Psycho (1960)

Psycho (1960), directed by Alfred Hitchcock, is a phenomenal thriller explaining the life of Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) as a psychopathic serial murderer. Right from the beginning of the film Hitchcock chose to use very loud thrilling music to catch the audiences full attention. I do agree with this choose to create the perfect hook for his audience and start the film off in such a chilling way. The beginning of the film is very simple with the use of sequencing of long shots and medium shots to show everything going on with all the actors. One thing I do tend to see with a lot of films prior to 1970 are that most scenes the camera follows the actor wherever they go depending on who is speaking. The development of using proper sequencing was not yet there in the 1960’s in my opinion. Any great film today has proper sequencing and the actor is not followed unless the directors intends for this to happen for a reason. A good use of sequencing during this film was when actress Janet Leigh arrived at the car dealership and was looking at license plate numbers. As she walked along cut aways of three license plates were used so the audience could see what she was seeing and trying to decide on what she was going to do so she could get away without using the same vehicle she arrived with. During this film many fades are also used to go from one setting place to the next which is exactly what fades are meant for. Fading from one scene to the next is mainly used to go from one town to the next in a film or to go from one day to the next. Hitchcock used this wisely to from day to day in the film and to show the traveling from city to city with actress Janet Leigh. Another great use of fading was the fade from black to reveal the bates motel sign in the film after Leigh had been driving in the rain storm for some time. The windshield wipers continued to go back and forth with the rain and she couldn’t see anything because of how dark it was until the sign appeared out of the darkness. Many directors will use a fade from black to reveal many different things in films whether they are simply signs or even to create jump scares in horror films. There were a few scenes in the film that stood out to me the most and really made the film what it was to fully show how much of a thriller the film was. The scene where Janet Leigh is murdered by Anthony Perkins was very vivid and was filmed perfectly for a 1960’s thriller. The way this scene is made by the director is by jump cuts from the actor’s eyes widening to her lips screaming and then to Perkins stabbing her. An amazing transition is used after the murder of actress Janet Leigh. The drain in the tub in zoomed in on and then transitioned to her eye in a spinner motion as if the water is still circling the drain to soon reveal her face on the floor dead with 2 tears running down her cheek. No light is shown upon Perkins because Hitchcock did not want his audience to know who the main killer in the film was yet. He decided to use the backlight lighting technique to take away the actor’s identity which helped keep his audience at the edge of their seats frightened to know who exactly the person was conducting the murder. Many lighting techniques are used in thriller films to scare the audience by making them want to lean just a little closer to the screen to possibly see the person could be. I believe Hitchcock used this technique in his film in a great way and wouldn’t change it at all. The death of the detective during the film seemed very odd to me and the scene could have been filmed differently. After being stabbed he falls down the stairs and it was shot in front of him as he fell and seemed as if he was floating and not stumbling down. It really could’ve been shot better with a wide shot showing the entire staircase and him tumbling all the down to his death. The scene then could have been closed simply with a fade to black to create a good continuation of the film. Matching action is very key in a movie and its only noticed mainly by film critics and film makers. When it comes to matching action a film maker may forget to make sure a set is the same it was just before starting the next scene or continuing with shooting the film. As actress Vera Miles enters the home near the end of the film she never closes the door when she entered, but when Anthony Perkins comes back up after knocking out actor John Gavin the front door is closed suddenly. This is poor matching action by the director to make sure the door was still open in the next scene of Anthony Perkins coming back up to the house. As far as the audio throughout the film Hitchcock used it greatly to his advantaged during the film with loud thriller themed music. Examples of this during the film are; When Janet realizes that her boss has walked by her while she still has the 40,000 dollars from the customer and suspense/panic music begins to play to get the audience on the edge of their seat to see what happens next. Also, when Janet is woken up by a cop she is terrified and wants to drive away immediately but can’t without him asking for her license and registration. After he finally lets her go it seems as if he is trying to follow her and the music picks back up again. The audio is reasonably very blaring in this film. The main reason I believe that Hitchcock used such loud and blaring suspenseful music was to get his audience to jump and be very afraid of the murdering going on throughout the film and to be scared in certain small points in the film.

The actors in this film did a very good job for a thriller film like Psycho. Actor Anthony Perkins hid his identity as the killer during the film in a great way by changing his moods easily but also showing that there was something odd about him throughout. Janet Leigh also played a great role in this film trying not to be suspected as the thief of the money. The scene where she is killed she truly does look dead hanging off the edge of the bathtub in such a stationary form so the director to get the full shot of zooming out from just her eye to reveal her death. All supporting actors did their jobs well and I didn’t think they lost character at any point during the film. As for director Alfred Hitchcock I applaud him greatly for such an amazing film. There are remakes and even a television show, Bates Motel, which is based on the film he directed which means that he did a good enough job to catch the eye of film makers today and make a show out of his great film. Although the show doesn’t really bring in the scenes from the originally film until season five it still really goes in depth of what really was going on in fictional character Norman’s head and explained why he was killing people. With the film being considered a thriller I would give it four out of five stars for telling a well written story and it is a well-known thriller that is still talked about to this day in the film industry.