Essay On Psycho The Film

Monday, December 20, 2021 12:21:00 PM

Essay On Psycho The Film

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American Psycho: A Message on Consumerism

Consequently, the ambiance that is formed through the background, the light, music, actually sets the stage for the imminent dread. In other words, he believes that it builds the set, the ambiance for the visual narrative. In the case of horror films, Spadoni argues that both the narrative and dread are mere tropes used to construct the ambiance. Consequently, Spadoni states that it is a necessary but not sufficient condition to make a horror film. He points out that music has particular stylistic codes that create certain generic moments such as tension, danger, suspense, fright, and so on. The distinct music in horror films articulates the unique textual structures and emotional association that are easily ascertainable by the audience based on the cultural associations.

Further, the overemphasis on music in horror films makes them an integral part of the narration. In horror films, unlike popular cinema, music is loud and predominant. Instrumental music is predominantly used in horror films that mimics the cry of humans in pain, therefore, creating a psychological connection between the action and events. The startle effect in horror film music creates shock or surprise in a suspense sequence. Consequently, Tompkins argues that horror music can incite a range of emotional responses such as anxiety, dread, exhilaration, and so on, in the audience. A comparison between the articles by Spadoni and Tompkins shows that the atmosphere and music are parts of horror films as they help fashion audience expectation about the situation that may happen on-screen, or build an environment that shows the emotional and psychological narration in the scene.

My thesis statement is that there is a close relationship between the music and the set that helps generate a sense of suspense and dread in Psycho. The Gothic, Victorian house, the typical American motel help set the spatial differences in the three distinct spaces demonstrated in the film. The music again helps in accentuating the feeling of dread and suspense. I will discuss the paper based on the articles by Spadoni and Tompkins. Psycho is a unique example of spectator engagement where the viewer no longer sees the events in the film from the outside but becomes a part of the diegesis. This movie segregates the scenes into smaller sequences, so that the audience can internalize the psychological meaning of the actions.

Psycho is distinct from other classical horror films as Hitchcock employs greater explicitness in movies. Although, the mood set up in the film with the help of the production design, camera angles, and music helps generate dread and horror in the audience. The atmosphere created in Psycho of the Bates house is an example of expressive ambiance creation. Here, sexual repression is both the meaning and the mood of the film. On the other hand, the motel represents insatiate sensuality.

The sultry environment shown in the beginning of the motel scene is accentuated by the sweatiness, the bleached visuals, the half-nakedness of the characters which resonates unsatisfied desire. Further, when Lila enters the Bates house, the audience is unaware as to from where the danger is advancing. The audience is kept wondering whether it is originating in the front from Mother or from behind from Norman. The audience remains confused and is not in a position to comprehend the real direction of the imminent danger and therefore yield to the atmosphere.

The movie was also shot in black and white which adds to the eerie feeling. Hitchcock uses close ups of the actors, shot from odd angles to crete an uneasy feeling for the viewer. The scene when Marian is on her way down the highway after buying her used car, she is filmed driving towards destination but the camera angle is mostly a mid-shot of her view driving the car. After the murder of Marion Crane, the camera zoomed up close to the face of the victim giving the viewers a frightening view of a dead person. The bottom line is that a curtain flying back and a helpless women in the shower being slashed to death while violins screeched violently in the background made many young teens of the time fear their bathtubs and showers.

One of the greatest aspects of the movie was the endless string of plot twists and turns. Not only is the plotline immense, but it is full of unexpected events, degree turns and a myriad of suspenseful situations that keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Unexpected events keep the plot rolling along like Marion Crane running away and stealing money. The police officer that questions Marion when she was on the run built up suspense as it led the audience to believe that she might get caught with the dollars that she stole. The dinner with Marion and Norman before she was murdered gave the sense that Norman was a weird guy who stuffed birds. Plot twist such as Marion Crane being suddenly murdered and Arbogast, the detective, who was close to solving the case being unexpectedly murdered kept the audience guessing.

Janet Leigh plays an excellent role as Marion Crane, who is on the run with dollars in search of a new life. The fact that she makes a stop at the Bates Motel adds blood and gore to the movie to make the must-see horror flick of its time. Another thing that made Psycho stand out from other horror movies before it was the type of conflict that the film Horror films up to then had been mostly about man battling oversized or bigger than life monsters. This was just man against a little nerdy man. The horror movie audience was used to seeing people battling oversized, non-human creatures such as Godzilla, Dracula, Frankenstein or the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Psycho was one of the first movies to use a psychotic person as the bad guy in a horror context.

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