Psycho Film Study

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The Alfred Hitchcock film ‘Psycho’ is undoubtedly one of the most significant, ground breaking films of all time. It is now considered the ‘mother of all modern horror films’, and sets the base to many horror films and themes made after its release in 1960. To create such an influential movie Hitchcock used many techniques such as code and conventions, symbolism, themes, and film noir.

Code and conventions are used in ways that greatly increase the effectiveness of the overall film. Close-up camera angles are used to show the actors emotions to a greater extent. An example of this is in the scene before Marion pulling into the Bates Motel. Hitchcock creates close-ups of her faces, which show worry and anxiety, and uses over the shoulder subjective shots of the rain and the flashing lights of passing cars. The scene in the parlour uses lighting in different ways to achieve different effects. The way Hitchcock works lighting into Psycho is by making specific features of different object stand out. The stuffed birds stand out by lighting it underneath and placing the camera above to catch a shot that intensifies certain features of it. The suspense in the film is created by allowing the audience to become included in the scenes through the use of camera angles. This increases the psychological effects of the film and can be viewed at the start of the ‘shower scene’. During the subjective shot of the water cascading onto Marion’s face, the viewer feels cleansing feeling along with Marion. Music also plays a crucial part in Psycho, and was most effectively used in the ‘shower scene’. The shrieking violins played very harsh, high pitched and nerve wracking wailing, that coincided exactly with the stabbing actions of the knife and Marion's screams.

The movie Psycho uses the technique of ‘film noir’. The evidence for this is the black and white colouring, the ‘murder drama’ theme, and style. The black and white colouring makes the shadows seem denser, and...
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