The 1960s film Psycho directed by Alfred Hitchcock was groundbreaking and continues to influence film making to this day. The film has been credited as being the foundation for modern day horror films and launching the “slasher” sub-genre. Alfred Hitchcock was known as the master of suspense which definitely proved to be true through all of his movies, especially his most influential film, Psycho, which surprised the audience with shocking bursts of violence and provocative sexual explicitness thus changing cinema forever.
Although it may have not been his best film it became one of his most successful. Psycho was a change in pace for Hitchcock. Movies directed by him usually consist of a wealthy protagonist in an exotic location. Unlike any of his other films, none of the main characters in Psycho were wealthy, of course until Marion Crane stole the forty thousand dollars from her job, but other than that it was very different from his usual work. Another difference in Psycho was that it took place in Phoenix, Arizona and small towns in California like Fairvale, rather than places like Paris or Mount Rushmore shown in Hitchcock’s other films. Even though movies shot in color, which were raved about, were becoming more popular than movies shot in black and white during the time period Psycho was made, Hitchcock went against the rest of the movie making industry and did something very unusual, especially at the stage his career was in.
Although his reasons for shooting in black in white was partly a money issue and majority because he thought the famous shower murder scene would be too graphic if shown in color, it was genius of him to decide to do so. The lack of color set the tone of the movie. Shooting Psycho in black and white helped in adding to the sense of mystery and horror.
Hitchcock was one of the most powerful directors of that time; however, many movie studios like Paramount declined his offer to fund Psycho because of the film’s potential for controversy from the risky content it held. Hitchcock even contemplated on splitting the film into two parts to air on television in case he could not find the money to fund it or if it would not have been allowed to be released. Unfortunately, Hitchcock was never able to secure financing for Psycho from a movie studio, so he had to personally fund this project. The budget for Psycho was eighty thousand dollars. Included in the budget was buying the rights to the novel, which Hitchcock did anonymously.
Sex and violence were ready to break through the censorship standards and be introduced into the film industry and Psycho helped in achieving that. Although it tested strict boundaries, the film was released without receiving a certificate of approval from the Motion Picture Production Code. Psycho became an instant hit, thus weakening the authority of code. Many things were different during the time period that Psycho was made. Even though everyone uses a toilet daily, no toilet was ever seen...