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Filmmaker's Use Of Shock In Psycho And Jaws

1835 words - 8 pages

Shock is a feeling of fascination and excitement mixed with anxiety, tension, suspense and surprise developed from an unpredictable, mysterious, and engaging source of entertainment (Merriam-Webster). Shock can occur whenever there is a perceived suspended drama, with tension, suspense or surprise being the primary emotions felt by the audience as part of the situation (Dirks). However, the term is most often used in regards to an audience’s perception in dramatic works such as film.
One often experiences a sense of shock in film due to the filmmaker’s ability to manipulate technical elements such as sound and camera angles in order to elicit feelings of suspense and tension from the ...view middle of the document...

Moreover, Hitchcock’s films are integral to the history of film, as they are often considered to have pushed the boundaries of mainstream cinema given Hitchcock’s use of the language of film in new, imaginative ways.
Hitchcock’s notable 1960’s thriller, Psycho, is a clever blend of artistic and Hollywood elements. Given the blended composition of this voyeuristic film, one does not have to be aware of the subtle Hitchcockian touches that make Psycho an artistic treasure among many New Wave critics. The terrifying simplicity of the story and compelling visuals create a jolting effect for any viewer unaware of the sinister goings on beyond the surface of the story.
Throughout this film, Hitchcock uses suspense and tension to shock his audience by using various film techniques such as camera position, angles and movement. Hitchcock's camera positioning places the viewer at end of the action from the first shot which features a couples rendezvous in a hotel room through an open window. The camera later allows audiences to witnesses Marion undressing through a peephole as well as the violent shower scene, which compels viewers to intently watch for any glimpse of nudity that the quick editing might provide. This infamous shower scene engrosses the viewer with guilty glimpses that reveal nothing inappropriate yet continue to entice audiences to watch. Furthermore, this scene horrifies audiences with its brutal stabbing, which is seemingly viewed from the killer's point-of-view. The vulnerability and nakedness of a common shower as a murder scene is a cleverly positioned event meant to involve and effect the viewer to full capacity.
In addition, Hitchcock uses ominous lighting and music to further shock his audience and create suspense in this scene. As the Marion is showering, through the translucent shower curtain, one can see the door open. With her back to the shower curtain, the audience can spot a shadowy figure coming from behind. Suspense is further amplified as tension builds at the prospect of the figure harming Marion. The most shocking part of this scene occurs when the dark figure suddenly tears the shower curtain open and shrill high-pitched music begins from sharp shrieking, violin strings. The shrill music plays a large part in creating shock and absolute terror among audiences during this scene. In addition, Hitchcock’s use of silhouettes increase the shock of this scene, as the audience cannot see who the killer is, thus making one feel tense and terrified for her. As a result of this meticulous planning, Hitchcock’s use of suspense is still effective today as it creates anxiety caused by partial knowledge of something (Nicol). This creates a sense of shock for audiences, as they know something is going to happen but they do not know what or when (Nicol). Surprisingly, no matter how many times this scene is consumed by viewers, it continues to engage and horrify audiences with its brilliant elements of shock in its pursuit of...

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