‘Psycho’- 1960

The film ‘Psycho’ in 1960 is a psychological thriller horror film which is directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The film was based on the novel ‘Psycho’ in 1959 by Robert Bloch and the screenplay of the film is done by Joseph Stefano. The film is in black and white color and the story is set in United States. The story is about a real estate secretary, Marion Crane who stayed in a secluded motel after she has stolen the money from her employer for her boyfriend, Sam Loomis who can’t get married with her because of his owing. The owner of the motel, Norman Bates invited her to stay in his motel and after that, they had dinner together. After they finished the dinner, Marion went back to her room and have a shower and here comes the famous scene from ‘Psycho’.

Psycho (1960) – Shower Scene

The film started when Marion walking to the bathroom and close the door. The lighting is quite bright in the shower room. She then begins to remove her bathrobe and leave it on the toilet and step over the edge of the bathtub into the shower and pulls the shower curtain across. The camera focuses on her bare legs when she was stepping over the bathtub. Marion was blurred as she was standing behind the shower curtain and I think this is cleverly used as you can still see what Marion was doing and it helps in later scene as she didn’t realised someone walked into the shower room trying to kill her which creates tension. Then, the scene capture Marion turns the water on  and it is a shoulder length shot. The next scene captures the shower head from a low angle and you can see the water coming out from the shower head and I think it is amazing done on this scene as the lens of the camera hasn’t got any water on it. After that the camera capture a wider frame shot which shows a shoulder length shot of Marion and the water coming from the shower head. The reason why it was shot in a distance as it avoids the water spraying onto the camera. Marion enjoys the shower and I like how the camera changes in different directions which makes the scene more interesting rather than just capturing the scene with the same position and direction. After that, the scene was captured from a high position where it also captures the shower curtain at Marion’s back. The scene was shot in a wider frame as it allows to capture the time when the murderer walking into the shower room and towards Marion. The curtain blurs out the murderer’s whole body and so you cant see who is the murderer and this helps to create a scary and exciting atmosphere which engage the audience.

After the murderer pulls the shower curtain across, the face of the murderer was still not reviewed and it was a shadowy figure, but you can just see someone who looks like a female character raising her right arm with a knife pointing down towards Marion. The murderer was dressed in an old fashioned dress which I think the character may be an adult who aged over 40. The way how to create the shadowy figure was a difficult task for Hitchcock at first, but he has figured out at the end and he rather uses Anthony Perkins who starred Norman Bates character, he uses a stuntwoman Margo Epper and by using make-up to darken Epper’s face, it helps to create the shadowy figure and the face was not reviewed to the audience. Then, the scene capture Marion turns around and saw the murderer and started to screen.The camera captures from Marion’s angle and you can see the shadowy figure and there are water coming out from the shower head at the front as well and I think this scene captures the realistic moment. After that, Marion tries to avoid getting stabbed, and I like how the scene changes from one scene of Marion and switches to the murderer and then to Marion again which follows the pace of the music as well. This motion changes allow the plot to flow as after a few shot of Marion trying to avoid being stabbed, at the end she get stabbed by the murderer. The camera then captures Marion still screaming and the shot was unfocused partly as it ensures that the audience would not be able to see the flesh color on Marion’s skin. But later, you can see the blood runs down the bathtub and mix with the water. Then, Marion was leaned against the wall and she was shocked and terrified. The way how Marion tries to pull the curtain to stand up is to show that she wants to ask for help, but unluckily, she was dead. I like the scene where the frame captures Marion eyes opening and slowly moving away from her eyes. The angle was slightly swirled outwards which I think is interesting and it is an iconic scene of how Hitchcock captures the scene. It is used to support further the scene previously where Marion’s blood flows down the plug in a circular motion which create an effect like a swirl and it symbolises that Marion’s life was twirling away which means she was dead. The scenes from ‘Psycho’ covey meanings behind and symbolism are being used to stand out and support the scenes even more. The music used in this shower scene was a soundtrack of high pitched screeching violins, violas and cellos and is created by Bernard Hermann which is named ‘The Murder’. I like the way how the  screeching sounds get faster when the murderer attacks Marion.

The murderer was later discovered by Lila who is Marion’s sister and Sam. The murderer Norman Bates and he is trapped in the persona of his mother as after he killed her and her lover, he adopted his mother’s personality as he feels guilty and he treated her like the way she was alive again. He kept her dead body in his house which was later found by Lila.

Psycho (1998)-  Shower Scene

I prefer the 1960 black and white version as I think the music gives a more scary effect as the screeching sounds creates an uncomfortable atmosphere. For the lighting, I prefer the black and white version as for the scene where the murderer’s face was shadowy and not reviewed to the audience, I think the 1960’s version portrays a more natural effect, but on the other hand, for the 1998 version, the face is just darkened and you can’t see the face which I think looks a bit weird and not very realistic. You can see Marion’s hairstyle were different and also the shape of the shower head as in 1998, modernism involved in society and it also influences how the film wants to portray a timing where it takes place in present. But comparing to the twirl scene from both versions, I prefer the 1998’s one as it captures the scene longer.


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