The Cutting Edge Film Programme


Figure 1 Psycho is an American horror film made in 1960 based on the novel of the same name and was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The story follows a young woman who steals money from her employer, she seeks to get out of town however due to the weather conditions while travelling, and she is forced to stay at the secluded motel one evening. She is met by who we assume is an innocent young man who is the owner of the Bates Motel, however that same evening she is murdered. Psycho was one of the first films to include a psychoanalytical genre which makes the storyline very effective and rich.

Figure 2

The Cutting Edge Film Programme

The shower scene is one of the most famous scenes in the history cinema, where it despicts the character of Marion getting stabbed to death by Norman Bates ‘mother’. ‘Hitchcock created a brilliant illusion of gore, violence and nudity – while actually showing very little.’ (Hodgkinson, 2010) The scene lasts for 3 minutes however it includes 50 different shots. It includes close ups and medium shots allowing the viewer to feel the intensity of the scene which makes us feel the claustrophobic atmosphere she’s in, to which it almost makes us think that we are Marion trapped in the shower. The scene was one of the first films to include, sex and violence which are both in some way conjoined within the shower scene, It had broken the grounds of cinema in America at the time. ‘Even the toilet down which Marion attempts to flush her scribbled calculations – but which still preserves the evidence of her hurried purgings after she herself is long gone – was an amenity till then rarely seen and never heard in America cinema. The floodgates were now open, and to watch Psycho was to be forever changed – and, as with sex, the first time was fundamental’ (Bitel, 2012)

Figure 3 One of the most interesting aspects of the film is the sympathy we feel towards the storyline and the characters. Our eyes are focused upon Marion who we feel sympathy towards as she tries to run away, we want her to lose the police’s watch on her even though she had committed a crime. The scene were Norman Bates attempts to bury her body and the evidence of her existence depicts a moment where his plan of hiding Marion had almost failed, The camera angle of Marion’s Car holds for a while before sinking in completely keeping the audience in suspense. Alfred Hitchcock creates and uses anticipation to make the audience feel sympathy towards Norman Bates and that they want her body to be hidden. ‘Hitchcock deliberately manipulates the viewers’ sympathies. There are numerous red herrings: the initial tryst, the stolen money, the traffic cop. But, after the first half-hour, the heroine is butchered in the infamous shower scene, one of cinema’s most memorable moments. Audience identification then shifts towards pathetic, bird-like Norman (a remarkable, brilliant performance from Perkins) as he tries to clean up “mother’s handiwork”. (Total Film, 2010)

The Cutting Edge Film Programme

   Figure 1 - Figure 2 – Figure 3 –

 (Hodgkinson, 2010) Bitel (2012) Total Film (2010)

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