internet that the flushing of the toilet was even taboo at the time.
I wasn’t familiar with the “sequels” to the Psycho film until Wikipedia directed me to them. In these sequels Anthony Perkins return as Norman Bates, commits more murders, but all because “Mother” has come back into his psyche and taken over. The sequels, instead of incriminating Bates, try to make the audience sympathize with him. Perhaps in the decades that followed the original, when the sequels were made, there was not only a greater understanding of mental illness but sympathy for people with those conditions.