Thursday, 21 January 2016

Script to Screen - Psycho

Alfred Hitchcocks, Psycho 1960. A cleverly disguised murder mystery mixing the paradigm of a embezzlement movie with the fright and psychological thrills of a horror. “Hitchcock deliberately wanted “Psycho” to look like a cheap exploitation film”. rogerebert. But movie goers would have been shocked and stunned to watch as the seemingly lead character gets slashed and brutally murdered in the first third of the film. Hitchcocks ability to lead and manipulate the viewer with his camera work and narrative exposition, in to thinking they are understanding the plot, only to be shocked and thrilled when the development of the film is exposed and the real lead character is carried forward. “This is one of the most audacious substitutions in Hitchcock’s long practice of leading and manipulating us. The rest of the film is effective melodrama, and there are two effective shocks.” rogerebert.


The ability to manipulate his audience, was due to the meticulous level of attention that was used throughout the films camera work and aesthetic, applying the same level of perfection to the sub plot as was used for the main. “This is a completely adequate setup for a two-hour Hitchcock plot. It never for a moment feels like material manufactured to mislead you”. NYTimes. But it does.

Hitchcock is a master of cinematography, and Psycho seems to provide shot after shot of symbolic imagery, producing tension from the full framed head shots of the Policeman and Private detective (Fig. 02) , dramatic slasher multi- cuts and angle changes (Fig. 03) to the low viewpoints emphasising the eeriness of the rickety old house overlooking the movies main stage (Fig. 04)

                               (Fig.02)                                            (Fig.03)                                             (Fig.04)

From the Clever camera work of “Rope” providing a seemingly continuous flow of viewing, Psycho is a master class in the realm of editing and effortlessly flowing from one shot to the next, depended  that have been used ever since by film makers and artists 

Though Psycho is iconic for the first slasher movie, and must of been a shocker in 1960. There does seem to be a lack of blood in these somewhat disturbing scenes, suggesting that situation and artistry are more important than graphic details.



•  (Fig. 01)
•  (Fig. 02)
•  (Fig. 03)
•  (Fig. 04)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mark,

    Ok, you have noted some interesting points here - good.

    A few technicalities... always make sure that all you quotes are in italics (you have missed half of the first one)and that you put the reference after the quote in brackets. You also need the date the quote was written, so in the case of Roger Ebert, you would have (Ebert, 1998). Likewise, the film names should also be in italics, and if you are going to mention another film, as you have done with 'Rope', you need to include the date in brackets after that too. You should assume that your reader knows nothing about film, so it would be good to write something like this as an introduction -
    'From the clever camera work of Hitchcock's other thriller “Rope” providing a seemingly continuous flow of viewing...'

    Make sure you check your formatting too - your text has shrunk dramatically towards the end :)
    You need to have another look at the referencing guide, for details on what you need to include in your bibliography...see here -