Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho has been commended for forming the archetypical basis of all horror films that followed its 1960 release. The mass appeal that Psycho has maintained for over three decades can undoubtedly be attributed to its universality. In Psycho, Hitchcock allows the audience to become a subjective character within the plot to enhance the film's psychological effects for an audience that is forced to recognise its own neurosis and psychological inadequacies as it is compelled to identify, for varying lengths of time, with the contrasting personalities of the film's main characters. Hitchcock conveys an intensifying theme in Psycho, that bases itself on the unending subconscious battle between good and evil that exists in everyone through the audience's subjective participation and implicit character parallels.
Psycho begins with a view of a city that is arbitrarily identified along with an exact date and time. The camera, seemingly at random, chooses first one of the many buildings and then one of the many windows to explore before the audience is introduced to Marion and Sam.
Hitchcock's use of random selection creates a sense of normalcy for the audience. The fact that the city and room were arbitrarily identified impresses upon the audience that their own lives could randomly be applied to the events that are about to follow.
In the opening sequence of Psycho, Hitchcock succeeds in capturing the audience's initial senses of awareness and suspicion while allowing it to identify with Marion's helpless situation. The audience's sympathy toward Marion is heightened with the introduction of Cassidy whose crude boasting encourages the audience's dislike of his character. Cassidy's blatant statement that all unhappiness can be bought away with money, provokes the audience to form a justification for Marion's theft of his forty thousand dollars. As Marion begins her journey, the audience is...