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Analyse the ways in which Alfred Hitchcock builds tension and fear in the shower scene in the film 'Psycho'.

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Introduction

Analyse the ways in which Alfred Hitchcock builds tension and fear in the shower scene in the film 'Psycho'. Alfred Hitchcock is known as the 'Master of Suspense' as he directed movies based on murder and mystery. Hitchcock's films are still considered masterpieces fourty years later. This is because he mainly concentrated on the actor's performances, camera techniques, music and sound effects to build up tension, suspense and fear. He also, often left his audience in suspense till the very end, by which time the viewers were sitting at the edge of their seats. The film 'Psycho' is about the murder of a young women called Marion Crane who is running away to her boyfriend's house, because she had stolen $40 000 from her employer. Marion Crane stops at the Bates Motel, which is isolated and within hours she is murdered. It is then left to her sister to investigate the disappearance. The film was set in 1960 and was filmed in Phoenix, Arizona. The fact that it was made in the 1960's shows that Hitchcock was very successful as he used original craft and techniques to commence the audience, this is because at that time there was a lot of rules and regulations about what was shown on the screens, e.g. certain parts of the body can only be shown. Tension is initially built up is when Marion sees her employer from her car after she has stolen the $40 000. ...read more.

Middle

He also stutters when he says the word 'bathroom', in fact Marion has to say it for him. This creates further suspense as we wonder why he becomes nervous about saying 'bathroom'. Norman and Marion are having a conversation in the parlour. Norman sits in the darkest corner of the room and speaks to Marion who sits with the light focused on her. This gives the feeling of fear as it seems as if Norman is questing her. The room is full of stuffed birds; this creates an evil and unpleasant atmosphere. The shower scene uses many camera shots and sound effects to help build the tension and scare the audience. Tension is built up in the scene because there is no music while Marion is by herself in her room. The fact that Marion flushes a sheet of paper down the toilet presents some kind of normality. The camera shot used is the medium close up which allows us to see the full face of the victim and the background behind her. When Marion closes the bathroom door, the normality is sustained and a natural routine is occurring because she is getting ready for a shower. However, this is typical of the horror thriller genre, when there is no music and everything looks fine, the audience has a feeling that some think is going to happen which keeps the audience at the edge of their seats. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Extreme close up of Marion is shown reaching for the shower curtain which highlights her agony and her struggle to hold on to life. The sound of the water is still flowing; it is as if her life is draining away with the water. The extreme close up shows us how slowly Marion is dying. When Marion falls forward, pulling the shower curtain off its hooks, it is shown with a high angle shot which shows she is smaller and powerless. Viewers are shocked that she has been attacked for no reason. As Marion lies dead, face down on the floor of the bathroom an extreme camera shot shoots this scene and zooms out, it shows the terror in her eyes and how scared she was before she died, especially as she has seen who killed her. Alfred Hitchcock was an extremely successful film producer who made a name for him self by creating very successful horror films. The fact that he is successful seems to be that he has a talent to create mysteries which the audience can not work out and at the same time, he used new and unusual techniques to build enormous scenes of tension and suspence. Among their techniques were the unusual use of lighting, an verity of camera angles, the sound effects that was silence to screeching panic, and the use of weak or incomplete characters that some how seemed unreal, or quite unlike normal people. By Manpreet Sira 11M:) ...read more.

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