Pyscho, a horror and thriller film directed by the renowned Alfred Hitchcock in 1960, represents the beginning of modern film making. Originally, Pyscho was a novel written by Robert Bloch based on a real-life serial killer named Ed Gein. Many of the main aspects of Norman Bates character in Pyscho can be traced back to this serial killer of the 1950s. Gein used to wear the skin of the females he killed to be more feminine after losing his mother, who he claimed was the love of his life. Having the basic storyline traipsing through his mind, Hitchcock brought this story to life through actors and actresses such as Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates, Janet Leigh as Marion Crane, Vera Miles as Lila Crane, and John Gavin as Sam Loomis. This film cost around 800,000 dollars to make but yielded a return of up to 40 million dollars. Along with film production expenses, the king of suspense himself was so dedicated to keeping the ending of the film a secret that he bought as many copies of the original novel as he could. Hitchcock was also said to have had all of the cast and crew members huddle up to swear an oath of secrecy to preserve the movies shocking end. With the preparation finished, Hitchcock then focused on how to produce one of the most well made films in American history.
One of the most brilliant elements of Pyscho is Hitchcocks ability to build suspense and have it lead nowhere. This technique allows the audience to get comfortable enough in order to be thoroughly shocked when the suspense actually leads somewhere. His use of light is another key element of the film, particularly when he uses shadows on Norman Bates face to indicate a possible draw to the dark side. These shadows are seen when Norman is talking to Marion Crane, a new resident at the Bates Motel, as he tells her that, We all go a little mad sometimes. This line cleverly hints to the viewers that Norman may not be as far away from mad as they think. The most iconic scene in the whole film is the famous shower scene, where Marion Crane opts to take a shower in the Bates Motel only to get murdered in cold blood. The genius behind this scene is that it took Hitchcock two weeks and 31 different angle types to make. He defies the well-known 180 degree rule of film in this movie several times, but this scene lead him to shoot through walls that opened up on set for camera angles no one had seen before. Taking risks was Hitchcocks strength and it only made Pyscho a better made film that paired well with its superb plot line.
Throughout the film viewers may find themselves sympathizing and rooting for the evil characters, which is exactly what Hitchcock intended. Hitchcock makes the viewers question their decision making, something that is scary within itself and does not help to ameliorate the films thrilling plot. The true protagonists, Marion and Norman, are seen doing immoral things such as stealing money and covering up murders. The way that these two characters stories intertwine and come together is remarkable and the chemistry between Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins is gripping. Throughout the film Hitchcock nearly forces viewers to cheer them on because of the way he films the movie and his unique perspectives. His unique perspectives are also what covers up the shocking end where we find out that Norman Bates may not be who he says he is. Anthony Perkins does an amazing job at capturing not one, but two different roles, as he juggles between Normans multiple personalities. His awkwardness and his twitches in his facial muscles represent who Norman is while his other quirks show a different side to him, one that is revealed at the films culmination. Hitchcock and his actors do a fine job in bringing this story to life.
Hitchcock does amazing things in this film that still cannot be explained nearly 60 years later. This includes the first shot of the film where he resists cutting while going through a window and into the room of Sam Loomis. He also defies the social norms of the time period, shooting the first toilet ever to be shown in a movie and showing more skin than many of the other directors of this time period. Hitchcocks genius still leaves many dumfounded today and you can be sure that every director of the modern era tips their hats off to him for opening the door to the modern world of film. Hitchcock surprises viewers, using elements of life that are seemingly safe, such as the shower, and turning them into vulnerable places that many audience members grow to fear. His impact on viewers may have been one of the greatest of all time, especially due to the time period, through his ingenuity filmmaking wise and his boldness. Hitchcock is great at pushing his viewers into the shoes of the characters in Pyscho. He also uses techniques that were well before his time. His artistry and ability to grab the viewers attention, whether it be through suspense or technique, is what made me fall in love with this film. For anyone who loves a good thriller or simply loves a well-made and classic film you should definitely go to see one of the movies that changed the course of the film industry, Alfred Hitchcocks Pyscho.
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