How Does Hitchcock Manipulate the Audience in the Shower Scene in the Film, Psycho?

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How does Hitchcock manipulate the audience in the shower scene in the film, Psycho?

Sir Alfred Hitchcock was an English film maker in the 20th century. He was well known for his techniques in engaging with the emotions of the audience and maximizing the feelings of anxiety and fear. Hitchcock, (also nicknamed as the master of suspense) directed more than fifty feature films of which the majority had twisted endings and thrilling plots, including violence, murder and crime. His iconic feature was to always appear in the movie. He was most likely to be seen walking through a busy crowd or across a street in some part of the film he was regarded as the greatest British film-maker and an iconic cultural figure. Psycho was one of Hitchcock’s most famous films. It was made in 1960 and although it originally received mixed reviews it was later re-reviewed resulting in 4 academy nominations. The story is about a young woman who steals a sum of money from her boss and when hiding in a motel she is brutally murdered by the psychotic hotel owner. The film is in black and white to add to the suspense with the music which originally Hitchcock wasn’t going to have. Psycho was considered Hitchcock’s best movie and is an inspiration to most horror films today.

In this essay I will be describing the techniques Hitchcock uses to emphasize the fear and manipulate the audience during and leading up to the shower scene. The lead up to the shower scene starts with Marion, (who so far is thought of as the main character) driving down a highway in the busy rain making it almost impossible to see ahead of her. Whilst Marion is driving you soon come across a small lit up sign saying ‘Bates Motel’ Hitchcock uses the effect of the light to make it almost suggest it’s heavenly, this is a reassurance to the audience that Marion will be safe because she’s found somewhere to stay. However when we reach the motel it appear to be deserted until the camera zooms up to a big old fashioned house, with a small shadowed figure on the second floor, that appears to be in the shape of a woman, this at the time is a reassurance to Marion because someone is there who can help her. During this the only sound we hear is the heavy rain which fills the emptiness of the scene. A young man then appears to help her book a room, although he tries to create conversation Marion’s sentences are short, as if to portray she is in a hurry. Hitchcock then zooms in on her when she is writing her signature. We notice that she writes a different second name, this makes the audience shifty, because she’s lying. The cameras zoom onto the man who is introduced as Norman, he hesitates before picking a key, this arouses curiosity in audience as you wonder why he would pick a different room. When Norman is showing Marion the room he opens the windows and is hesitant to go into the bathroom or even say its name. He appears shifty and awkward which once again perks up interest in the audience as to why he is so shifty, you can help but feel a little worried as to why he can’t go into the bathroom. The conversations between Marion and Norman are short and awkward. As soon as Norman leaves the music starts to fill the silence and Marion wraps the money up in a newspaper to hide it, the music rises when this happens which suggests tension which makes the audience feel uncomfortable, as if she were taking a risk. Norman comes back with food for Marion and takes her into a small room behind the office to eat, as soon as you see the room stuffed birds fill the screen giving a creepy affect as if they were all watching you. As Norman talks to Marion he is constantly fiddling with his fingers as if to show that he is nervous, he also stutters some words to add to the effect. The conversation is awkward and Norman seems to be leading most of the conversation. The camera then moves to a low angle where a stuffed bird appears to be looking at Norman as he speaks, he compares the emotions of...
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