How did Hitchcock create fear and tension in the original audiences of Psycho before they entered the cinema and whilst they were watching the film?

Essay by JakSmitHigh School, 11th gradeA, April 2004

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In the late 1950s, early 1960s people could enter the cinema at any time they wished. People were also able to move seats throughout the film and talked for the whole duration of the film. This was a bad atmosphere for watching films as not everyone was concentrating on the film. Psycho changed this and the way that films were shown for ever. Hitchcock had to work within the environment to create a new cinema experience; he changed things that he thought needed changing. He had to create a simple plot that would not need the audience's full attention, by having a strong contrast between the murder scenes and the rest of the film he was able to capture the audience's undivided attention at the moments that mattered most.

Due to there being no ratings for films shown in cinemas at the time, the censorship was very harsh. This meant that film makers could not show nudity or extreme violence.

This is why Hitchcock created both murder scenes with out showing any gore at all. It may also have been one of the contributing reasons why he decided to shoot the whole of the film in black and white despite colour films becoming popular, as in black and white the film would seem less violent, another reason for the decision to show the film in black and white was that Hitchcock had a limited budget to work with.

With televisions not in every household; going to the cinema was a common activity, especially in the United Kingdom.

More than one feature was shown at each showing at the cinema; for example, a news broadcast was shown to update people about the latest events. People were able to view any of the features that they wished. This changed with Psycho, Hitchcock...