The film “Psycho” would have shocked the audience when the film was first released in 1960, and due to the well thought out story line and unpredictable ending, still would have the audience captivated in the year 2002. Hitchcock kept pushing the boundaries as to how far a horror film could go. This kept the audience in shock and excitement as this kind of imagery had never before been seen at this time. The nudity shown on screen would also have shocked the audience because normally at the time, (1960) the viewer would not be used to such graphic imagery, however mild it may appear to be today.
Hitchcock used many taboo subjects in his films and also graphic scenes. I believe that these scenes were very good at creating publicity and giving a very unique out-look on his work, as it seperates him from other directors. Hitchcock succeeds in creating suspense through-out the film “Psycho”, especially the shower scene. This would have to be one of Hitchcock’s most famous scenes.
Hitchcock wanted the audience to believe that Marion Crane was actually getting stabbed, but had to use limited effects due to censors and budget.
Hitchcock uses many filming and sound techniques to get the best sequence across to the audience, without making it too violent. Hitchcock used around seventy-eight different camera angles to achieve the best possible murder shot. He also used many different types of camera shots to add to the effect of the scene. Hitchcock varied the lengths of the shots, to give a more frantic feel to the scene, such as a close-up, closely followed by a medium close-up.
Another interesting aspect of the stabbing is the way the audience never actually views the knife penetrating the skin.
I feel that the scene was more effective without the actual stabbing as it made the viewer imagine what was happening. I believe that Hitchcock had a lot of dedication to his films, as he was willing to go through so many different stages and shots to get his point across, and create suspense and tention with not only the visuals but also the sound. Another part of the film which a modern day viewer may not think was very unusual, was the first scene, which showed Marion sleeping with Sam, despite not being married to him.
Normally in the 1960’s it would be considered as wrong for a woman to sleep with a man who she is not married to. This showed more evidence of Hitchcock taking risks and going against usual old fashioned morals. I strongly believe that this began mordernising the film industry. I have chosen to compare “Psycho” to,”Scream”, as I believe that both directors where trying to break out of the predictable horror movie cycle, which had been rampant during thses times. Scream” had a much larger budget than “Psycho”, and was released many years later in 1996. Since it was released in October of 1996, it has made over $86 million dollars, and two sequels have been released. Wes Craven (The director of “Scream”), is also famous for other blosckbuster movies such as, “I know what you did last summer”, “I still know what you did last summer” and “The mind ripper”. Craven has in each maintained a gripping dedication to the genre that he was made famous for, horror.
Craven is a modern day director and is therefore able to use things like sex, nudity and graphic scenes of violence, freely and without as many restrictions as Hitchcock. Who had to work around these problems. Craven also uses many unpredictable story lines and plots in his films to create suspense, just as though Hitchcock did in many of his films. Cravens films mainly consist of a killer, victims, a motive and without a doubt, fear. Horror movies in the past may have seemed to be very predictable, so an avid or experienced horror film viewer, would have some preconseptions of a teen horror movie.
As most modern teen horror films are usually predictable and have identical or similar story lines as those made previously. Many modern day teen horror films usually contain basic survival rules. Such as the main character remaining a virgin, and not drinking or taking drugs. These types of characters are mainly portraid as strong minded individuals, who only end up being killed if they take part in any of the previously mentioned activities. A lot of modern teen horror films contain phrases like, “who’s there? or ” I’ll be right back”, coincidentally if a person says them, they will inevitably be murdered. Craven abandons these predictable out comes in “Scream” when the main character, Sydney Prescott, loses her virginity, drinks and actually lives to be in the two sequals. These new ideas and abandoning old ways whilst bringing in new convention, create more suspense and leave the film very unpredictable to the audience.
Just as though Hitchcocks “Psycho” did. In conclusion I believe that without Hitchcock starting, what I would call a revolution in the film industry; by pushing the limits and using low cost effects to create a more realistic cinematic experience. The film industry would not be as decensortised as it is today. I also believe that Wes Craven plays a big part in modern day films as he is, like Hitchcock, inventing new and less predictable ideas, therefore challenging directors to come up with more inavative films.