Parlour Scene Psycho Analysis

Topics: OtherPsychosis

The following academic paper highlights the up-to-date issues and questions of Parlour Scene Psycho Analysis. This sample provides just some ideas on how this topic can be analyzed and discussed. The novel by Robert Bloch adapted into Alfred Hitchcock’s benchmark thriller with Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh. It portrays the story of Marion (Leigh) crane as she drives across the states, with 40,000 dollars she stole from her boss, to her lover Sam. Before she can get there the twisted Norman Bates (Perkins) murders her.

When there is no word from her, her boss hires a private detective to tack her down, after a tiring search the detective Milton Arbogast comes across the Bates motel and discovers that Marion has been there.

After lingering for a while Arbogast decides to search the motel and the mansion behind it, as he enters the house he climbs the stairs only to be murdered as well. After Arbogast fails to return Sam (the lover) and Lila (the sister) become suspicious that he has either stolen the money or has disappeared under the same circumstances as Marion.

The pair decides to pay a visit to the motel. Sam distracts the nervous Bates as Lila goes in search of mother Bates only to discover she is a stuffed body being held in the cellar of the mansion; Norman then bursts in followed by Sam, Bates is dresses in his mothers clothes, after being subdued he is arrested and taken to a psychiatrist where he is diagnosed as having a split personality as his mother and himself.

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The final shot is the cars of his victims being dragged from a swamp behind the motel.

Hitchcock surprises the audience in several ways: Firstly he kills of Marion the main character leaving us with no one to empathise with; we are however quickly turned to start to empathise with Norman as he apparently is left with the burden of his sick mother. Finally we empathise with Sam and Lila as it his lover and her sister that has disappeared. Hitchcock uses a lot of techniques to build up the atmosphere of particular scenes such as the use of shadows and light and dark. When Norman has the parlour scene conversation with Marion she is bathed in light whereas half of Bates’ face is in light and half is in dark to show the split personality, however in later scenes we see him in pure white light as he is portrayed as the innocent son.

There are a lot of scenes where he is half and half in light and dark. When the dead mother is discovered Lila hits a hanging light that causes shadows to move across the face almost making it look like the eyes are moving. Hitchcock makes the sense of a trap by always having his characters moving around cautiously of very fast and aware of their surroundings like in the parlour scene Janet Leigh allways has her eyes surveying the area, Bates and all his stuffed birds that signify the mother having power over him as the birds are in a towering position.

The camera movements he uses are also very clever because in the shower scene when the water goes down the plug the camera rotates clockwise and then we have an extreme close up of Marion’s eye and the camera goes out spiralling anti-clockwise. It also dwells on her body for a while to really bring to life that our main character is gone. He manipulates the audiences viewpoint by giving people the first person view like when she is driving the car we have a third person shot. In the shower scene we have a first person view, she looks up to the showerhead and is “washing away her sins” so to speak because she looks so happy about it.

The sound effects and music he uses are also very fitting, Hitchcock asked Bernard Herman to compose it entirely with a string orchestra to give a more shrill striking effect when the murder takes place. In some scenes however there is no music like when she is confronted by the policeman and in the parlour scene prior to the shower scene. Anthony Perkins portrays Norman Bates perfectly, He gives a very strong impression of the edgy cautious Norman.

He starts to be empathised with by the audience because of the terrible burden of his mother. His character does however develop from the innocent used son to the cruel hostage to his mother. Janet Leigh is portrays the damsel in distress because she is tied up with Sam, wanting to marry him, this probably drives her to steal the money and ever since she becomes a lot more wary and cautious on the doomed trip to Fairville. When she is in the parlour with Bates she realises she may be able to piece her life back together and be forgiven but sadly it is too late has she is murdered!

In the shower scene first we see Marion rush to the toilet to dispose of her notes on the forty thousand dollars and flushes them (unsuccessfully). As she turns the shower on she seems happy that she can return to Phoenix and sort out her affairs. The door opens and the killer emerges completely shadowed but the figure of an older woman is obvious it is orchestral silence until the curtain is drawn back when the screech of the string orchestra and Marion’s scream pierces the air. Because no music has played prior to the scream you feel the trap has closed in the time before you only hear the shower. It seems with every stab a chord is played on the strings.

When she is killed we see the water go down the drain which is ironic as her life really has gone down the drain, at this point we are startled as we have no one to relate to. There is no music after the attack, as she slides down the wall she reaches out and pulls the curtain down, it is silent until we see the money by the window and the house as Norman Bates shouts as his mother ” oh the blood mother the blood.” The other scene I have analysed is when the dead mother is discovered in the fruit cellar after Sam has confronted Bates. Lila finds herself going down into the fruit cellar as Bates runs upstairs in search of her. She wanders through the room and finds Mrs Bates she runs up to her and says ” oh! Mrs Bates!”

And at that point the horrible stuffed figure of the woman is exposed. Lila screams and hits the hanging light just then Norman bursts in dressed as his mother the orchestra starts the murder music again, thankfully Sam bursts in at that point and subdues Norman in a great struggle. We are left with a high angle shot of the room and the shadows moving across Mrs Bates’ face as if her eyes were moving. My personal opinion is that psycho is and was a benchmark thriller with one of the most gripping horror scenes ever filmed. This truly belongs as one of the best films of all time.

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Parlour Scene Psycho Analysis. (2019, Dec 06). Retrieved from

Parlour Scene Psycho Analysis
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