November 13th, 2010

I consider myself to be a big film-buff, so the fact that I’d never seen a film by Alfred Hitchcock was embarrassing. That’s why I was really looking forward to seeing “Psycho”. However, now that I’ve seen one of Hitchcock’s films, I don’t think I ever want to see another one again.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I thought the movie was bad (far from it). It’s just that it, for lack of a better term, scared me half to death. A very dear friend of mine said to me that Alfred Hitchcock was like “the Stephen King of that time.” Quite frankly, I can see why. The suspense that occurs on the screen, combined with Bernard Herrmann’s score, might be able to give someone a heart attack.
Speaking of the music, in my opinion, Bernard Herrmann’s score is one of the scariest elements of the film. As the professor said, the audience can’t hear any stabbing noises during the shower scene; it’s almost as if the music is what’s stabbing Marion. To be quite honest, the score really does seem powerful enough to stab someone; and, as we learned from “Written on the Wind”, sometimes music can appear to have an effect on someone’s death.
During the film, I noticed a lot of voyeurism. An obvious example would when Norman watches Marion through a peephole. Some not-so-obvious examples would be when Arbogast looks in the window while Sam and Lila are talking, and when Norman looks out the window at Sam and Lila arriving at the Bates Motel. Also, I agree with what the professor said, about how the audiences of a movie are voyeurs. I mean, we’re watching these characters, and they don’t know we’re there.
I believe that Hitchcock is an auteur, that there’s a uniqueness to his movies which makes it clear to the world that these movies are his. I don’t know exactly what it is, whether it’s the frequent use of shadows, or the chilling musical score, or even the numerous shots of birds. But I do know that there’s some kind of signature he leaves on all his movies.
Also, I consider “Psycho” to be somewhat legendary. According to the Thomson article, prior to the release of “Psycho”, movies made audiences feel safe. This was the first film to make audiences feel unsafe. According to another friend of mine, at the time of the film’s release, women were afraid to take showers.
Do you agree? Can this movie scare someone almost to death? Can music really appear to kill someone? Are film viewers voyeurs? Does Hitchcock leave a signature on his films?

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2 Responses to “Psycho”

  1. Charles Livingston on November 14, 2010 6:26 PM

    Alfred Hitchcock most definitely falls under the category of an ‘Auteur’. He leaves his mark on each and every one of his films. Although he doesn’t write his films screenplays, which I find to be a vital attribute to proper ‘Auterism,’if I’m watching a Hitchcock movie, I’ll know it’s Hitchcock. Whether it’s the suspense, Jimmy Stewart as the lead role, or a wild murder mystery, I’ll know he directed it. Much like Scorsese dominates the modern gangster genre, Hitchcock is the master of suspense. “Psycho” was a great film, one of Hitchcock’s best.

  2. davemaung on December 10, 2010 4:29 PM

    yeah he is an auteur for sure! i love how in the shower scene you technically don’t hear the stabbing, but i still swear that i can hear it. it is amazing how the music has that effect. the music and the cutting in that scene make you feel like you saw and heard much more than the film actually shows and presents to the viewer sound wise. it makes your head create more than what is there.

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