Psycho Paper

1379 words - 6 pages

Alfred Hitchcock is widely considered to be the master of horror and suspense. With movies like Vertigo and The Birds in his arsenal, it is easy to see why he carries such a title. While Vertigo is considered to be one of the greatest movies ever made, his 1960 film Psycho is considered to be one of the most suspenseful movies in history. It is difficult to determine if Hitchcock would be known as the master of horror if it weren’t for his cinematography and the way he understood how to stylize moments.

Psycho is known for one of the most horrifying scenes in movie history, the shower scene. This scene is so carefully laid out and bone-chilling for its time that it has withstood the test ...view middle of the document...

As Marion is being stabbed, Hitchcock uses close-ups of her face and legs mostly to hide the penetration of the knife, but it doesn’t take anything away from the scene. A close up of her legs and feet are shown turning around to face the wall of the shower and then the camera pans to the killer’s back that is already on their way out of the room. As the killer exits the room, the audience sees a robe and long hair leading us to believe that it is Mrs. Bates. A close up of her hand is shown from a high angle holding onto the wall and slowly falling as if to show the life leaving her body. Hitchcock uses mise-en-scene here as he makes Marion’s hand form a claw like a bird as she clutches for her life. Norman talks to her earlier in the film about birds and now she has a bird claw. She turns around and faces the audience and reveals her eyes, which play an important part of the movie. The shower remains running as she slides down the wall of the shower with her back and she never looks at the camera.

The editing for the scene may be the most important part. Hitchcock set the scene up in a way that allowed the audience to know what was happening at all times from different points of view. There were short cuts from Marion’s point of view followed by the point of view of the killer to confuse the audience and make them feel like they were in the room with Marion. Hitchcock does a great job making the audience believe she is being stabbed without ever showing her being cut.

As she sits on the floor of the tub, the audience sees her taking her last big gasps of air. She reaches out towards the audience with an open hand and it seems like she is begging for help. There is another close up of her hand gripping the shower curtain as sort of a death grip. A close up of the shower curtain being ripped one by one from the hooks as she falls over the tub is the next thing shown. This is followed by a close up of the showerhead, which is the only sound the audience can hear, and then a close up of the water and blood flowing from her feet down the drain. An extreme close up of the drain is shown with water and blood spiraling down just like the life of Marion Crane. The image of the drain fades into an image of Marion’s eye, which zooms out to show her dead body once more.

After that scene, the camera pans over to the newspaper sitting on the nightstand and out the window at the Bates home. It is covered in an eerie darkness with only one light on in the house, his mother’s room. The audience hears Norman talking to his mother with disgust and then running out of the house and...

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