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Psycho (1960)

On Novemeber 10th, we watched Psycho. Though I thought this was going to be filled with gruesome horror scenes, there weren’t many of those until the end when we saw the mother’s skeleton. The film was filled with techniques to aid in increasing the suspense and a prominent level of foreshadowing.

Two techniques were used throughout the film to build suspense. These were sound and light. The sound throughout the whole movie was dark and suspenseful. This helped foreshadow the shower scene and the scene with the mother’s skeleton being shown.  Also, throughout the movie, there was very little light, except the shower scene of course. Most, if not all of the scenes leading to the shower scene were somewhat dark, leading up to the vividly lit shower scene. This change in lighting portrays the importance to the shower scene.

There is a strong representation of human conflict in the scene where Marion and Norman are eating in his office. First off he tells Marion, “I think we’re all in our private traps.” At this exact moment, I think I had a feeling that Norman was his mother and he lived with a split personality disorder.

A few questions that remained with me the whole film were if the dead animals in Norman’s office were a symbol, or perhaps foreshadowing what was to come? Also, what was the significance to Norman telling Marion, “you eat like a bird”? Could it be that he was foreshadowing that he was going to kill her, like he killed the stuffed birds in his office?

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~ by Beatrice Pana on December 11, 2010.

5 Responses to “Psycho (1960)”

  1. I completely agree that Hitchcock uses several techniques to establish suspense throughout the entire film. Besides the obvious famous Psycho music, Hitchcock chose to use different camera angles and techniques to aid in the mystery of who the murderer was. Sometimes in the film we are given a glimpse of who the attacker is but we aren’t given enough information to put the pieces together. In the scene that I analyzed, I noted some overhead/birds eye view shots where we are shown the top of the murderer. These camera angle techniques enable us to learn a little bit about the murderer but not enough to solve the mystery.

  2. I completely agree about the use of music in order to build suspense throughout the film, it’s honestly what caught my attention the most. As far as the significance of birds I’m not quite sure. Perhaps it’s symbolizing freedom? Norman’s life was suppressed with his mother and perhaps also referring to psychological freedom. I don’t know if it helps at all.

  3. I agree with you for the most part but I think the dead animals were there to only add eeriness and suspense to the film. As far as foreshadowing goes in regards to Norman saying that she eats like a bird, I had a feeling that the director intended to imply that Norman is weird and creepy fairly early on in the film. Good catch on how Hitchcock utilized strategic camera angles to shoot the scene without revealing too much. Great post here.

  4. With regards to the suspense created by the music or the camera angles, i really want to say the music was responsible for the overall suspense, however both played a very important role in the movie. As for the lighting, i agree with your interpretation concerning the shower scene.The transition of lighting definitely suggests some importance but the chilling music…..OMG!!

  5. I agree with you in how Psycho was really a scary movie but instead of using gory scenes and blood it used music and lighting. The movie was one of my favorites this semester and it was generally creepy just with the presence of Norman and his awkwardness toward Marion. The animals in the office to me foreshadow the fact that he took up this hobby to be able to embalm his mother like he did so that he could have her forever. Side note, I really did not expect him to be that crazy that he would be both his mother and himself.

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