Film Review - Psycho

Release Date - 1960
Director - Alfred Hitchcock.
Genre - Thriller, Slasher, Horror, Mystery.

Psycho when first released would have revolutionised cinema, both technically and in terms of content. At the time of its release Psycho was viewed in certain circles as a rule-breaking, wildly explicit film, dealing in brutal murder, sexual situations, and themes involving Norman's complex and transvestitism (never mind it was also the first time a flushing toilet was seen on film). Stephen Whitty talks about the impact on audiences and Hollywood "For audiences, though, “Psycho” marked an even larger turning point. For here was a Hollywood movie which, quite flagrantly, refused to follow any of the Hollywood rules." (S.W. 2010) Although these elements are not nearly as shocking in the twenty-first century, Hitchcock's Psycho remains a miraculous motion picture of bravery and innovation. It is no wonder it consistently ends up on any and sometimes at the top of the list of all-time horror greats. Owen Gleiberman boldly states "You could easily claim that Psycho, more than any other film, is the movie that changed movies —" (O.W. 2012)

A perfect film to study various uses of editing, Hitchcock handles the passage of time very efficiently. When Marion leaves the room, we realize that it’s still that same day. She goes to work, collects some money she’s supposed to put into the bank and goes back home. All that happens in one particular afternoon, and the time frame doesn’t change. We return to her room. There is no need for dialogue, we know what she’s thinking when her desperate eyes land on the envelope. After she decides to run away with the money, the editing becomes more and more interesting.

A fairly minor thing to mention would be the use of whites and blacks, when we first see Marion Crane she is in all white, underwear to clothing (fig.2) then once she steals the money and plans to flee with it she has changed, all black (fig.3). Possibly a subtle hint at her innocence before she let her inner darkness out. Hitchcock conveys an intensifying theme in Psycho, that bases itself on the unending subconscious battle between good and evil that exists in everyone.

when you first see Marion, all white. proceeds to wear a white outfit to work.

After Marion steals the money and is packing.

There is one scene which is the most iconic, one where you've more than likely seen it in a parody by either The Simpsons or Family Guy, Fig.4 showing The Simpsons remake of the unconventional but now classic twist, where the main character is murdered early on in the film. Craig Johnson also mention this unconventional occurrence  "The movie was groundbreaking in several technical ways, but also startled audiences as becoming the first major film to kill off the protagonist -- in 30 minutes no less." (C.J. 2014) Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho was released in the summer of 1960, and in the half a century since, it has become the rare movie in which every image, detail and motif is now more or less iconic.

The Simpsons spoof of the iconic shower scene

Illustration List - 

Figure One - 'psycho-bluebird - Film School Rejects Film School Rejects' (1960) From: Psycho.
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock [Film Poster] United States: Paramount Pictures
At: filmschoolrejects.com

Figure Two - 'marion-crane Images - Frompo - 1' (1960) From: Psycho.
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock [Film Still] United States: Paramount Pictures
At: images.frompo.com

Figure Three - 'Mark Rappaport 2 : Requited' (1960) From: Psycho.
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock [Film Still] United States: Paramount Pictures
At: requitedjournal.com

Figure Four - 'simpsons-psycho-7f09-rasca-pica-y-marge.jpg' (1960) From: Psycho.
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock [Film Still] United States: Paramount Pictures
At: sushasushasusha.wordpress.com

Bibliography - 

Gleiberman, Owen (2012) 'As 'Hitchcock' arrives, here's a look back at the mystique of 'Psycho' 
From: Psycho In: http://insidemovies.ew.com 24.11.12 [Online] 
At: http://insidemovies.ew.com/2012/11/24/a-look-back-at-the-mystique-of-psycho/ (Accessed on 21.01.15)

Johnson, Craig (2014) '8 unnerving facts about that 'Psycho' shower scene" From: Psycho In: http://www.hlntv.com 31.10.14 [Online] At:http://www.hlntv.com/article/2014/10/29/psycho-shower-scene-facts (Accessed on 21.01.15)

Whitty, Stephen (2010) 'A ‘Psycho’ analysis: Alfred Hitchcock’s spookiest movie brought with it the end of Hollywood innocence' From: Psycho In: http://www.nj.com 31.10.10 [Online]
At:http://www.nj.com/entertainment/movies/index.ssf/2010/10/a_psycho_analysis_alfred_hitchcocks_spookiest_movie_brought_with_it_the_end_of_hollywood_innocence.html. (Accessed on 21.01.15)

1 comment:

  1. Very nice Becky :)
    Just make sure you italicise the titles in the bibliography consistently - you have missed the one by Johnson :)