I decided to do this essay on Psycho, mainly because it has been the only one that I have seen. Another reason I selected it was I believe it was the beginning of the great horror movies today. It had the camera angles, sound effects, and lighting that helped make the movie believable and my imagination run wild. Considering that the movie only cost $800,000 to make, any other horror movie would cost hundred of millions of dollars.
It had been said that Hitchcock wanted the shower scene to be silent, but it was scored and Hitchcock changed his mind. Once I thought about that I realized that the whole movie could have been very different without sound in the shower scene. It just helped give that extra element of surprise. Especially since, it was the one of the first horror movies to use sound in this manner.
I believe it was these sound effects and what they used to create these sounds that helped change the way things are done today. One example that I am referring to is the sound of the knife penetrating the flesh is actually the sound of a knife stabbing a casaba melon. The shower scene took over 7 days to shoot and involved 70 camera setups for a 45 second scene. From the following website http://www.houseofhorrors.com/psycho.htm Hitchcock used 70 different camera angles intermixed with quick cuts to emphasize the brutality of the act, yet the knife is never seen penetrating the victim. Its effectiveness is in what is perceived to happen and not what is shown on the screen. All of the days and work placed into a 45 second scene, which if sound had not been used could have been just another 45-second shower scene. Today every movie uses sound effects using different ideas and technology to create the perfect sound.
One other great feature of a classic great film is doing something that no one else has done before. Hitchcock did that with having the first toilet shown and flashed in a film. Just think how many thousands of films have had toilets or someone using a toilet since Psycho. This is just a humorous example of a funny fact, but still shows that the first always has to start somewhere.
I had mentioned that earlier the lighting and camera angles used to help you believe that there actually was a mother. The back angle and the window scenes all had a lot to do with believing in the path that Hitchcock was taking you on. The shock and realization of what is really going on, and yet I still was not quite sure what was happening.
Granted I have not seen the movie in many years, and I was unable to view it before I started this essay. It is still amazing that I can remember the events that happened in the film. If you where to talk to anyone that had seen the movie, no matter how long ago, I bet they would be able to picture much of the scenes I spoke of. This is what I believe makes a great movie, when everyone can remember the same scenes and the greatness of them to the movie.