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Alfred Hitchock

            Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, made in 1960, is one of the most widely recognized horror films to date. Working around the tight constraints of censorship laws, Hitchcock managed to create a film that marked a massive change in American cinema, being one of the first films to depict violence and sexuality in a graphic way. The infamous shower scene in Hitchcock's Psycho exemplifies perfectly this dramatic shift in mainstream cinema, and however cliché it may be, I have chosen it as my scene for formal analysis and will attempt to discuss how it contributes to the film's overall meaning. .
             Whenever someone speaks about the film Psycho, the first image that comes to mind is that of Janet Leigh being hacked to death in the shower. The scene is so famous that even people who haven't seen the movie are aware of it, or at least of the shrieking music accompaniment by Bernard Hermann. After watching it again, I was quickly reminded of how shocking such a scene would have been to audiences of the early 60's, let alone audiences of today. Hitchcock's innovative use of cinematic principles and methods is what I believe made this scene so dramatically successful, and has inspired the thoughts and writings of film critics even today.
             The shower scene where Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) is murdered comes at about forty minutes into the film. It begins with Marion stepping into the shower and proceeding to clean herself. Hitchcock uses the camera strategically during the initial part of this scene, giving the audience a view of Marion from every angle of the shower, essentially to relieve the audience of the confining effects of film. Hitchcock didn't want to hide anything from the audience, but rather create an environment that would be calming for them, thus intensifying the actions that were to follow. I also found Hitchcock's choice to leave out any sort of instrumental score quite effective during this segment of the scene.

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