Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho has been described as the most astounding, audacious and successful horror film ever made. And its director Alfred Hitchcock has been called the master of suspense. In this essay I will talk about Alfred Hitchcock and how he employed so many different motifs and exiting new techniques into his masterpiece Psycho.
Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born on the Thirteenth of August in Eighteen Ninety Nine in Leytonstone, London, England. His family was mostly Roman Catholic, with his mother and grandmother being from an Irish background. Hitchcock was forced to attend Jesuit Classic School St Ignatius College in London. He often described his childhood as being a very lonely and sheltered one because of his obesity. Hitchcock’s mother would often make him address her while standing at the end of her bed, especially if he behaved in a bad manor. She would force him to stand there for hours on end sometimes for nothing. He used these experiences to portray Norman Bates in this movie. After a successful career in England in silent films and early talk films, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood. In Nineteen Fifty Six he became an American citizen. Hitchcock directed more than fifty feature films in a career across six decades. He is often regarded as the greatest British filmmaker of all time. Hitchcock did far more than any director to shape modern cinema which would be entirely different without his post modernistic ways. His talent was for narrative structure he meanly held crucial information from his characters and from us. Therefore engaging the emotions of the audience like no other director had done before him.
... the horror film as did PSYCHO. More surprising is the fact that this still unnerving horror classic was directed by Alfred Hitchcock, a ... atypical finish for a film by a director who always avoided surprise endings) backfired somewhat when Hitchcock was deluged with wires and ... got away with it, simply because he was Hitchcock. The great director clouded his intent and motives by reportedly stating ...
Psycho is set in 1960 America. The story begins when a woman called Marion Crane who is in need of money to marry her boy friend. She steals forty thousand dollars and flees to Phoenix Arizona by car. When a heavy storm strikes she decides to spend the night In the Bates Motel. The motel is run by a strange calculated man called Norman Bates. Marion checks in to the motel using fake details. When Marion tells Norman she is going to get something to eat, Norman invites her to eat with him in his office. When Norman goes up to his house to get the food Marion over hears Norman and his mother arguing. Whilst having tea Marion asks why he institutionalises his mother, which seems to offend Norman. When Marion heads back to her room to take a shower Norman kills her in the shower. Norman puts her body in the boot of her own car and drives it into the nearby swamp, not knowing that Marion even had forty thousand dollars hidden away. When Marion’s family start worrying about where she is they get a private detective, called Milton Arbogast to search for her. When the detective asks to search Norman’s house he will not let him in and tells the detective he needs a warrant. The detective sneaks in to the house when he thinks Norman’s not there but Norman finds him and kills him as well.
When Marion’s sister Lila Crane and Marion’s boyfriend Sam Loomis get no contact from Arbogast they decide to go and search the house for themselves. Posing as a married couple, Sam and Lila check into the motel and search Marion’s room, where they find a scrap of paper stuck in the toilet with forty thousand dollars written on it. Whilst Sam distracts Norman Lila sneaks into the house. Sam suggests to Norman that he killed Marion for the money so he could buy a new motel. Realizing Lila is not around Norman knocks Sam unconscious and rushes to the house. Lila sees him approaching and hides in the cellar where she discovers the half preserved and mummified body of Norman’s mother who had been dead for many years. Wearing his mother’s clothes a wig and carrying a knife Norman enters and tries to kill Lila. But she is rescued by Sam at the last second.
... corner Mrs. Bates. Sam detains Norman in the office while Lila searches the house. Once inside the ... snobbishly rich. Cassidy flaunts his money in Marion's face. He talks of his eighteen-year-old daughter ... receives of the characters change throughout the movie by the different conflicts that arise. These ... head revealing Norman. The audience is in disbelief at this point. The next scene takes place ...
I’m going to start by saying the plot of Psycho is quite unusual because one of the protagonists ‘Marion Crane’ gets killed very early in the movie. This very rarely occurs in horror movies because most horror movies try to build up the suspense until near the end of the movie where the major part of the movie normally takes place. What Hitchcock has done is that he’s really thought outside the box, he’s used a very unique technique that directors very rarely use. Hitchcock has done this to use the other characters to build up more suspense and to make the movie very unpredictable. It really makes the audience want to know what happens to the other characters and what happens to Norman in end. It builds up the excitement more than in other movies. This technique helped involve the audience and their emotions in the film more.
The Filming of this movie was very different to the movies of that era. Hitchcock filmed most the movie with fifty millimetre lenses on thirty five millimetre cameras. This trick closely mimicked usual human vision, which helped to further absorb the audience in the film. The films shower scene was filmed in a way that makes the sequence feel longer, more subjective, more uncontrolled, and more violent. Most of the shots are extreme close ups, except for medium shots in the shower directly before and directly after the murder. Hitchcock used seventy different camera angles mixed with quick cuts to highlight the brutality of the act, but the knife is never seen piercing the victim. This technique made this scene one of the most famous and well known scenes in film today. Hitchcock was a perfectionist and took a lot of retakes on many of the movies scenes, such as the final shot in the shower scene which starts with an extreme close up on Marion’s eye and then pulls up and out. This scene proved very difficult for Leigh. The water splashing in her face made her want to blink and the cameraman had trouble as well. He had to manually focus while moving the camera which is a very difficult skill to master. Retakes also took place for the opening scene. Hitchcock felt that Janet Leigh ‘Marion Crane’ and John Gavin ‘Sam Loomis’ were not passionate enough. This shows that Hitchcock really wanted this film to be a master piece every thing needed to be perfect. The way the movie was filmed changed the filming of movies forever Hitchcock was just that good.
The Sixth Sense By: Daniel Empringham In M. Night Shamalyan The Sixth Sense is a thrilling and provocative movie from beginning to end, and that's all thanks to the many Hitchcock references in the movie. This movie contains numerous similarities to such classics as Psycho, Rear Window and North by Northeast. The main points in The Sixth Sense that show these the most are the format of the film, ...
The motifs Hitchcock used in Psycho made the film very different from others because they were so well used. For example the film often features shadows. The shadows are there from the very first scene where the blinds make bar shapes on Marion and Sam as they stare out the window. The stuffed bird’s shadows emerge over Marion as she eats. Plus Norman’s mother is only seen as shadows until the very end of the movie. Another motif used a lot in the movie is mirrors. You can see Marion’s reflection in a mirror as she packs and her eyes when she checks wing mirror in her car. You can also see her face in the policeman’s sunglasses. But maybe the most outstanding motifs that Hitchcock used were the references to birds. Marion’s last name is Crane and she is from Phoenix witch are both names of birds, plus Norman’s hobby is stuffing birds. And when he is having tea with Marion, he comments that Marion eats like a bird. Hitchcock used these motifs in a subtle way. But the bird motif stood out the most throughout the movie. But you still noticed what impact they all made on Psycho.
One of Hitchcock’s many great ideas was the concept of voyeurism which he used in many of his movies. Norman Bates is the voyeur in the movie, he is always watching Marion right up to the point that he kills her. Also the theme and concept of voyeurism is shown by all the stuffed birds that Norman possesses. Hitchcock also used the concept of voyeurism in another film that we watched called Rear Window. But in Rear Window Hitchcock used voyeurism throughout the whole movie unlike Psycho where it was used is a subtle but disturbing way. Even in the opening scene where the camera zooms in to see Marion and Sam in their room the view of them is through a peek hole in the wall.
I think the way Hitchcock uses voyeurism in Psycho, helps to build up the disturbing nature of a mentally ill Norman Bates.
The music used throughout the movie was usually up tempo and played by classical instruments usually string instruments. The shower scene is a great example of the music used in Psycho because the music is so sudden and sharp in how the murder happens. There is no music playing until Norman pulls the curtains open and starts stabbing Marion. The music is fast and assertive in the way it is played, building up the shock and panic in the scene. The Psycho sound track is one of the most famous pieces of music in film history because of the up tempo and the way it’s played in. But the main reason for the music being the way it turned out was the budget Psycho was on. Hitchcock could not afford to spend loads of money on hi tech musical equipment so he had to come up with another idea, witch was to use string instruments.
The Birds The Birds, the movie was directed by Alfred Hitchcock and was based on the short story "The Birds" written by Daphne du Merrier. If you would have read the book and then watched the movie, you would see that very few things are the same. In both the short story and the movie flocks of gulls, robins, crows, and sparrows join each other. This is really weird because different species of ...
The impact Psycho had on screen made it what it is today because of the postmodernism of the movie. I can describe post modernistic film as a film that destroys suspension of belief or at least toys with it, in order to free the audience’s appreciation of the film and make them understand the film in a new and exiting way. The cornerstones of predictable narrative structure and characterisation are altered in order to create a movie that is completely original, which Hitchcock did by using all the unique reasons I have discussed in this essay.