Media Studies Analysis of Psycho(Hitchcock 1960)Shower Scene)

July 16, 2018 Media

Alfred Hitchcock movie psycho starring Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins starts with a shower scene. The scene opens with a middle shot of lady wearing a bathing robe sitting at her desk in her home. It looks like Janet Leigh is home alone with the scene following with a low key non-diegetic sound playing at the background creating suspense which co notates a Thriller genre. She looks tired and she signs bowing her head downwards whiles writing in the book. In effect the mid shot makes the location known that it is in the confines of her house. A straight cut to view what she is writing appears in the next frame. This will make an audience feel like its normal, which therefore makes us feel comfortable into a false sense of security.

An eye-level shot and looking directly above the characters shoulder the director is allowing us to see what the lady can see. This makes us feel that we are experiencing the event with her and a part of the scene ourselves. When the audience is allowed to do this it is more engaging and creates an escalation in suspense and tension Shortly after the pace of the scene continues, the same effect on the suspense and tension is built within the scene (frame). She gets up to get rid of the pieces of papers with a pan following her to the bathroom. She drops it and drains it down with a loud internal diegetic sound. Camera moves down whiles she drops her robe finally getting into the shower. Janet starts having a shower with a point of view shot capturing the shower tap enabling us to see what shes looking at directly. There was a ‘Shot-Reverse Shot’ when it alternated between the point of view and the killers. The result of this is a fast pace and is over very quickly, it could be connoting the viewers heart beat and emphasizing the pounding with fast edits.

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When the scene reaches the climax of the murder being committed, there are fast cuts that replace the flesh cuts felt by the protagonist, and the sound becomes very loud and non-diagetic. Both the volume and the juxtaposition of diagetic to non diagetic breaks the tension and suspense that had been created with the silence and slow paced editing that had been used throughout build up of the scene.

Following this, when the stabbing occurred, shots were held for much longer, which almost connotes the murderer lingering at the scene of the crime and also perhaps the slow death of the woman now on the floor of the shower. This is conventional of a thriller as a stereotypical event that takes place in almost every thriller is a death or murder. Using the longer shots to allow them to almost become the protagonists movements allowed the villain to stay hidden throughout the sequence, other than becoming symbolised by the knife in several shots using close up shots, mid-shots, point of view shots. This is another typical convention in thriller film.

The editing is used in coherence with the conventional events to make the audience empathise with the victim and feel the true extent of the murder and the victim’s emotions. This is particularly effective when used in contrast with the fast editing climax to the slow paced editing of the death; it calms the audience down leaving them to recover from the action that had taken place previously. Almost mirroring the state of mind of the protagonist who is slowly dying in the shot


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