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Psycho film review

Psycho film review

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Psycho film review
Psycho film review

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Published by: petagaye1 on Jan 23, 2013
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Psycho

Psycho directed by Alfred Hitchcock is another film that showcases Hitchcock’s ability to use tension effectively to create an evocative mood of fear. For budget reasons it was filmed in black and white although at the time colour was available. The soundscape in the movie pushed it a long, the screechy music added to the tension in the film and allowed things that were ordinary like walking to have added tension.

Figure 1. Psycho poster. (1960) Hitchcock’s eye for luring the audience with his depiction of interesting characters is captured in many of his films. Figure 1 is a Poster for Psycho it depicts the main characters, with the lead character Marion Crane in colour with red lipstick and really bright blonde hair. To the other far left is Norman Bates with a distressed expression, and in the middle without the purple background are Marion’s sister and Marion’s lover. The word Psycho is written in red with a slash going through it. The poster highlights the important factors in the movie, a beautiful women seductive without trying to be is on the right(Marion Crane) the red lipstick is evocative of sexual connotations and the fact that she’s only in her underwear is very seductive. The image of Marion is heightened sexually as if we are seeing her through the eyes of Norman Bates, she appears to be an idea of beauty and sexuality because her appearance, like her hair and lips seem to be the main focus. The poster appears to have the killer in mind in a very subtle way, the reasons for his killings being that he’s ashamed to have feelings for women. The art direction that took place in the way the film was produced although on a low budget doesn’t seem to reduce the fear in the film. He created tension through his clever camera angles and his ability to show us the scary things that

are about to happen like in the shower scene. We see the murderer behind the shower curtain and the anticipation and suspense that builds up in the viewer is due to the fact that we can see what’s about to happen. Some film critics however from the Observer thought differently of the direction that Hitchcock took on the film, “ The stupid air and portent surrounding Psycho’s presentation strikes me as a tremendous error” (Observer , 1960) What the critic from the Observer appears to be saying is that the tension created wasn’t effective. Maybe the critic didn’t want to see Norman through the shower curtains but to just see the stabbing and the violence without the added suspense. This notion however takes away from the film and the suspense that Hitchcock is known for. Hitchcock’s use of tension is very effective and makes the viewer jump and feel startled through the fact that he decides to show us the danger that is about to occur.

Figure 2. Shower Scene. (1960) The shower scene in Psycho is very iconic and that is because what is shown to the viewer. Figure 2 shows the shower sequence in its storyboard format using the stills from the movie. Although we never see the knife enter Marion the essence of violence is penetrated through the screen. The sequence uses many interesting angles of her taking a shower and the screechy music is foreboding of the murder about to happen. This sequence is very effective in making the viewer feel afraid and you can see the many camera angles uses in this sequence to make it dynamic. The use of black and white instead of colour doesn’t limit the film. Mark Kermode film critic for the guardian explains that, Hitchcock was, “ shooting in black-and-white to give the production a verite news-footage feel. Many viewer’s still insist that the blood running down the plughole after Marion’s murder is bright red” ( Kermode,2010) Kermode appears to be saying that because the

murder was so horrific the aftermath of the blood appeared to be a vivid red because our imaginations allowed us to see it that way even though the blood was probably a dark grey. This view allows this film to not be restricted in its lack of using colour, because the story line didn’t need it. Hitchcock painted the pictured so clearly that our imaginations filled in the blanks. The storyline kept was unexpected and the hidden twist at the end allowed the viewers to stay on their toes. The movie critic for the Top all time 100 James Berardinelli explains that Psycho’s use of the unexpected keeps the movie interesting, “Hitchcock and Stefano have developed the movie in such a way that it consistently flouts expectations.”(Berardinelli, 1998) Berardinelli gives the impression that the twist at the end was something that no one was looking for and that unexpected end gives the film an interesting feel that makes it rewatchable.

Bibliography Observer , (1960). Psycho: Archive review. At: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/oct/22/psycho-hitchcock-archivereview-horror (Accessed on 22. 01.2013) Kermode, M. (2010). Psycho: the best horror film of all time. At: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/oct/22/psycho-horror-hitchcock (Accessed on 22. 01.2013) Berardinelli, J. (1998). Psycho (1960). At: http://www.reelviews.net/movies/p/psycho.html (Accessed on 23. 01.2013)

Illustration list Figure 1. Psycho poster . (1960). At: http://mos.totalfilm.com/images/7/7amazing-vintage-posters-for-sale-00-420-75.jpg (Accessed on 22. 01.2013) Figure 2. Shower Scene. (1960). From: Psycho. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. [Film Still]. At: http://cinephilefix.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/hitch1.jpg (Accessed on 22. 01.2013)

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