Exploring How Hitchcock Creates Tension in Psycho
The film Psycho directed by Alfred Hitchcock is a horror movie about a
girl called Marion being dramatically killed in Norman Bates’s motel.
It was made in the 1960’s and still considered extremely scary because
of the techniques Hitchcock has used such as lighting, sound tracks,
costumes, the use of colours, weather, camera angles and music.
Hitchcock has been described as “the master of horror movies” because
he has perfected these techniques by using them at the right time and
place; also he has shown a lot of experience of making horror movies
within the other’s he has made.
Hitchcock used the plot to build tension. He relaxes us at first by
starting with a love scene, where Marion is in her underwear in a room
kissing with her boyfriend which leads us into a thought that it’s
going to be a romantic film with a happy ending. However, as the film
goes on so does the track of suspense which makes the audience feel
Hitchcock’s manipulation of soundtrack constructs tension at many
points.. Hitchcock has used this technique in the film in the shower
scene. While Marion was in the shower there was no music except for
the sound of the water and suddenly the music is loud, crashing and
brings terror to the audience as the murder occurs. This use of
soundtrack makes the audience comfortable at first and as soon as the
loud music comes in, it makes the audience fell menacing which makes
us jump but always acts as a contrast to the sharp music.
Hitchcock uses the costumes to be shocking and sometimes makes the
characters scary. For example he has used this technique for the
police man. The part of his costume which showed up the most was his
large black sunglass which makes him look inhuman and also hides his
eyes which means his reactions are slightly unknown. This makes the
audience nervous because we don’t know his reactions to Marion’s
expressions. So we think that the policeman is ready to catch Marion
with the stolen money or he’s going to just leave without questioning
her too much.
Hitchcock has used the technique of dark colours and lack of lighting
to stop too much brightness. He chose to make the film monochrome even
though colour was available so that it will make techniques such as
weather duller and not too bight like it’s a happy day under the sun.
Hitchcock has used this throughout the whole film to make shadows
clear, such as those dead birds in Norman Bates’s office. This use of
technique hints that the motel Marion has arrived at is not completely
normal due to the weird hobbies Bates has and the strange kind of
people who live in the house. This makes us wary that Marion is not in
a safe place and doesn’t have a chance of leaving...