Monday, September 5, 2011


            Psycho is an original and unique, a black and white Alfred Hitchcock movie, which was terribly remade by Gus Van Sant (in color) after 38 years in 1998. Even though, the remake of Psycho has almost the same things in common with the original movie (physical features of the characters, camera angles), it’s not a show of Hitchcock’s, to make the movie black and white in 1960. Considering the technical features of the movie and to see the 38 years older version is better, we can understand that how a director could make a bad movie or a good movie. The main reason of making the movie black and white is to summon the audience into the movie and to increase the element of stress. This is the movie that started the cliché of shower scenes in movies. And as most people know, this shower scene had been recorded in one week. It’s one of the best transitions in the cinematic history when the camera switches to Marion’s eye from the bathtub’s hole. I think it could compete with the transition scene when the camera switches to the space shuttle from the thrown bone by the Ape in 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s also a nice detail that water flows reverse of clockwise.

                I don’t want to pass by this movie by a couple sentences but adding more details and being aware that many people already know all of these routines. But still, it’s a nice movie to talk about.

                Before seeing the first scene, we’re already aware of the stress of this movie while being shocked by the theme music. It’s not just made up by closer notes as usual in horror movies. We can surely say that the maker of this music is a schizophrenic person. The storyline appears as something so simple –as usual in other Hitchcock movies, but there are many details in hidden symbols. For a simple instance, while Marion puts 40.000$ into her purse when she goes to work, she seems extremely comfortable and she doesn’t have an idea, like to steal the money. When it converts to the next scene, we see her with a black bra and we simply understand that she’s got the idea of stealing the money and the camera zooms-in to the money-case. However, her bra in the first scene was a white bra. A similar example to this, Norman has a hobby, like filling the dead birds, and says to Marion: “You- you eat like a bird.” (Bird means “woman” in English slang).

                In the audience’s mind, the story starts to be formed simply, from here. We watch the Marion’s trip and we understand her feelings from her mind (her visions while on the trip). In fact, Hitchcock affords to bring this scene in longer sequences is about the idea of becoming a whole with Marion and not knowing anything about what’s going to happen next- as she doesn’t know. It’s an element we always see in Hitchcock movies that feeds the stress. The Breakpoint happens when Marion goes into the Bates Motel, because of the rain. Marion doesn’t see anyone in the office and look up from the window and see a duplex house. There is a woman’s shadow in the second floor’s window. The thing we should pay attention here is that the house symbolizes the Norman Bates character. The mother figure in the second floor is superego, the one that lives a normal life in the ground floor is ego, and the basement is id. As a matter of fact, only scene when Norman becomes wild is to be seen in the basement.

                Notwithstanding, Norman watches Marion from the hole in the wall, which he’s made, and goes to his house. He hesitates on going to upstairs and stays in the ground floor. Marion thinks about what she’s done at the moment and felt remorse. She’s going to try to get rid of her personal trap, as she’s told Norman. Suddenly, the fateful shower scene happens to be done. Marion Crane is stabbed and murdered by Norman’s mother. If we approach the event from the mind of Freud –and we obviously should, we could say that the knife is the reified form of the rape. The one who murders is superego. Couple minutes later, Norman yells like: “Blood! Blood!” and runs to the room and starts cleaning as a little child who wants to cover up his mother’s fault. Henceforth, the audience becomes a whole with the Norman Bates character. Until that scene, the style of Hitchcock’s at the working of the story makes the audience think like, “I’m watching a woman’s adventure, who’s stole her boss’ 40.000$ in order to get married with her boyfriend.” When Marion Crane dies, the audience is purely shocked. After that scene, the movie starts containing stress and horror elements, and it keeps turning around by the detective jumps into the story.

1 comment:

  1. This movie is a classic. Thank you for talking about it.

    Have a nice day.