‘Psycho’ Was Once An Awkward Theme Park Attraction
Lots of famous movies have made for excellent theme park attractions: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter lets you poke around Hogwarts castle, Star Wars Galaxy's Edge gives you a chance to actually fly the Millennium Falcon, and the E.T. Adventure Ride gave a generation of children their first taste from the sweet goblet of resisting police arrest. One movie that surely doesn't seem like a natural fit with a day of family-friendly amusement is Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, the beloved slasher classic that turned 60 years old last week:
But that didn't stop some genius '90s Hollywood executives from creating a Hitchcock-based crowd-pleaser at Universal Studios Orlando. Alfred Hitchcock: The Art of Making Movies was filled with props from Hitch's body of work, but the centerpiece of the attraction was a Psycho-based show featuring a recreation of the Bates Motel, the only temporary lodging more terrifying than your average hidden camera-filled Airbnb.
The show was, supposedly, to illustrate how the famous shower scene was crafted. The "director" (who seemed less like a master of suspense and more like a master of doing another bump of coke to get through shooting another goddamn Apple Jacks commercial) would restage the iconic murder set-piece along with a faux Janet Leigh, to whom he was unnecessarily hostile. Although, in retrospect, that may have been the most accurate part of the entire show. Then a volunteer from the audience was selected to play the knife-wielding "Mrs. Bates."
This meant that if you were a kid visiting Universal Studios in the '90s, there was a solid chance that you might get to see your dad dress up like an elderly woman and pretend to repeatedly stab a blonde stranger in a nude bathing suit. Sadly the attraction closed down in 2003 and was replaced with the arguably equally emotionally-scarring Shrek 4-D
Top Image: Universal