Average everyday sane psycho
I was watching Psycho II last night and this morning. I had to stop because it was actually creeping me out so I returned to it today. It is really quite a good film, I am impressed. Different from the first but still keeps the story line going enough to make it interesting.
It also got me thinking about Anthony Perkins and his life and the strange patterns that can emerge in a life.
First I have to say that I love Anthony in the original Hitchcock Psycho. He was young, attractive, innocent and did such an amazing job of playing Norman Bates that I think many have forgotten what his real name is. When I first saw that film when I was 15 years old I think I fell in love with him. I did not care that the character that he was portraying was a split personality who killed in the role of his mother. What gay man hasn't fantasized about putting on his mothers clothes and killing the people who symbolize the repression of his sexuality? I was so smitten with him that I would watch the film and just fast forward to the parts where he was there and he was being just adorable Norman.
It was later that I found out that Anthony Perkins was gay and lived a closeted life and died in 1993 of AIDS related causes. The poor man. He became even more heroic in my eyes. He had lived a life that was a lie because he had no other choice, he had married, had kids, and was trapped in a world that would not let him be himself. He was oppressed and not allowed to express himself. I knew exactly how he felt. I also felt a bond because somehow I had known that he was gay, I just felt it in my bones. He was so delicate and so sensitive in his performance that I could not imagine him loving a woman, but only a man.
So I was watching the sequel and I felt my heart being destroyed for Anthony. He had not aged well, his delicate features had hardened with age and he had lost that boyish charm. I could not help but blame society for how my Anthony looked, he was forced to live a lie trapped in it by social pressures. And here he was back in a role that he had only taken in the first place because he wanted to become famous and get noticed. The role of the oppressed Mama's boy haunted Anthony for the rest of his life, it was the only re-ocurring role that he could get and even though he got to direct the last one, I am sure that he was unhappy with it. He always wanted to be remembered for more then just same guy with a split personality. So the patterns in his work reflect the patterns in his life.
Anthony was never able to come out while he was a live, he kept his men private and made his family life very public. So he was never able to be the person that he was - either in film or in real life. The only role he was given that came close to the one he wanted was opposite Audrey Hepburn in "Green Mansions" which was such a mess artistically that it was quickly forgotten. ( I remember watching that film and wondering if Audrey knew what Anthony was getting up to with men, possibly with men on set. I always think that it is so weird when you see something on film but never consider the possibilities of what might be going on behind it). So the role that he wanted never panned into the career that he desired as he chose a bad project.
So now Anthony is dead and will always be remembered as Norman Bates. Poor man. He was trapped in a system that just was not able to accept him for who he was and made it impossible for him to accept him for who he was. It reminds me of Joan Fontaine who got trapped in the role of the sweet young thing and could not escape it after "Rebecca" and how the studio kept her on contract but would not let her act. And it is also like the original Superman who killed himself because he could not get another role since in that era (1950's) people could not bring themselves to accept that what you saw on T.V. or on the big screen was not necessarily who the person was in real life.
I am happy to say that I think that there has been some progress in our world and that things have changed. That there has become an understanding that just because you do something in one area of your life does not mean that it defines you as a whole. I think that this is progress. Ruperett Everett gets to play straight men as well as gay men, I think that is nice for him.
But I must say I still think that there are many people trapped in the roles that they feel that they have to play acting out who they are instead of being themselves. I feel bad for those people, for it may be that like Anthony it will be the death of them, that they will be unable to accept who they are by getting past the barriers that society has set up.
I understand this, I feel this pressure a lot in my life to be someone I am not. I just don't always know what to do about it. But I am trying.