The “shower scene” is very famous due to all editing.
The scene starts when Marion arrives at the Bates Motel. Everything seems normal at the start, but things slowly start to change.
When Marion asks for a room, Norman reaches for a key, but his hand movement is quite suspicious because, he first reaches for cabin “3”, but moves his hand back to reach for number “1” instead. By choosing cabin 1, Norman seems to have already doomed Marion to death. By letting Marion stay in cabin 1, he knows that he will be able to spy on her.
When Marion steps into Norman’s “Parlour”, she is confronted by lots of stuffed birds on the wall. The birds are expressions of Norman’s’ secret desires and guilt. The camera shows us a close up of the birds, to let us know how strange he is. While Marion and Norman are having their conversation, the camera shots are usually low angle because it shows how unbalanced Norman is. While they are talking, Marion appears to be sitting next to a lamp, which makes her face and body glow. This tells us that she has a lot of warmth and is very kind person. The conversation between them seems very innocent and friendly, until Marion suggests that Norman should put his mother in a home. The camera then shows us an extreme close up of Norman’s face, showing us his angry eyes and face. This makes the audience realise that his mood and feelings have now changed.
At this point Norman is still unaware that he is sitting with half of his body in a shadow and half of his body in the light. This is done deliberately by the director to point out that he has a good and bad side.
When Norman then asks Marion “What are you running away from”? the camera shows a medium/mid shot of Norman with a very devious look on his face. This makes the audience think that he might have figured out that Marion holds a secret.
When Marion gets up to leave the camera looks down at Norman. This shows us that Norman is being weak and vulnerable. The audience then gets a quick glimpse of Norman’s house in the distance. It is very shadowy and creepy. Hitchcock uses this image to let the audience have an insight to the evilness of the film, and what is about to happen.
We then see Norman suspiciously look at the hotel register, the camera gives us a close up, to show us that she did sign her real name.
When Norman steps back into the dark office, slow creepy music plays in the background, and shadows cast over him, which shows he has something evil on his mind. The lighting is very dark, and at this point the audience will be having doubtful thoughts about him, thinking that he might not be as genuine as he made out to be. He then rushes back into his creepy house, like he’s got something “important” to do.
Meanwhile, Marion goes into the shower. At the moment everything seems normal, the lightning’s good and things seem very ordinary. For a few moments the camera focuses on Marion washing herself. Marion is now naked so she is very vulnerable if anything was to happen, because she has no means of escape or defence.
Hitchcock again uses dramatic irony by letting the audience see the “shadowy figure”,
Behind the curtain before Marion does.
This builds up the suspense, and the audience is alerted to danger, because they know that something sinister is about to happen. When the person pulls back the shower curtain, we automatically hear uncontrollable screaming from Marion. We see an extreme close up of her face, showing her screaming in agony. The sound of the knife is very high pitched. Hitchcock has used lots of editing here, so the audience doesn’t get to see too much. The camera then shows us a high angle shot of Marion swaying side to side, trying helplessly to protect herself. Then we see a medium/mid shot of her dripping with blood. After about 6 seconds the screaming finally comes to an end. We see a close up of blood going down the plug hole, and then we see Marion use her last bit of life to rip down the shower curtain. We see another close up of Marion’s eye. This shows her life has now come to an end.
The camera then zooms back into the bedroom, showing us a close up of the money on the table. This tells us that the stolen money is now irrelevant, because Marion is now dead!