How Does Alfred Hitchcock Create Tension and Drama in his Classic Thriller Psycho?

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How Does Alfred Hitchcock Create Tension and Drama in his Classic Thriller Psycho?

By Josh Maglione

Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller Psycho was first screened in 1960 and since has become one of the most popular films of all time. Hitchcock pulls together tension, empathy and drama to make Psycho a well crafted exciting film.

        Psycho is set in a remote town, far away from civilisation, the motel is very isolated and there is no one else around. This creates a lot of fear and tension as the audience anticipates that if something where to happen, no one would find out about it. Marion Crane enters the motel in a horrendous rainstorm in the middle of the night; this is a signpost for danger and indicates to the audience that something deplorable will happen. The house situated above the motel is very isolated and daunting, this relates back to the genre of the film and it makes the audience wonder what the house is concealing.

        When Ms Crane is being allocated a room, she strikes up a conversation with the motel manger; Norman Bates, this dialogue tells us that the motel is rarely visited and that “no one stops here if they can help it”. This indicates to the audience that things are not quite right and the motel is not a safe place to stay. It is a signpost of what’s yet to come.

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Norman seems threatened by his mother as she dominates him and tells him what he can and cannot do; this makes the audience feel sympathetic and pitiful for Norman. When he refuses to accompany Ms Crane into her bedroom for supper it creates empathy between the audience and Norman as we see his kind, gentlemanly side shows through. This perception of Norman Bates changes suddenly as he enters the parlour with Ms Crane. The camera focuses our attention on the numerous stuffed birds of prey situated around the room, we associate these images with their owner Norman Bates. The birds ...

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