Week 7 Blog Post

Not only is the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho one of the most famous scenes in all of hollywood, but it also helped shape the modern genre of horror and suspense. Hitchcock was so ahead of his time in terms of suspense and tension, and his films greatly support that statement. This shower scene, in particular, is a prime example of the mastery Hitchcock has in crafting and editing horror scenes. Janet Leigh’s character is first seen in the shower, and several shots of decent length are strung together slowly to perhaps show the audience that not all is right. Then the silhouetted figure is revealed through the shower curtain. The scene still progresses slowly, but suddenly, the audience can feel the rising tension. When the shadowed figure draws the curtain, all the tension is relieved as the figure begins to stab away at Leigh with a knife, and the eerie music is cued. Instantly, the audience sees a contrast in the length of the shots; during the build up, they are long and drawn out, once the shower curtain is drawn, they alternate back and forth between the shrieking Leigh, and the shadowed figure. Hitchcock creates this sudden change of pace within this scene to freak the audience out, and to traumatize them. Almost similar to the baptism murder scenes in The Godfather, where the murders happen so quickly to instill a sense of trauma, Psycho also shows the death of Janet Leigh’s character in such sporadic speed, that the audience is left confused and bewildered, especially since it was the main protagonist that was killed less than halfway through the movie. Now imagine how this scene totally went against all of the Hollywood “code” of the time, and how it really inspired a break from the normal framework of plot in the horror and suspense genre.

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