Friday, October 5, 2012

Scary Books – Psycho by Robert Bloch

You’ve seen the film but have you read the book? Robert Bloch was an immensely talented pulp writer and Psycho made him a household name. Bloch’s 1959 novel was loosely based on Wisconsin murderer Ed Gein, Bloch’s book is far more violent than the famous 1960 film directed by Alfred Hitchcock but equally as fascinating. Psycho is really a tour-de-force pulp story, bloody and suspenseful. By comparison, most of today’s horror writers produce far more gruesome and explicit novels, but they don’t necessarily possess Bloch’s mastery of characterization, plotting and dialogue. Psycho holds up very well indeed but I believe its high quality has been eclipsed by the movie’s fame. This is unfortunate because the book is a brilliant roman à clef; so named because so much of it was inspired by a madman named Ed Gein and others like him. In 1983 Universal Studios released Psycho II and the same year Bloch published Psycho II. Equally as gripping, Psycho II is unrelated to the second film but does serve as a direct sequel to his original novel. Norman Bates is back, deadlier than ever. Although there are similarities between Psycho II the novel and Psycho II the film it’s important to point out that Bloch’s novel was published first. In 1990 Bloch published Psycho House which is also unrelated to the film series. In Psycho House the Bates Motel has been rebuilt and becomes a tourist attraction. Naturally, mysterious murders begin to occur. All of Robert Bloch’s many stories and novels are worth your attention but that first Psycho novel remains a spooktacular delight. By all rights Robert Bloch’s Psycho should be considered one of the great horror novels.


  1. Wow, I've never seen that cover for PSYCHO II! I love it. Thanks for posting the scan.

  2. You're welcome! It's also a another scary book worth checking out!


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