Alfred Hitchcock's Creation Of Tension And Suspense In Psycho

2839 words - 11 pages

Alfred Hitchcock's Creation of Tension and Suspense in Psycho

'Nasty, skilful and clever'. This is how one critic described Psycho
at the time of its release. He/She recognised the film's obvious power
over the audience, and its ability to manipulate emotions and
responses. 'Psycho' is an excellent example of how tension and
suspense can be created, and how they can improve a film tremendously.
Hitchcock uses all the classics horror codes (old houses, weather,
dark, etc.) together with several tricks of his own, camera shots and
angles, and twists the plot structure to create a very effective
atmosphere an to produce a classic film. The mise-en-scene, the
low/high angles, the clever lighting, the close-ups and the general
style have been reproduced in many later films.

Three sequences that demonstrate the techniques Hitchcock uses to
create tension and suspense are Marion's drive up to the motel, the
'Peeping Tom' scene, and Lila's walk down to the cellar.

The scene in which Marion drives up to the motel comes quite early on
in the film. At this point the audience are expecting a crime film, as
Marion has stolen $ 40,000, has been stopped once by a policeman,
changed cars, and is in the process of making her getaway. All these
things suggest a crime film. The scene consists of two shots, the road
and Marion's face; and alternates between the two.

The scene starts in daylight with a shot of Marion's face. The road at
this point is fairly busy and is in a seemingly quiet and civilised
neighbourhood; it does not arouse fear and tension, on the contrary,
in fact, it is almost a little too relaxing. The voices of various
people we have met so far, the policeman, the car dealer, etc. are
being played, talking in pairs about Marion, and her crime. These
voice-overs are being played as Marion's thoughts. Of course she
cannot know what these people are actually saying, and neither can we,
but her evident guilt and anxiety is causing her to imagine the
conversations. In each of the situations the characters come closer to
finding out the truth. This makes the audience become tense, and
produces a feeling of suspense, as, due to our experience of crime
stories, we know that if the individuals she has left behind find her
out, she will be in big trouble. We are waiting to see if they
discover the secret, and we are concerned for Marion.

The first pair, the policeman and the car salesperson, are bemused and
intrigued by her, their curiosity having been harmlessly aroused by
her strange behaviour, so we are not particularly concerned by this,
but the car dealer ends by saying ' The only funny thing, she paid me
700 dollars in cash…'

This cliffhanger type ending makes us tense, and as we are not told
what happens after this, especially so. After this we have another

Find Another Essay On Alfred Hitchcock's Creation of Tension and Suspense in Psycho

The Dynamics in Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window and Psycho

706 words - 3 pages watched"(Griffith 76).According to Cyndy Hendershot in her Journal of Popular Film and Television article The Cold War Horror Film: Taboo and Transgression in The Bad Seed, The Fly, and Psycho, "Psycho represents Hitchcock's most explicit connection to the horror genre and his most blatant attempt to use transgression as both content in a film and as a marketing strategy"(Hendershot 20). Although we can regard Psycho as a film of the horror genre Rear

Film Analysis: Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho

1133 words - 5 pages Running water, a high-pitched scream, shrill violins, pierced flesh, a torn curtain, gurgling water: these were the sounds that gave a whole new meaning to the word "horror" in the year 1960. With enough close-ups and cuts to simulate the feeling of a heart attack, the notorious shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho serves as the ultimate murder sequence in cinematic history. What makes the scene so frightening isn't so much the blood or

Alfred Hitchcock's Specific Audience Reached by Psycho and The Birds

2646 words - 11 pages murder scene As with "Psycho"," The Birds" also produced similar results in the sense that it created tension and suspense before reaching a climax. I think Alfred misleads the audience at the beginning of the film when "love birds" are mentioned; this is in fact totally opposite to the behaviour of the birds later on in the film. I am looking at one scene in particular which is probably the most famous scene of

The Creation of Tension and Suspense in Othello by William Shakespeare

2594 words - 10 pages The Creation of Tension and Suspense in Othello by William Shakespeare “Killing myself, to die upon a kiss”. These are Othello’s last words, as he commits suicide and dies next to his wife. After ironically killing her himself at the end of Act 5. Othello was written in 1608 a time when the Ottoman Empire was at war with the Venetians. Othello is a tragedy because of the deception and betrayal of Iago which causes many

A paper written on Alfred Hitchcock's psycho

1047 words - 4 pages Vertigo how the staircase was a place of drama.Even though picking Alfred Hitchcock seemed like a very cliché choice, I am very eager to watch his films and learn more about him. I have always been curious what all the hype surrounding him was about and whether or not it was deserved.I know you said not to include Vertigo, because we watched it in class, and I'm not using it as one of my main movies. I just used it in this paper so I would have some movie to compare Psycho to. Just thought I would put that in.

Creation of suspense in "The Man Who Knew Too Much": directed by Alfred Hitchcock

1235 words - 5 pages Creation of suspense in "The Man Who Knew Too Much": directed by Alfred HitchcockAlfred Hitchcock is one of the most famous filmmakers of all times. His work and name will always remain know throughout all generation. Alfred Hitchcock is synonymous to fear, terror and mostly suspense. His outstanding cinematographic techniques and unique story telling ways are the main creators of this phenomenon, who is able to keep an audience in suspense

Suspense and Tension in The Others

2436 words - 10 pages Suspense and Tension in The Others In the film "The Others", there are three scenes, which are particularly good because they show different types of shots, how the director controls the audience and various other features. Also featuring in these scenes is how music along with shots creates tension in a scene. The director Alejando Ameriabar also has techniques where he is in control of the audience this is very

Suspense and Tension in Charles Dickens' The Signalman

1585 words - 6 pages Suspense and Tension in Charles Dickens' The Signalman In the Charles Dickens' story the narrator meets the signalman who is confessing to him his problems. The narrator comes every night to find out that the signalman was seeing a ghost of a man, who was pointing out that certain train accidents are going to happen. After a few days the narrator goes peacefully to the signalman's shed, and finds out that he

Tension and suspense in "The Red Room" - H.G Wells

1095 words - 4 pages baize-covered door and stood in the corridor" - This shows that he's scared to move until he can convince himself that he is alone.Language the author uses -H.G. Wells uses a lot of great writing techniques to add tension and suspense with the use of metaphors, similes and personification of the darkness, shadows and fear. "My candle flared and made the shadows cower and quiver. The echoes rang up and down the spiral staircase, and a shadow came

How Writers of 19th Century Stories Create Tension and Suspense

2253 words - 9 pages How Writers of 19th Century Stories Create Tension and Suspense The writers in 19th century stories create tension and suspense through the use of gothic horror. This style of writing is designed to frighten and panic and cause dread and alarm. It innovates our hidden worst fears often in a terrifying, shocking finale, while captivating and entertaining us at the same time in a cathartic experience. Horrors effectively

Dualism in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho

1459 words - 6 pages The characters in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) each have a dual nature that is masterfully portrayed through character development and use of mirrors throughout the film. The very first shot in Psycho is zooming in from an open view of the city where it is a bright and sunny day. As the shot zooms in further and further it comes into a dark and shaded room that shows Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) and Sam Loomis (John Gavin) having an affair

Similar Essays

Tension In Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho Essay

2829 words - 11 pages Tension in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho When Psycho was first released in cinemas in 1960, audiences all over the world were shocked. They were shocked that something as sexually explicit, for that era, was being screened in hundreds of cinemas. Although audiences of the modern day are used to violence and sex scenes, the audiences of the 60's reacted in different ways. Some people viewed Psycho as a cinematic brilliance

Hitchcock's Tension And Suspense In The Film Psycho

1403 words - 6 pages Hitchcock's Tension and Suspense in the Film Psycho Of all of Hitchcock's films "Psycho is certainly the most critically acclaimed. It is thought of by many as 'genre-defining' and it certainly introduced many of the popular horror conventions used by filmmakers today. It is about a young woman named Marion who has stolen money from her employer and plans to run away with her boyfriend. On her journey she stays in a

Tension In Hitchcock's Psycho Essay

2339 words - 9 pages Tension in Hitchcock's Psycho Hitchcock produced 'Psycho' in 1960. It was a groundbreaking film as it was the first American motion picture to feature a toilet being flushed. Also, Janet Leigh was shown in her underwear on more than one occasion, and, during the famous shower scene, it's possible to see hints of flesh. Hitchcock used the media to sell his film to a younger, fresher audience. The poster for this

Suspense And Tension In Film Psycho

2313 words - 9 pages Suspense and Tension in film Psycho Alfred Hitchcock 1960 horror film ´Psycho` is one of the most celebrated and scary films of its time. Hitchcock’s psychological thriller, psycho was and still is the mother of all modern day horrors. It cost Hitchcock around $800,000 to make the film. Psycho broke all film conventions by showing a leading lady having a lunch time affair in her underwear and also in the shower scene it