The Film Psycho

The Film Psycho

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The Film Psycho
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The film "Psycho" would have shocked the audience, when the film was
released in 1960. The things in it that would have shocked the
audience are the nudity shown on screen, the amount of money involved
and Norman Bates being the villain.

The nudity shown on screen would have shocked the audience because
normally at the time the viewers wouldn't see this much nudity. At the
beginning Marion is sleeping with Sam to whom she isn't married to and
normally in 1960 it would be wrong for a woman to sleep with a man who
she's not married to. Also in the shower scene Hitchcock shows most of
Marion's body, which was also unusual at the time.

The amount of money involved in "Psycho" would have shocked the
audience because forty thousand dollars was a lot of money in 1960 and
it was unusual to see this amount of cash on screen.

Norman Bates would have shocked the audience in 1960 because he is the
villain and his usual role is being the hero in a film. He was also
considered to be a heartthrob at the time.

The reason why Hitchcock uses a high angle shot is to make someone
look small and vulnerable and to show the person is going to be
attacked. This shot was used in "Psycho" when Marion is about to be
attacked in the shower.

The reason why the director uses a low angle shot is to make someone

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look big or strong and the person who is talking to him look small or

The reason why Hitchcock uses a very long shot is to show the person
very briefly and not letting the audience look properly, normally a
very long shot is shown very quickly to the viewers so they cant make
up who it is. It is shown in "Psycho" when Norman Bates is in disguise
as his mum and Hitchcock doesn't want the viewers to find out its
Norman, so he only shows a silhouette.

The shower scene was very original in its use of camera shots. For
example, the audience can see a close up the showerhead at the
beginning of the shower scene. Alfred Hitchcock uses this to show that
Marion is having a shower, and also that she is naked and therefore
really vulnerable. A bathroom is supposed to be a place of privacy,
but the viewers are spying on her as Bates is.

The viewers see a high angle shot of Marion, when she is having a
shower; Hitchcock uses this to make Marion look inferior. Also he uses
this to show the audience that Marion is about to be attacked by
Norman Bates.

We an extreme close up of Marion's mouth while she is screaming.
Hitchcock uses this to show that she is really terrified and is about
to be attacked. Also to make the audience want to help her or do
something about it.

We get an over the shoulder shot when Marion is looking away from the
killer and gripping on to the tiles on the other side of the shower.
Hitchcock has used this to show the scene from the killer's point of

In the shower scene it is also interesting to note that Hitchcock
links it to the scene before. At the ending of that scene, Norman
Bates is sitting at a table playing with a teapot, making a clinking
sound. He is deep in thought. Marion is also at a desk, she is also in
a similar state, and there is a noise similar to the one of the teapot
when she dips her pen in to the inkpot. Hitchcock uses this to show
that the two people are going to be linked the next scene.

Hitchcock also uses music effectively, for example when Marion is
sitting at the desk, there the kind of music to create tension among
the audience. Also when she has just got in the shower, there is no
music; this is to show that something bad is about to happen. While
she is being stabbed there is lots of screechy and jumpy music to show
that there is lots of action going on. Each time the violins screech,
Hitchcock makes it fit in with the stabbing motion. In the parts of
the scene where there is no music. It is supposed to let the part of
the scene about to happen, what is happening or which has happened
sink into the audience.

Hitchcock also shows the audience two close up shots, which prove to
be vital clues for Leila and Sam. The first of them is of the paper
that Marion throws into the toilet. The second is of the shower
curtain ripping from the shower rail as Marion holds on to it to
stabilise herself. The director uses these to show the audience that
they are something important and for them to keep it in mind so they
can later linkup the two scenes.

Hitchcock uses lots of different angles during the stabbing to make it
look like Norman is really stabbing Marion. It also makes the audience
unsure of what they have or not seen in the scene. As Marion enters
the shower, she is naked, so the atmosphere created is one of real
vulnerability, and we sense she is about to be attacked.

Hitchcock uses two extreme close ups near the end of the scene, one of
them is of the plug hole which shows water and blood going down it.
Hitchcock uses this to suggest that Marion's life is being wiped away,
as is the evidence. After he shows the plughole, it merges into
Marion's eye. The eye suggests to the audience that she is watching
them and also to make audience feel guilty about what has happened.

Also in the shower scene suspense of the identity of the murderer is
built up. Hitchcock does this by putting woman's clothes on the woman
to make it look like a woman. Also the director shows the figure of
the murderer, but does not show the face, it is blanked out and is in
shadow. Hitchcock also uses camera angles such as a behind the
shoulder shot so the audience can't see the face of the murderer.

At the end of the scene, Hitchcock shows a panning shot. It begins
from the eye, and then goes to the money, then finally the house. The
eye is shown to tell the audience that she has died, Also the money is
shown to tell the viewers that the money is still there, and Norman
didn't kill her for this. At the end is the house to suggest that
Normans mother killed Marian.

At the end of the panning shot, Hitchcock shows the house in which
Norman lives. While the picture of the house is there, the audience
hear Norman saying, 'blood' and 'mother' to make the viewers convinced
that Normans mother has killed Marion.

In the shower scene a zoom is used. As the camera zooms out from
Marion's eye we know that she has died as she isn't blinking. It is
also used to give time for this sink in for the audience. Also in the
shower scene, a zoom in effect is used. An example of this is when the
attacker comes into the bathroom. We can see him briefly through the
shower curtain. As he comes closer, the camera zooms into him.
Hitchcock shows this to the audience to let them know that someone
else has entered the bathroom. Also Hitchcock teases them by not
letting the audience see the killers face.

Hitchcock has missed out some things in the shower scene, which could
have been included. The first thing is the sexual parts; they weren't
shown because even the amount shown was unusual. The second thing we
don't see is the knife actually piercing the skin, because at the
time, this wasn't allowed by the filmboard. The third is thing that
wasn't shown is the face of the murderer. Hitchcock has clearly left
it out because it would reveal their identity and therefore spoil the

The way that the shower scene was put together reflects historical
changes that were taking place in 1959-1960. The shower scene was
rebellious and controversial because of its content, and this
reflected the era of the 60's. This is shown when the viewers are able
to see the knife piercing Marion's skin, this was illegal in 1960, and
this is what made it controversial.

The shower scene reflects society becoming more open about sexuality.
Hitchcock touched on this in 'Psycho'. When Marion is in the shower.
He shows parts of her body, for example the top part of her chest, and
most of her legs, for relatively long periods of time (four to five

Women's rights were being discussed at the time and the shower scene
is anti this. For instance this is shown when there is a high angle
shot of Marion in the shower. This makes her look very vulnerable.
Also when she is screaming there is a close up of her mouth. This
makes the audience think that she has no power. This emphasises that
she is really frightened.

The audience were able to be more voyeuristic, this is because of the
latest technology which Hitchcock took maximum advantage of in the
shower scene. For example, when Norman Bates is murdering Marion, the
audience are spying on them, and will feel guilty and powerless
because they can't do anything to stop it.

In 1960 the murderer in a horror film was usually a monster of some
sort, but in the shower scene it was a human, reflecting how society
had also began to change its view of the murderer. Shots in the shower
scene clearly respond to this, for example when the audience see the
silhouette of the face of the serial killer, it is clearly a humans

The society was thriving and secure so the audience were able to cope
with horrific scenes. This is demonstrated in the shower scene when
shots of the knife and the killing-taking place are shown on screen.
Before 1960, this wouldn't have been shown on screen.

The film 'Psycho' is still of great contemporary relevance, and has
influenced many subsequent films. Before 1960 in a horror film the
killer was normally a monster, and the weapon used was usually a gun.
However in 'Psycho' the serial killer is a human who uses a knife to
kill his victims. This has influenced films such as 'Scream' (1996)
because the killer also uses a knife. Also in 'Scream' the killer
wears a mask, reflecting 'Psycho', where the killers face is blanked
out to hide their identity.

In 'Psycho', Marion, who is an independent woman, is unexpectedly
killed only forty-five minutes into the film. Both these features were
unusual in films prior to 'Psycho', and it has influenced films such
as 'Set It Off' (19 ), where a woman kills a man, which tells the
viewers that a woman is more powerful then a man. This is linked to
'Psycho' as Marion is a self-dependant woman. Also in 'Scream' the
lead woman is killed early, this is also linked to 'Psycho'.

In the years before 'Psycho', nudity and violence were rarely
combined. Some films before it had either one or the other. This has
influenced lots of films, for instance, 'Scream 3' (199 ), where a
woman is in the shower near to the time of her murder. Also in
'Halloween' (1987), a man naked in the shower is stabbed.

In films before 'Psycho', normally when the murder was committed, the
screen would go black, and the audience wouldn't hear anything, where
as in 'Psycho' they are able to see the figure of the murderer as the
murder happens, and they are also able to hear screeching sounds to
fit in with the stabbing action. The contemporary films that are
related to 'Psycho' because of this include 'Scream', 'Scream 2' (199
), 'Scream 3', 'Scary movie' (199 ), 'Scary movie 2' ( ), because the
audience see and hear the murder taking place.

In films that came out before 'Psycho', after the murder had taken
place, the director wouldn't show what happened to the body, but in
'Psycho', Hitchcock shows Norman Bates rap the body up in a shower
curtain and clean up the blood after it. This has influenced many
films, for example 'Jeepers Creepers' ( ) , in which, the killer also
raps the bodies in a plastic bag.
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