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How does Alfred Hitchcock create tension and horror in his film Psycho?

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Introduction

How does Alfred Hitchcock create tension and horror in his film 'Psycho'? The famous film 'Psycho' is a horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock in the 1960's starring Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins. The idea of this film was originally taken from a book of Robert Bloch's; Hitchcock decided to buy the rights to the book for $9000, so people would not be able to read the book and would have to watch it at the cinemas instead, therefore it increases the horror and it would be ruined if the people knew the outcome of the film. At the time, 'Psycho' was a very shocking film not only a horrifying film, for example: the stabbing scene where there are continuous stabbing actions, it was also the first film with a flushing toilet and woman half naked on screen. Furthermore, Hitchcock also took advantage of the lessened censorship laws-the laws were about what could be shown so he decided to make cinemas to sign contrast so people could not come in half way through; only let them in at the beginning of the film. Hitchcock decided to create a black and white film because of several reasons: he wanted to save money because back in the 60's creating a film would cost a lot of money, the colour of the blood would be too shocking for the audience if it was in colour and he wanted to prove that a black and white film could be as effective as a colour film. ...read more.

Middle

Secondly, I am going to analyse the music and sound effects used in the shower scene. As soon as the killer tears back the curtains, the eerie, screechy famous music composed by Bernard Herrman using stringed instruments begins. As the killer comes closer, the eerie, screechy music gradually gets louder and faster creating a horrifying and unsettling atmosphere as well as tension. Audience back then would be terrified but also would be screaming and shouting to Marion as she is in trouble. The use of the music in the shower scene is extremely effective because it creates tension and horror at the same time. Moreover, the shower scene has a range of sound effects; the amplified sound of the toilet flush, the amplified sound of the water and the amplified thud of Marion to the ground. All these have been amplified to make the audience feel as if they are in the shower with her and also to create more strength and loudness for a more effective effect. Also Hitchcock has used a really clever technique by using a melon; he used a melon called the 'Casaba Melon' to create the slashing and stabbing sound because the sound of the melon sounds like someone being stab and slashed therefore Hitchcock used a melon sound to replace the knife sound. Thirdly, I am going to analyse the camera angles that Hitchcock has used. ...read more.

Conclusion

the knife and the blood for the genre of horror. The knife is held up for the audience to see making the audience horrified, the blood is shocking; like a river of blood, audiences back then would be shocked and stunned because of what they are seeing, creating a horror sight for the audience. Last but not least, symbolism, symbolism in a film can represent lots of different meanings particularly in a horror film. In this film Marion's blood is going down the drain this is the symbolism in this film because it represents Marion's life being washed away and down into the plughole, which would make the audience think and feel in different ways. Overall, Hitchcock has used a wide range of techniques to create tension and horror in his film. He has used: lightening to create different atmospheres: he has used music to create tension and horror at the same time, he has used special effects and sounds effects which was really useful for the film without the special effects and sound effects the film would not be as effective and camera angles, camera angles have a big effect on how we think of the film without the effective camera shots, we would not be able to express our thoughts and feelings. He has used all of these to create tension and horror in many different ways, therefore has created a powerful and effective film. ...read more.

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