Date of publication: 2017-09-02 11:00
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Psycho was Hitchcock's first horror film and from then on he's been known as the master of suspense. He was the creator of the MacGuffin, something that drives the story, he used sharp violins to create suspense, while the audience let their own minds create the rest.
But the expert is flat and unconvincing, and supposed to be. It 8767 s much better when he finally shuts up and we go to Norman himself or is it just 8775 Mother 8776 now? for the real answers. She 8767 s as harmless as a stuffed bird, she insists, and people will soon see that. 8775 They 8767 ll see, and they 8767 ll know, 8776 she thinks, with prim satisfaction.
The trailers for Psycho featured Hitch addressing the camera from the forecourt of the Bates Motel, taking us on a guided tour of Cabin 6, including the toilet, and impishly yanking back the shower curtain to reveal Vera Miles screaming. That was all audiences had to go on, and it was enough. More surprisingly, the secrets of what happens in that bathroom and the gothic house on the hill above the motel were kept for a long time as critics and customers honoured Hitch s request not to reveal the shock twists. How long does a film s mystery remain now, when spoilers are on the internet before the picture s even made?
The universe is random, 8775 Psycho 8776 said movies can be just as capricious. Ironically, it took Hitchcock, the most meticulous of directors, to embrace the modern moral chaos and throw down that artistic gauntlet. Very few filmmakers since have dared pick it up.
The murder sequence has been analyzed endlessly, and incorrectly, both for what it supposedly shows (Leigh actually used a body double for all the blurred 8775 nude 8776 shots) and what it supposedly doesn 8767 t (despite Hitchcock 8767 s assertions, there are a few frames where you can see the knife begin to cut her). But it 8767 s far more disturbing for what it means.
Or why, as many critics have noted, does Marion come from Phoenix, and is her last name Crane? Why does Norman keep a stuffed owl in his office, or is Marion 8767 s room full of pictures of songbirds? Why, watching her peck at a sandwich, does Norman observe, fondly, 8775 You eat like a bird 8776 ?
It has been hailed as everything from the first modern slasher film (although 8775 Peeping Tom 8776 came out the year before) to the first Hollywood movie to feature a shot of a toilet. Its then-unusual method of financing (Hitchcock paid for, and owned, the film himself, using the studio strictly for distribution) would become the standard business model for George Lucas decades later.
Once in the room we see Marion laid on the bed half naked which was unheard of in films of the 65's let alone being in the room with a half-naked man that she isn't married too. Even the implication of sex was a taboo in films.
For audiences, though, 8775 Psycho 8776 marked an even larger turning point. For here was a Hollywood movie which, quite flagrantly, refused to follow any of the Hollywood rules.
Horror as a genre holds many codes and conventions of its own that psycho portrays for example the big house in the middle of nowhere and obviously the rain. Things like this are aimed to create fear, to deal with things from nightmares, to elicit suspense, which was the aim for Hitchcock's films.
Marion is in her hotel room waiting for Norman when she hears arguing between Norman and his mother. She becomes concerned as Norman comes down looking nervous and stuttering. He doesn't want to enter Marion's room for fear of upsetting his mother he even found it difficult showing her around the room because he feels uncomfortable with being alone in a room with her, especially showing her the bathroom which he can't even say because it's even more uncomfortable being in a room where people are naked.
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The movie not only refuses to provide answers, but it also mocks those who bother to ask. A sturdy private detective goes looking for Marion and ends up slashed and careening down the stairs. Marion 8767 s sister, Lila, snoops around, even finding a strange album in Norman 8767 s bedroom but Hitchcock cuts away before we can actually see inside.
The father and finest of all the slasher movies is back. And if you 8767 re one of the rare lucky ones who haven 8767 t seen it yet who doesn 8767 t really know all the twists it contains go see it now and join us online later. This is a movie where surprise is just as important as suspense.