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With close reference to the setting of 'Psycho' and 'Edward Scissor hands' discuss how the directors use elements of the Gothic tradition.

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Introduction

ENGLISH COURSEWORK SOPHIE HARTFIELD 10SJR ROSEBERY SCHOOL With close reference to the setting of 'Psycho' and 'Edward Scissor hands' discuss how the directors use elements of the Gothic tradition. The gothic tradition is rooted in many great works of fiction such as, 'Wuthering Heights' and 'Dracula'. It comprises many distinct features including Gothic architecture, lighting and the colour black. Setting is a very important aspect of the gothic tradition. In the two film texts studied 'Psycho' and 'Edward Scissor hands', the directors have used the gothic tradition to create interesting effects. To define the word gothic when being used in the form of a novel, one can say that it contains supernatural or horrifying events. Alfred Hitchcock the director of 'Psycho', uses many effective camera shots throughout the film to add depth and tension to the atmosphere of the scene that the viewer can easily relate to. For example when Marion the leading female role is traveling on the highway in her car towards the 'Bate's Motel', prior to her arrival the scene shows a very open and light space around her. There is lots of other traffic on the same stretch of road and gives a presence of safety in numbers to the viewer. As the sunset starts to emerge the lighting dims and Hitchcock uses a medium close-up shot of Marion in the car, the focal point being her face that is the only luminous thing that can be seen. ...read more.

Middle

To emphasize the charactors of the two people Hitchcock has placed the light beside Marion so that when the camera shoots at her, her face is lit up and when it focuses on him he is in shadow and in a darkened corner away from the light. Just before he commits the murder Hitchcock takes another shot of the house on the mount using the same low angle camera technique that gives the impression of power. The two lights that were bright upstairs have now been turned down to a minimal level of lighting and dark black clouds have congregated in the background which gives a far more atmospheric feeling to the surroundings of the Motel. Hitchcock chose to make all the bathroom facilities and decoration brilliant white so there would be a bigger more lucive contrast with the blood red when Marion was stabbed to death. When she is in the shower Hitchcock always uses a medium close-up, high angle shot to show that Marion is vulnerable, small and weak. However when the camera is on Bates it looks up to him like the house and so gives him a sense of superiority as well. 'Edward Scissor hands' the other film studied, also showed Gothic elements that had been used to create a successful effect by the Director, James Burton. ...read more.

Conclusion

Towards the end of the film the witch hunt gathers for Edward, tension builds up and the sky turns black, which is a key factor that Burton has finally used to create a sinister, Gothic atmosphere. The mansion garden, shown throughout the film to be a colourful, wonderful place, is plunged in to a deep darkness. The flowers black, the animal carved bushes threatening, and a garden that now matches the interior, of the Gothic mansion upon a hill. In these films one can conclude that both directors have tried to incorporate influences and elements of the Gothic Tradition in to the desolate and sometimes bleak film settings. In particular, the attic of the large house in which Edward Scissor hands lives and the large dark remote house where Norman Bates live, both have a strong correlation with Gothic Traditional architectural style. This is often characterized by dark 12th - 16th Century castle type structures with vaulted ceilings and pointed arches. Also they have used many symbolic objects within the sets that portray themes dealing with macabre and other events typical of the genre. The lead characters in both films are to a large extent depicted as social outcasts, displaying severe psychopathic tendencies thus further reinforcing the Gothic impression created by the film sets. From studying the films I feel that they both successfully display the Gothic Tradition and the settings and other background props greatly contribute to achieve this distinctive theme. ...read more.

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