In horror films, there is always one scene that opens up the perceived
realm of normality to that of fear and confusion. Directors and
authors alike use these scenes to show the change in the pace of the
film. In both the movie Psycho (1960) and Carrie (1976), shower scenes
are used to mark this epic turning point with sexuality, blood and
voyeurism; the most important ingredients to horror.
The idea of sneaking around and peering into forbidden places gives
just about everyone a thrill. Voyeurism is used strongly in both
Psycho and Carrie due to its ability to entice thrill in the viewer.
In Carrie, we start the scene by looking into a girls' high school
locker room; scantily clad or naked girls moving in slow-motion in
front of the camera give the thrill of both trespassing and the chance
of being caught. The camera gradually slides across the locker room
floor, slowly so as to allow us to look at the changing girls. We stop
at the last row and are slowly walked into the steamy row of showers
where we find a naked Carrie White (Sissy Spacek). In Psycho, after
Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) leaves Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) to
her room, he goes back to his office for a reason we're not quite
clear about yet. He hesitates at the wall between his office and
Marion's room, glancing around for anyone who might be watching him.
The room's under-lighting gives both Norman and the stuffed birds
around him an evil and devious look. Finally he looks at the wall and
removes a painting, a painting depicting the Rape of Lucretia, and
peephole into Marion's hotel room. He puts his ey...
... middle of paper ...
...th movies symbolizes a turning point in the movie, a point where
what we thought we knew is no longer relevant.
It is the combination of blood, voyeurism, and sexuality that marks
the scene which is the turning point in both Carrie and Psycho. The
thrill of spying, the peaceful passion of sexuality, and the shock of
blood all combine to form the prefect recipe for a climactic horror
scene as well as a great horror movie. Without these factors, horror
movies would not be what they are today; they would just be simple
murder mysteries. It is the idea of the unknown and the idea that we,
as the audience, are also vulnerable to whatever malice is occurring
onscreen that gives horror films the ability to scare, the ability to
make you shudder, and the ability to make that sense of security you
feel around you disappear.
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