Psycho is a 1960 horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, the film is bassed on a 1959 novel of the same title.
Marion Crane, played by Janet Leigh, is a secretary living in Pheonix, arozona. One day she is intrusted to take $40.000 dollars from one of her bosses clients to the bank, she however decides to steal the money to help her money troubled ex-boyfriend, Sam Loomis, played by John Gavin. She rents a car a runs away to California to see Sam, mid-way into her journey she pulls over along side the road to rest. A highway patrol officer, who becomes suspicious of her current state, later awakes her. He alter begins to follow her, so she decides to switch cars in a nearby car dealership.
Later that night she becomes tired from driving through heavy rain and decides to stop at an isolated hotel called The Bates Motel. Its owner, Norman Bates, played by Anthony Perkins, tells Marion he rarely has customers since the new highway bypassed the place. He later invites her to have dinner with him in the creepy looking house overlooking the hotel, this is where the movie begins to take a turn into the land of horror.
“Alfred Hitchcock should be credited with making the first slasher film for the ground-breaking narrative template he created for Psycho.” (Cole, 2009) Hitchcock’s unique style can be familiar sight for regular viewers of his movies, but the films sudden jump into a horror ‘slasher’ film was a surprising shock to viewers, as the first half of the movie completely leads the audience away from the blunt scenes later on in the film. “What Psycho does is it takes an audience right out of its “comfort zone” (Becker, 2012). This is of course why Psycho is considered to be Hitchcock's most successful and famous film that has opened many doors for many of the future horror movie directors to follow.
The tension during the movie was created using a mixture of single scenes and shots the heavily lead into the next. “With some of the most memorable iconic scenes in the history of Cinema. Tense, horrific and a superb lesson in filmmaking, it offers complex characters and revealing dialogue with a huge regard for details.” (Magalhães, 2010) Possibly one of the most known scenes in cinema is the ‘shower scene’ that shows the murder and later on the corpse of Marion, this scene has led to much controversy and discussion because at the time nothing as graphic had been seen before. And the shocking nature of the unexpected was masterfully down to how Hitchcock shot the scene using nearly 70 shots ranging from a mixture of shadows to extreme close-ups. Psycho is arguably one of Hitchcock’s greatest movies, his cleaver use of techniques and his ability to draw the audience in, is without question the work of a true master of film.
1: Cole Smithey (2009) http://www.colesmithey.com/capsules/2009/03/psycho-classic-film-pick.html
2: Dave Becker (2012) http://www.dvdinfatuation.com/2012/04/595-psycho-1960.html
3: Carlos Magalhães (2010) http://www.popmatters.com/pm/post/132282-psycho-and-the-scene-that-changed-modern-horror-forever/