In 1960 Alfred Hitchcock created a film so daring and different it is still remembered even today
Other famous films of the time being «My Fair Lady» and «The Sound Of Music», although popular these films were idealistic and picturesque. Psycho brought in the first clips of violence and nudity into cinematography. To compare Alfred Hitchcock's version of psycho to Gus Van Sant's version in 1998 is beyond doubt a problematic deed when the original was such a masterpiece.
Since psycho was released in 1960, thrillers similar to it, such as 'Silence of The Lambs', and 'American Psycho' have advanced dramatically in technology, however, they have still followed the trend set by Psycho.
When the opening credits begin, the audience is instantly seized by a strong sense of mystery and a chilling atmosphere. The music brings a sense of urgency to the credits. The atonal and screeching violins set a menacing repetitive tune, which replays throughout the film.
With most films of that era, and even with films today, along with the credits pictures are shown which begin to tell the story behind the film. Hitchcock however, uses a new and
creative tactic, the opening credits begin with a black screen, which Hitchcock uses to symbolise evil and mystery. Furthermore, grey and white lines strike across the screen this is used to symbolise the schizophrenic personality of Norman, and also a criminal mind. The striking lines are representative of the plot, as they are like the slicing knife shown in the famous shower scene and the murder of the private detective.
The credits in both the 1960 version and the 1998 version follow an identical pattern with lines cutting across the screen and the same accompanying music. The only differences between the two versions is the obvious difference in cast but more significantly the colour of the lines which are no longer grey and white, instead a solid green. In my opinion the green lines do not have the same visual impact upon the audience, the black and white effect in the original version give a far greater sense of mystery and atmosphere to the film.
Hitchcock further gave the film a sense of drama and mystery, by insisting that the audience must watch the film from the very beginning. The cinemas were issued with a statement from Hitchcock, ordering them not to let any one in after the film had started; as was usually the case, and posters advertising the film warned audiences that they most watch the film from the start and that they would not be allowed in once the film had begun. This dramatic effect was abandoned on the later version and consequently the film lost its initial impact on the audience. Another reason that affected the later versions impact as a horror film, was the fact that audience expectations of what was a 'scary' film had risen dramatically since the 1960's, and Psycho had been replaced by much more frightening films that had the benefit of high tech editing and special effects.
One of the most dramatic scenes of psycho is when Marion first meets Norman. This is set on an evening of heavy rain. As Marion sees the hotel she goes out to the office to see if anyone is in when realising no one is there she returns to her car and sees a shadow in the window of Normans house, and so she beeps her car horn, Norman appears from the house, come down to the office. He hesitates when giving her a room despite all the rooms being vacant he seems to take time in choosing one for her, this only is truly effective when seen the second time as the audience don't tend to notice this as being abnormal. The music is quiet throughout this scene though the as well as the rain symbolising a «cleansing of» or «to wash away something» and that whatever Norman had been previously doing may have been prejudicial.
When Norman offers her dinner she accepts as the nearest diner is over 10 mile away just outside Fairvale. When Norman goes off to prepare the dinner you hear for the first time Norman and his «mother» having a conversation, well in this case an argument about Marion significantly loud. Norman then brings some food down for her to eat. One unusual thing about this clip is where they are deciding to eat. Marion suggests the room, then Norman says «the office would be warmer» then when they are at the office desk, Norman says how nice the parlour is. This can be related to the proverb «Come in to my parlour said the spider to the fly.»
The most striking thing about the parlour is the amount of birds he has stuffed and mounted to the walls. Several of these birds are significant of the sinister atmosphere; the eagle - known to be a killer, the raven - which is often associated with death, and of course the owl - a bird of the night and darkness. The lighting is also carefully considered in this scene. Hitchcock places the lights to make it appear the birds are larger than they really are, as well as having extended shadows.
After some light conversation Marion starts asking Norman about his mother, and when she is told she is an invalid. Marion suggests whether it would be wise to put her in «some place», obviously meaning a care home. At this very point the entire tone of the conversation completely changes, Norman becomes stressed and very angry toward Marion. As the argument starts to die down Marion starts to apologise. I think this scene would have shocked audiences of the time, as thrillers were new then and had no idea what to expect. When Marion stands up to leave the conversation, the actress Janet Leigh is positioned perfectly, so the raven appeared to sit directly on her shoulder, symbolising death being close to her. After making an excuse to leave, Marion proceeds to her room.
This scene leads directly to probably the most famous scene in the history of the thriller/horror category. The «shower scene» is rated one of the scariest scenes in film history, it was also the first graphically violent and bloody murder, holding no boundaries. This scene could have made or broken Hitchcock as it so easily could have been rejected and classed as unnecessary. But this scene made Hitchcock one of the most celebrated directors of the 20th century, as both the film and himself are still well known today, 40 years later.
When Marion is in the shower, it is emphasised how white and clean the bathroom is, compared to any other clip or scene previewed throughout the film. It symbolises a purity and goodness within Marion and it is as if her sins, of taking
the money are forgiven. When she begins to wash herself, a lot of emphasis is based upon the shower head and running water flowing from it, as if something will appear from it, again the water symbolises a purity and goodness and washing away of sins. No music whatsoever is played in this part of the scene, only the noises from the shower and plughole can be heard. This again gives a greater effect to the build up of the murder. As she continues to wash, in the corner you see somebody enter the room, although Marion does not. Suddenly the shower curtain is drawn back and the silhouette of a woman, as it seems, baring a huge kitchen knife appears. Simultaneously the atonal violins kick in once again, screeching repetitively maximising the disturbing brutal and sinister atmosphere. The camera locks on to Marion's face as she screams and is mercilessly stabbed. Then, stumbling forward pulls the shower curtain and falls to the floor.
By now the music has calmed down and the camera is focused on Marion lying dead on the bathroom floor. For one moment the screen becomes black and all music stops, I believe this to be very effective. As the camera spirals out of her dilated pupils, all you can hear is the running water from the shower, again the camera keeps focusing upon the showerhead and plughole as the blood drains away, symbolising the fact that murder can be washed away physically but not mentally.
After hearing Norman shout «Blood mother, not blood!» .He rushes down from the house to Marion's cabin. He sees her lying dead on the floor. In shock he stands back against the wall, smashing the picture of a raven, this symbolises that death has arrived, a short but dignified time is spent on the picture, which has smashed into many pieces, all over the floor.
One disturbing effect used in the murder in the shower scene is the sound used to get the sound of the stabbing. It was produced by a specific melon, as it imitated the sound of human flesh being stabbed.
After Norman has cleared away the blood and all the evidence of Marion's stay there he dumps her possessions into the car and drives it into the swamp. In the 1960 version Norman looks shocked and appalled at this moment, however in the '98 version Norman is smiling and eating some chocolate. The original is more convincing as it still makes Norman look innocent, yet the '98 version does quite the opposite.
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English – The Three Faces Of Psycho THE THREE FACES OF PSYCHO Psycho has no doubt become one of the most beloved horror stories of all times. It is an undisputed classic. It spins a well-known tale of how the person living next door, in the next room, or down the road just might not be all they seem on the outside. Movies: A Thematic Analysis of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho has been commended for forming the Archetypical basis of all horror films that followed its 1960 release. The mass Appeal that Psycho has maintained for over three decades can undoubtedly be Attributed to its universality. In Psycho, Hitchcock allows the audience to Become a subjective character within the plot to enhance the Psycho Sample essay topic, essay writing: Psycho - 858 words
In about 2 or 3 pages discuss the significance of this piece of dialogue and tell how this scene encapsulates one of the pervading themes of the film. In Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock, the conversation between Marion and Norman has shown extreme importance to both the plot Spellbound By Alfred Hitchcock Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck star in this mystery/thriller that dabbles in psycho-analysis and the troubles of the mind. Constance Peterson is a renowned psycho-analyst, whose ability to analyze data is unquestionable, but who has no life outside of her work. This all changes the day the new Chief of Staff, Dr. Edwardes (Peck) arrives. Hitchcock, Sir Alfred Joseph Alfred was the third and youngest child in the family. He might have gone on to follow in his father's footsteps as a grocer or develop a career of less notoriety except, perhaps, for a chilling incident in his early youth. Alfred was just five years old the day he committed some misdeed that convinced