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An Analysis Of How Narrative And Genre Create Meaning And Response In The Sequence Starting With Marion Crane’s Arrival At ‘The Bates Motel’, Ending With Her Murder In The Shower In Psycho By Alfred Hitchcock

1960 words - 8 pages

Psycho was a defining film for the slasher genre. It represents a prototype in the horror movie, being one of the first mainstream productions in which the "˜monster' was physically human rather than a gothic or supernatural entity; A transition from European mythology to a contemporary American context. This issue was especially pertinent at the time because of the story of Ed Gaines. A seemingly regular man from the Southern states of America who was found to be digging up corpses, and using them for indecent acts, making household furnishing like lampshades, and other despicable purposes. It is likely that the story of Gaines inspired "˜Psycho'.It is interesting looking at Psycho and the way it took from traditional horror conventions familiar to an audience, such as the resemblance of Bates' house's resemblance to the castle of Dracula. Then the way in which it lent to future developments in horror. The eventual protagonist: Norman Bates, a character loosely based on the aforementioned Ed Gaines set up a stock character which is seen in an evolved form of some sort in all slashers since. It wasn't until 1978 when "˜Halloween' was released by John Carpenter. This was the first release, that used the blueprint created by "˜Psycho', to achieve the high success that slasher films now attain. It took the human monster and rather than putting it in isolation put it right in the middle of the familiar setting of suburbia, tapping into a very conscious fear. "˜Psycho' was a hybrid of crime/detective and horror, "˜Halloween was a hybrid of the slasher sub-genre and teen drama. The hybrid and its success have become a major part of the current system Hollywood use to sell films. A hybrid that is repeatedly successful will become reasonably formulaic, and hence become a sub-genre. This is a part of innovation in production. It works from the basis of a mutual understanding between the director that an audience's enjoyment is based on them seeing recognisable and innovative elements in a film.The classic Hollywood narrative structure is an equilibrium, which is broken, creating a dis-equilibrium, which through the course of the film will be resolved to create a new equilibrium. Generally this involves a literal or metaphorical journey through a passage in the life of the given protagonist(s). Psycho deviated from the classic narrative in that it followed the pattern bellow.second Equilibrium > Dis-equilibrium > new equilibrium > New Dis-Equilibrium > new equilibrium The audience is introduced to Marion Crane as the protagonist. They follow her journey, in which she steals a large sum of money from a man depositing it in the bank she works at. The deed done, she takes flight. An expectation is set up that this self created dis-equilibrium will provide its resolution in a conventional fashion. Simply that either she escapes with the money, or she gets caught. However the audience are also aware that as the...

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