The Badass Warning Alfred Hitchcock Had Theaters Display Before Psycho Screenings

Alfred Hitchcock was well known for not allowing any disrespect to the filmmaking process on the set of his movies, but in the early 1960s the legendary director was able to extend his influence to every theater that showed his would-be classic horror film, Psycho. Ensuring that the movie was seen exactly how it was meant to be presented, Hitchcock had the following warning shown to the audience:


This is epic, and, quite frankly, it’s something modern filmmakers and theaters should make note of and possibly think about putting back into practice. In his warning, courtesy of Imgur, Hitchcock first and foremost encourages proper movie-going etiquette. It’s a simple request: show up on time in order to properly see the film you’re spending time and money to see. It’s not exactly rocket science, but it’s a message from which current audiences could certainly learn. While tardiness might not be the biggest problem, audiences are still easily distracted, often using mobile devices in theaters instead of paying attention to the movie showing on the gargantuan screen in front of them.

What Hitchcock does most impressively with his warning is set the tone for the experience audience members were going to have for the following 109 minutes. Using murderous linguistics and nods to the genre he helped create, Hitchcock proceeds to threaten his audiences into properly enjoying Psycho. It’s really brilliant. Before the first shot of the film, ticketholders are already in the tense and anxious mood that Hitchcock utilizes brilliantly in his films.

Psycho revolves around a weekend in the Bates Motel, where secretary Marion Crane checks in, and begins noticing the strange occurrences between the Hotel Manager and his unseen mother. Starring Janet Leigh as Crane and Anthony Perkins as the disturbed Norman Bates, the film uses Hitchcock’s cinematography to keep the audience at the edge of their seat throughout. It also defied cinematic norms by killing off Leigh early in the film, which was one of the key reasons why the director was so insistent about audience members not showing up late to screenings.

Psycho is now regarded as one of the most influential and renowned horror films of all time. The infamous shower scene has become a legendary moment in pop culture, with countless references found in films and TV shows. Additionally, A&E has gone on to make a prequel television series, Bates Motel, starring Vera Farmiga, which has recently aired its third season. Farmiga’s performance as Bates’ mother has been acclaimed, earning her a primetime Emmy nomination.

Can warnings like Hitchcock’s be implemented for modern movie audiences? It would be quite the adjustment from the way movie theaters have been running lately. After all, movie theater staffs seem to be shrinking, and if a filmmaker won’t allow late seating, it would probably require additional staff to be enforced. And in the lawsuit-happy climate we’re in, there would undoubtedly be problems with disgruntled audience members. Plus, with the price of movie tickets continuing to rise, should moviegoers reserve the right to come and go as they please?

What do you think? Sound off below and let us know if these warnings can go off with or without a Hitch.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.