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In praise of - funny psycho.

FRUITLESSLY, I've railed against the unnecessary, frankly worrying sadism displayed in popular Scandinavian crime dramas.

The violence against women, in particular, is appalling and should be enough for writers of the likes of Denmark's Those Who Kill to be put under police surveillance.

A precedent for this sort of show was probably Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, with its famous stabbing-in-the-shower scene, though that was genteel and decorous compared to the chainsaw-wielding madness we get now. Then again Psycho was a horror film and not a police procedural, so we can't say we weren't warned. Or at least we thought it was a horror film. Now we're told it was a comedy.

Yup, in an interview uncovered in BBC archives, Hitchcock says he intended the film to be "rather tongue-and-cheek". He's having a laugh, right? The jowly oddball continued: "The content was, I felt, rather amusing and it was a big joke. I was horrified to find some people took it seriously."

Perhaps he should have added a laughter track so that we'd ken when to giggle. Hitchers was speaking in 1964 and you can hear his haverings on a new audiobook, Alfred Hitchcock: In His Own Words. It coincides with a biopic about the controversial director, which I won't be going to see, as I'm too frightened of neds to visit the cinema.

Yeah, well, maybe the problem is mine, right enough. Feart, sensitive, squeamish, yada-yada. And, in a sense, you can almost see what Hitchcock meant about Psycho. There was that scary hoose from central casting. And the Anthony Perkins character was clearly a bit of a daftie. Then there was his maw being deid all along: hilarious.

I've seen Shaun of the Dead, so I know horror can be funny. But Pscyho the comedy? Hmm. Scary thought.

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