Sunday, 14 February 2016

Psycho (1960)

Alfred Hitchcock's 'Psycho' created a new genre - the slasher - upon its release which led to the creation of films like Scream, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Friday the 13th. Its known for its most iconic scene in the shower, where Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) meets her end. The film then continues to unravel leading to the finale where the audience discovers the mental stability behind the story which in many people's opinions, ruins the film completely by leaving no mystery as to why.

Fig 1

Hitchcock uses the camera in many different ways to capture the tension, the thrill and fear within the film. 'Hitchcock cuts disorientatingly to a bird's-eye view of the landing, and then, before we've had even a second to get our bearings, a figure darts into view from the right of the screen, knife raised. No matter how prepared you are, how many times you see it, it's almost impossible not to flinch.' (Monahan, M 2015) This angle gives the audience the feel that Milton Arbogast (Martin Balsam) is being preyed upon, in addition to this the camera then cuts to the p.o.v of Normans Mother as she watches him fall backwards down the stairs which involves the audience more in Milton's murder, this finishes off the feel of being preyed upon as the predator has caught its prey in one quick swoop like an owl, similar to those in Norman's hotel office. 'Norman's "parlor," where savage stuffed birds seem poised to swoop down and capture them as prey' (Ebert, 1998)

Fig 2

At no point in the infamous shower scene do the audience see the knife pierce Marion's skin, and despite the length of the scene and the prediction of how many stab wounds Marion may have accumulated, little blood is shown 'never shows the knife striking flesh. There are no wounds. There is blood, but not gallons of it. Hitchcock shot in black and white because he felt the audience could not stand so much blood in color' (Ebert, 1998)

Fig 3

Its clear to see how this film has influenced and affected the world of cinema when looking at films like Halloween and Scream despite their shots where you see knives and other similar weapons make contact with the target, they eerily follow the direction of the story in psycho - leading up to a revealing of a mental-illness/thoughts (like Norman Bates) for example in Scream. 


  • Monahan, M 2015 'Psycho' : 14/02/15
  • Ebert, R 1998 'Psycho' : 14/02/15
  • Ebert, R 1998 'Psycho' : 14/02/15


  • Fig 1: Poster : 14/02/15
  • Fig 2: Film Still : 14/02/15
  • Fig 3: Film Still : 14/02/15


  1. im not sure why the text is a different colour, I've tried to change and fix it

  2. Hi Danni,

    Yes, I'm not sure about why the text is like that - sometimes it is when you copy text from elsewhere, but that wouldn't be the case here. It's a Blogger mystery!
    Don't forget to italicise all the other film names...