How does Hitchcock create and maintain suspense in his 1960s film 'Psycho'?

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How does Hitchcock create and maintain suspense in his 1960s film ‘Psycho’?

Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” is a classic thriller, one of the best movies of all time, and was a groundbreaking film when it was made. It was known as the “mother of the modern horror movies” because it single-handily ushered in an era of inferior shocking killings, blood letting graphics and screen “slashers”. “Psycho” was produced by Universal studios and released through Paramount in 1960. Hitchcock was the director and producer of the movie and was given a budget of $800,000; he deliberately wanted the film to look cheap and so he had to use the crew who shot his television show. In the time when the movie was made there had not been many scenes of women with hardly any clothes on and this came to a huge shock to the audience, as having just a bra on was  a very rare thing. However Hitchcock explained the reason for filming a woman only in her undergarments in the opening sequence of Psycho: “Audiences are changing....The straightforward kissing scene would be looked down at by the younger viewers....Nowadays you have to show them as they themselves behave.” We also see the camera taking us into the toilet, the toilet is known as a very private place and not many films have shown someone when they are in the toilet, they normally show a person either going in the toilet, or coming out the toilet. This must have created and also maintained suspense because the audience would want to know what was going to happen next and they also would start to realise that in the real world the society is at a stage where they are starting to mature and they too may only wear there undergarments. Hitchcock used the media to sell his film to a younger and fresher audience, it was advertised as: "Alfred Hitchcock's greatest, most shocking mystery with a galaxy of stars." Posters for “Psycho” were put up and Hitchcock insisted to not “spoil the ending” for other viewers because “it is the only one we have.” Hitchcock wanted to prove that doing the film in black and white would shake the world and also manipulate the audience of how life is in a black sense of humor. He had set out to show that a low-budget horror film could succeed at the box-office, which was precisely what he did.

The title “Psycho” creates fear and anticipation because it conjures up some disturbing images before you have even seen the film. It creates and maintains suspense because the title suggests that the film is going to be about a person who is out of control and could possibly be a serial killer. At the start of the film, “Psycho” opens with a common scene, with the words time, date and location onscreen. This makes the audience feel calm and eases them into comfort so that what happens next will take the audience completely by surprise.

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There is a point when Marion is driving home as she has a headache. Marion’s boss sees her driving and gives her an infuriated look. This slightly shows empathy but maintains the suspense in the audience as they will want to know what the boss is thinking and what action will he take against Marion. The camera angle shows a long lasting medium shot from Marion’s point of view. There is a long lasting close up of Marion’s face while she is fleeing in her car with the stolen money. Her character starts to have thoughts which are playing around ...

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