The notion of watching and being watched treads predominantly in the film Psycho as Hitchcock painstakingly employs various film techniques to heighten the voyeuristic effect, especially that on the film audiences. As a thriller and at times a mystery film, these techniques reinforce and invoke anxiety, fear and suspense within the plot of the story. The sense of surveillance, interrogation and scrutiny, is also highly intensified by symbolic elements and images of harrowing, jet black hollows that serve as recurring motifs in Psycho.
The film kicks off with a voyeuristic motion of the camera as it pans across the vast city landscape and moves slowly and intrudingly into a single hotel window, creeping under the Venetian blinds to reveal a couple in the midst of a private make-love session. Here, Hitchcock launches his manipulation by turning the audience from innocent sightseers overlooking a scenic city panorama, into peeping toms or private agents who sneak into the private domain of others, spying and peeking without a right of their own. Hence, the theme of guilt emerges; the audiences feel a prick in their conscience as they behold the secret meeting between the two lovers. .
The same sense of guilt will recur later in the film when we are being thrown into Norman Bates" perspective as he looks upon Marion changing out of her clothes perversely through the peephole in the wall. In this sequence, the voyeuristic play of the camera works on two different levels, the audience is able to gain double scrutiny of the same event. First, the tight close up of Norman's face and eye establishes the audience's sense of watching. The audience witness him peep at close proximity, feel disgusted yet anxious while looking on at Bate's disturbing behavior. However, the next cut to Bate's perspective pushes them into the misdeed itself. Their involvement in the film as voyeurs is sustained through Hitchcock's use of sound as well Hitchcock himself reveals, "The sounds come louder, as if we had our ears pressed against the wall.