Psycho Movie Paper

1 January 2017

One of the best aspects of Psycho is the outstanding camera work. The movie is full of unexpected surprises that makes the audience jump, gasp or scream in surprise and fright. Hitchcock uses constant shadow and “pop out” techniques that enhance the suspense and give rise to tension that build and builds until it is unleashed in startling ‘pop out’ scenes that leave the audience gasping. The film effects, especially during the murder scenes, I believe made the movie.

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The scene where Arbogast decides to investigate the Bates household while Norman is away and Norman’s “mother” pops out from the room and seemingly murders the unsuspecting detective is a great example of this kind of camera work. The film also incorporates elements of the unknown using shadows to keep up the mystery and suspense. The infamous shower scene where Norman Bates stalks into the bathroom as a shadowy figure that has come to murder Janet Leigh gives the audience a spine tingling feeling of fear and keeps the audience guessing as to who the real murderer is.

The movie was also shot in black and white which adds to the eerie feeling. Hitchcock uses close ups of the actors, shot from odd angles to crete an uneasy feeling for the viewer. The scene when Marian is on her way down the highway after buying her used car, she is filmed driving towards destination but the camera angle is mostly a mid-shot of her view driving the car. After the murder of Marion Crane, the camera zoomed up close to the face of the victim giving the viewers a frightening view of a dead person.

The bottom line is that a curtain flying back and a helpless women in the shower being slashed to death while violins screeched violently in the background made many young teens of the time fear their bathtubs and showers. One of the greatest aspects of the movie was the endless string of plot twists and turns. Not only is the plotline immense, but it is full of unexpected events, 360 degree turns and a myriad of suspenseful situations that keep the audience on the edge of their seats.

Unexpected events keep the plot rolling along like Marion Crane running away and stealing money. The police officer that questions Marion when she was on the run built up suspense as it led the audience to believe that she might get caught with the 4000 dollars that she stole. The dinner with Marion and Norman before she was murdered gave the sense that Norman was a weird guy who stuffed birds. Plot twist such as Marion Crane being suddenly murdered and Arbogast, the detective, who was close to solving the case being unexpectedly murdered kept the audience guessing.

The movie ended with the huge surprise of Norman Bates’ mother, the leading suspect in the murders, turning out to have been dead for two years while her son, Norman committed the murders. Janet Leigh plays an excellent role as Marion Crane, who is on the run with 4000 dollars in search of a new life. The fact that she makes a stop at the Bates Motel adds blood and gore to the movie to make the must-see horror flick of its time. Another thing that made Psycho stand out from other horror movies before it was the type of conflict that the film Horror films up to then had been mostly about man battling oversized or bigger than life monsters.

This was just man against a little nerdy man. Hitchcock’s Psycho was inspired by the real life notorious serial killer, Ed Gein. The horror movie audience was used to seeing people battling oversized, non-human creatures such as Godzilla, Dracula, Frankenstein or the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Psycho was one of the first movies to use a psychotic person as the bad guy in a horror context. Psycho inspired movies such as; Friday the 13th with Jason Forgees and Halloween with Michael Myers. Both of these classics followed Psycho’s storyline using the concept of a crazed man with maternal issues killing people with a large knife.

The movie, Psycho is a classic film that used innovative camera work combined with a fantastic plot full of unexpected twists and turns and a new type of villain to create a movie that would be used as a horror model for decades. Alfred Hitchcock was a genius who was not afraid to take chances and step outside the box to keep the audience on their toes, or under their seats. Psych has stood the test of time. It was widely considered one of the best horror movies of all time when it came out and it has served as a model and stood up favorably since then.

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