psycho was produced in 1960sby Hitchcock. It was a ground breaking film. It was called ‘mother of the modern horror movie’. The reasons for it to be such a
landmark film were that it dealt
with serious issues such as adultery and matricide. Two things
were shown first time in a movie firstly the toilet being flushed and a woman
in a bra. Hitchcock main aim was to manipulate the minds of the audience and create
fear and loathing. He achieved this by making the film in black and white
rather than in extravagant and bright colors. He thought that the audience will
become more suspicious and terrified by the black and white scheme. Throughout
the film Hitchcock uses a variety of techniques to keep the audience engrossed
but the method I will be focusing on is tension. Tension can be used to great
effect, primarily to emphasis the horror of certain scenes. Also it allows the
audience to become curious about what is going to happen, forcing us to emphasize
with the characters.
Some of the
most famous suspense scenes include, the stealing of the money, the shower
scene, the killing of Arbogast, and the ending in which Laila discovers Mrs.
Bates. The first scene in which the tension is built up is the stealing of the
money. The first time we are shown the $40,000 is whilst the business man is
brandishing it in front of Marion. This emphasizes the importance that the
money is going to have on this scene. It is significant that when Marion is at
work, whilst playing the reliable secretary role, she is wearing a white
outfit. On the other hand, in the scene where she is packing her things to
leave town and insert shots of the envelope of money are shown, she is wearing
black underwear. This reveals her darker, more dishonest side. Mirrors and
reflections in windows are a device that Hitchcock uses to symbolize split
manipulation of soundtrack constructs tension at many points. Hitchcock has used
this technique in the film in the shower scene. While Marion was in
the shower there was no music except for the sound of the water and
suddenly the music is loud, crashing and brings terror to the
audience as the murder occurs. This use of soundtrack makes the
audience comfortable at first and as soon as the loud music comes
in, it makes the audience suspicious which makes us jump but always
acts as if nothing is effecting us.
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Hitchcock uses the costumes to be
shocking and sometimes makes the characters scary. For example he
has used this technique for the policeman. The part of his costume
which showed up the most was his large black sunglass which makes him
look inhuman and also hides his eyes which means his reactions are slightly
unknown. This makes the audience nervous because we don’t know his
reactions to Marion’s expressions. So we think that the policeman
is ready to catch Marion with the stolen money or he’s going to
just leave without questioning her too much. Hitchcock uses
many different devices to create tension and suspense, for example camera angle,
lighting, music and red herrings all of these components make up
psycho, without them the film just wouldn’t be as good or effected. Another technique that Hitchcock uses is ‘identification with
the character’ (spectator with protagonist). The audiences view the murders
through the eyes of the murderer. This forces us to identify with the murderer. He portrays women as weak or vulnerable. Marion
was the main victim of the film, because she stole the $40,000 from her
employer and ran away with it.
It also shows us that the men are the strong ones who instigate
violence against the passive ones, Norman Bates who murdered Marion in the
shower scene and Sam being required to save Lila who could not save herself. The ‘subject suspense’, which Hitchcock creates, draws the
audience into the film. This occurs from the onset when Marion is murdered.
Marion is the main character in the film, and following her death we want to know
who killed her. Hitchcock is very skillful in ‘misguiding the
viewer’. The spectator doesn’t know that Norman has a multiple personality.
Throughout the whole movie the spectator thinks that Norman’s mother did the
murders, and also that there are two characters in the house, Norman and his
mother. When the villain is going to strike the hero or the heroine don’t know
the villain is there, so the “all knowing audience” want to warn the hero and
heroine. When in the film Lila goes into the house to search for the mother,
and the audience knows she’ll get murdered, so wish to warn her. Hitchcock
often uses ‘explicit titles’ such as Notorious, Vertigo and Frenzy. In this
case the audience is lead to look for a psycho in every character. Throughout
the whole film the audience think that Norman’s mother is the ‘Psycho’, because
every single person who comes to Bates Motel, the mother kills.
‘Voice over’ occurs when the audience knows what the character is
thinking. An example is when Marion is in the car, and thinks about the money
and her disappearing. In my opinion, the film
‘Psycho’ is a
very significant film in the history of filmmaking. ‘Psycho’ will leave you terrified,
scared, mouth open, eyes fixed and speechless. Perhaps I am exaggerating, but
that is how many others and I felt when we saw the movie. This movie can be psychoanalyzed
and explained and still will be perceived as complex. However this does not
detract from the sheer success of the film. This movie is pure entertainment.
It is very enjoyable, and if you are of the age 15 and up, you would enjoy the
film to the fullest.