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In 'Psycho' how has Alfred Hitchcock created tension throughout the film and what effect does this have on us as viewers?

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Introduction

In 'Psycho' how has Alfred Hitchcock created tension throughout the film and what effect does this have on us as viewers? Alfred Hitchcock was a famous director during the late 1950's and early 60's. He was born in 1899 and died in 1980. He was known as the master of suspense for creating tense and thrilling films including 'Psycho' and 'The birds.' In 1960 Psycho was released and was a big hit in Great Britain and America. This film shows how a young woman, Marion, falls in love and steals a large amount of money and to then begin a new life away with her boyfriend. As she runs away, she finds a motel to spend the night. Strange and scary things begin to happen here and the level of suspense and suspicion begins to rise. Tense films make us, as viewers, insecure and unsure about the environment around us. ...read more.

Middle

This allows the audience to be frightened in the view of the victim and feel sorry for the victim in the view of the killer. A high angle shot of the victim and a low angle shot of the killer is also used to make the killer look as though they are over looking the victim, being more powerful. The sound of flesh being torn is put in after the scene had been filmed. This is called a non-diegetic sound. A close up of Marion's hand on the wall is shown after she has been murdered, in the shower, and again of her hand reaching out to grab the curtain in the shower. It seems as though she is reaching out to the audience for help. But we are unable to help her. This again makes us feel helpless. As she grabs it there is a sudden movement of the curtain coming off the rail. This symbolises her heart stopping as she crashes to the ground with a thud. ...read more.

Conclusion

If he uses a simple everyday area and turns it into an unsettling pool of suspense, we think that the same situation may come upon us. Hitchcock has created tension by using a number of techniques that are very effective including pathetic fallacy, camera shots and the way a character may speak or act towards another person. I think that without these techniques the contrasting relationships between the killer and it's victims would be a little unclear. Also using these techniques the killer always remains anonymous making the murders more tense and puzzling as to make us think who it is. Not only are the cinematic techniques effective but also the use of music adds to the moments that are tense and worrying. The same staccato sounds are used every time an event occurs and sometimes begins to build up indicating that tension is rising. I think that 'Psycho' is very successful in the criteria of being tense and thrilling and that is what's kept it so popular today. By Ali wade ...read more.

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