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Hershey's Chocolate Starred In Psycho In A Surprising Way

Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 psychological horror film "Psycho" is often cited as one of the most historically significant films of all time. It follows Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), the ultimate mama's boy, as he becomes increasingly disturbed while running his family's motel.

The low-budget black and white film ushered in change for the horror genre's relationship with notoriously strict censors, challenging norms with clever workarounds and fast-paced editing. Violence, immoral behavior, and nudity on-screen were forbidden, yet "Psycho" managed to incorporate all of those elements. Plus, it was one of the first mainstream movies to show a flushing toilet (via Film School Rejects). How scandalous!

Hailed as Hitchcock's best work, the film's impact on the genre remains prevalent to this day. However, the famously violent "Psycho" is sweeter than most realize. Hershey's chocolate played a surprising role in one of the film's most iconic sequences. So, how did Hershey's chocolate, honeydew melons, and a violin come together in "Psycho"? Let's discuss.

Blood and chocolate

On the r/MovieDetails subreddit, user u/ShaneMP01 shared that "watered down Hershey's chocolate syrup was used for the infamous shower scene" in "Psycho." While most fans joked about the delicious fake blood, some pointed out that it was actually Bosco-brand syrup swirling around scream queen Janet Leigh's feet, though the British Film Institute affirms that it was Hershey's. Either way, the use of the candy-flavored product was one of the film's ways around censors.

Alexandre O. Philippe, who directed the documentary "78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene," said the film was mind-boggling for censors who hadn't experienced anything like that 45-second scene and its careful editing. "You don't see blood — it's obviously chocolate syrup," he said, describing how Hitchcock got the film past censors (via History).

By today's standards, the chocolate blood isn't quite as realistic. Movie blood has come a long way since its paint-like appearance in most splatter films. But the chocolate blood coupled with the harrowing violin score and the fleshy sound of a honeydew melon being stabbed, "Psycho" viewers in 1960 were shocked by the realism of the attack.