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How does Alfred Hitchcock make the viewing of Psycho a frightening and worrying experience?"

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Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho "How does Alfred Hitchcock make the viewing of Psycho a frightening and worrying experience?" I am currently studying Alfred Hitchcock Psycho. Psycho is such an important film because it redefined the genres of thrillers and established the genre used by many film writers today such as Wes Craven (Scream 1/2/3) of stalk and slash movies, using camera angles and other techniques. Hitchcock creates tension in a variety of ways using specific camera angles and high and low pitched music. Although the film proved a big box office success, only gradually did this macabre experiment in black humour become the object of closer scrutiny and more intense analysis. The consensus today is that Psycho is a classic of cinematic art and admiration worldwide. Hitchcock tested the "fear factor" of Mother's corpse by placing it in Leigh's dressing room and listening to how loud she screamed when she discovered it. An introduction to the film's beginnings, it was a terrifying film even before it opened; Hitchcock was building tension before the film had started, as film posters depicted a woman screaming. The colours of red and black which are connotations of the gothic genre are used. Even the poster with the bates motel played a part as this also has connotations of the gothic genre as it is black, old designed house in a desolate area surrounded by fog and dark trees. (High roof and gothic architecture). However, we are desensitised now thanks to the films that have exploded onto the scene since Psycho that terrify us and make us fear our own mortality just like Psycho has done. "White Noise", "Creep", these films are way beyond Psycho, but have evolved thanks to Alfred Hitchcock, he used intensive marketing to terrify prospective audiences before they had even seen the film which was a movie first and in fact is not used at all if any times today. ...read more.


This symbolism is prevalent throughout the film also connotates Normans predatory instincts of the birds. In this paragraph I will delve into the history of Norman Bates the character. As created by Robert Bloch, Norman isn't a likable character. He's a fat man in his forties who drinks habitually and peeps through holes. But when Hitchcock suggested Anthony Perkins for the role, Stefano (screenwriter) began to see the character differently: "I suddenly saw a tender, vulnerable young man you could feel incredibly sorry for. I could rope in an audience with someone like that." - Exactly the effect aimed at the audience. Two protagonists. None are perfect. Both can be hated or loved. The scene - we know that something will happen here because it is desolate and empty. But to the sixties audience nothing may happen and because the motel looks so normal when they see what happens they becomes even more scared and look around and think about motels they may stay in or live nearby and they become self - conscious and the film's events take a life of their own. The first thing to notice is that this Motel is empty and we take care to note that as it is unusual for a motel to be empty during any time in the year. The shower scene originally was not to have any music involved because Hitchcock extraordinarily did not want any, but Herrmann changed his mind after they were disappointed without the music. The shower scene is a frightening and terrifying experience for a number of reasons. Firstly, we see beforehand Norman Bates looking through a secret spy hole into Marion's room. So this is why he made sure she stayed next to the office. He also spies intensively as if he has done it before. And because the people who stayed here before disappeared, does this mean he has something to do with it? ...read more.


The strings span the longest effective gamut of notes: they have an effective range of dynamics unmatched by the other groups; and within the boundaries of their basic single tone-colour they can command a great number and variety of special effects. And when the expressive range of the string orchestra is compared to that of black-and-white photography, Herrmann's analogy becomes perfectly clear. Just like the "no colour" images of a black-and-white film, the string orchestra has the capability--within the limits of its one basic colour--of producing an enormous range of expression and a great variety of dramatic and emotional effects, with all the gradations in between the events in the film. Sir Alfred Hitchcock is very successful at manipulating for the reasons that Hitchcock did things that have never been done before (such as showing Marion in her underwear - showing connotations of clothing - white is innocence but she is having an affair with a married man. Surely white is the wrong colour? This toys with our minds as it defies not just this film's particular genre but others as well) and the audiences minds are constantly thinking about the protagonists and antagonists next moves/motives. We are almost sub - consciously put in the position of the Detectives but with some extra information (as if we are a fly on the walls) but still we struggle to decipher why and what is happening. To conclude, the audience is persistently guessing until the end of the film and the ending in itself is a disappointment as it leaves a lot of questions in our minds. Was justice prevailed? Did Norman get killed/punished? But this is a good effect as when the movie ends you feel angry that nothing has happened and your mind completes the film in your head and you have your own version. In my opinion Alfred Hitchcock is exceptional at manipulating the minds of the audience and creates his first ever horror film as a cinematic masterpiece. ...read more.

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