Psycho Shower Scene Analysis

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Analysis of Shower Scene in Psycho

Psycho Shower Scene Introduction

Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) is encountered between two characters, Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) a secretary and Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) the owner of the motel. Psycho starts with a title which is sliced up into halves from the middle, which depicts the split personality of Norman, who has been portrayed as psycho in the movie. The title is a reflection on his character. Psycho starts with showing the city of Phoenix, then the buildings and cars are shown from the top angle and then the camera pans to the window which is half closed , this also reflects the duality and shows that something suspicious is going to happen.

Inside the room Marion is shown wearing a white underwear. In the next scene when she steals money from her employer and gets back home, she is then shown wearing a black underwear, which shows the difference between purity and evilness, because in white underwear she was shown pure, but after she steals the money, the black underwear signifies that she has done a crime and her sin has replaced her purity, and stealing money also shows an authority , as she got what she wanted and now she has control on things.

And when she runs away from her home after stealing money, we see her wearing black dress, bag and shoes. Moreover her car was black as well portraying everything as evil. This beginning scene holds a grip on the audience which makes them stick to the screen.

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Murder of Marion in the shower scene

Psycho’s crucial and important scene is the murder of Marion in the shower, which is known as the ‘Shower Scene’. 77 camera angles are featured in this scene, and most of the shots are close ups and extreme close ups. When Marion enters the bathroom, everything is shown completely white, which shows purity, where as Marion is not pure so it signifies that she is taking a shower to clean all of her sins Then the scene starts continuing in different shots and camera angles which shows that something is about to happen, and then there is a silhouette shot of Marion which signifies that things are going to go on a darker side from white. The use of close shots is to make the scene feel longer and more subjective. There are some mediums shots, which are shot before and after the murder, the reason they are not shot between the murder is to show violence and to make the audience feel as they are seeing a murder in reality and while the murder is happening, the audience can feel the helplessness of Marion, and that she is in danger and needs help but there is not one to help her, so audience feel like going into the scene and help her out. Hitchcock is famous for using these kind of shots to make the audience go crazy and feel the reality and here comes the suspension of disbelief which makes the scene more interesting for the audience. The murder ends with a medium shot where blood is pouring into the drain of the tub which shows the end of Marion’s life.

Meanwhile, the use of close up shots of the eyes to show the emotions and the nature of the character that the audience could feel. These eye shots are the key shots of the film and nicely used as motif, and the eye with close up is a perfect way to show the goal for violence act. For example after the murder, when we see the blood draining into the drain of the tub, the drain transforms into the eye of the victim, who is lying dead on the bathroom floor. The shots of mirrors are also repeated couple of times to show the mirror image and the dual personality of the character. Birds have been used as a motif, be it stuffed birds in the parlor or the frames in the motel room, this signifies that Marion who came in the motel, she was not less than a stuffed bird on wall or a frame, who could not fly back ever again, as she was murdered by the psycho man. Even when Norman was taking her dead body out of the room, the frame falls down, which shows the end of her life. The car was also used a motif, it was Morain’s death that was calling her into the motel and it was the car that took her into it. Then the use of low angle and high angle shots through out the course of the film as a motif to make audience feel comfortable and uncomfortable in different situations throughout the movie. In the last scene, when Norman is shown in the jail, we see that he is clad in a black blanket portraying him as a villain and wicked facial expressions on his face shows the evilness of his character and that he is not guilty of what he did, infact he was a truly psycho man. The movie ends with the last scene where we see the car carrying Morain’s dead body emerging out of the water, which has been used as motif throughout the film.

Psycho Shower Scene Conclusion

In a nutshell, Hitchcock has done an amazing job with Psycho’s mise-en-scene with the mixture of camera angles, lightening and editing, and the use of these elements from the beginning till end, and the contribution of these all have added sense to the concept, as the use is justifiable and gain audiences interest.

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Psycho Shower Scene Analysis. (2018, Jan 28). Retrieved from

Psycho Shower Scene Analysis
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