Thriller Essay

Essay by 12_12_1993High School, 10th grade September 2009

download word file, 4 pages 0.0

Everybody gather around, I have something important to talk to you all about.

A thriller is a film or novel in our case it is a film characterized by the hasty scuttle of emotions and exhilaration that pursue the storyline sometimes subtly with peaks and lulls and other times at a steady prompt pace.

Ladies and Gentlemen, cast and crewmembers, I envisage my new movie “Psycho” to meet this definition to the T. Basically in a nutshell this movie is a quirky story about lust, jealousy and one obscure incident. It contains a troubled hotel manager, his partly present mother and an ill-fated woman who is also caught up in another storyline as well.

I have decided to use a cinematic device called a Mac Guffin. For those who don’t know what this is it is the thing or device that motivates the characters or helps propel the plot into action.

To relate this device back into our movie the Mac Guffin will be the $40 000 in which Marion embezzled from her boss Mr. Cassidy, but this is where a twist comes in Marion is brutally murdered less than half way through the movie, this theft then become a secondary Mac Guffin.

I have thought long and hard about the music that will start off the movie and I have decided upon on in which Bernard Hermann wrote. It is a brilliant score comprising on just string instruments. The music seems to be running away from something, panicking a subtly hint at what is coming.

Now to one of the scenes I believe will be one of the toughest scenes to master both theatrically and through all the staging. This scene is the parlour scene. The mis-en-scene in this scene is very detailed, using props, lighting, sound, camera angles and camera shots.

The scene begins with what seems a well-intentioned invitation from Norman Bates the hotel owner to Marion crane the only hotel guest to come into his parlour (located at the back of the office) for something to eat.

The parlour is only a very small space, barely large enough to fit two lounge chairs, a chest, and a coffee table. Located on the coffee table is a lamp which is the only source of lighting within the room. There will be a framing shot as they enter the parlour together.

While Marion is placed in bright lighting, Norman will literally be kept in the shadows. The backgrounds of either character are in contrast too. In reference to the dark furniture behind Norman well this is another subtle hint to the audience that Norman is hiding something, and has an ulterior motive The main prop used in this scene will be the birds of prey. In a sense these birds are trapped, just like Norman.

Whenever Norman is within a shot, the camera will tilt at a slight upward or downward angle, depending on the subject matter in which he’s talking about. At first, when he eases himself into conversation with Marion, the camera will tilt upwards, suggesting that he has more authority over Marion. However, when Marion asks about his mother, the camera will tilt down upon Norman. Reflecting the power his mother has over him.

The other scene I believe will be very challenging to master is the shower scene, where Marion is brutally murdered whist in the shower by a person who cannot be seen. This is the most violent scene of the movie.

The scene will start with a calm equilibrium, although I want an uneasy feeling a tension you could say to be present. The beginning of this scene will start with Crane just getting into the shower. Nothing appears odd yet; she is just taking a shower something we do everyday making this scene more of a thriller. There is no suspenseful music, only common noises that would happen to anyone such as a bath robe or a towel hitting the floor or water spurting out from the showerhead. This is more suspenseful because with thriller films, music indicates actions that will or is occurring.

While Marion is in the shower the camera angles are will pan from her and to the showerhead. These two items are the emphasis. As she continues to shower a shadow appears on the shower curtain, which is also a lighting technique that is used within the scene. When the person opens the shower dramatic music plays, a very common item in thriller films, illustrating a significant point.

The person is showed but the lighting makes it so their face is never shown adding to the dramatic irony. The person who has a knife starts to stab Marion. While this is occurring extreme camera angels are stressed. The camera becomes focused then unfocused. In addition there will be close up’s of both the victim and the killer.

Simultaneously this should make the audience feel emotion whether it is disgust or fear from the stabbing. After she is definitely fatally wounded, the killer will leave with Marion Crane in a bloody pool. The music is gone after she tries to stand up and instead she collapses. While this is occurring the showerhead is shown.

To end this grotesque scene the drain in the shower transforms into Crane’s eyes, which has tears slowly forming in the ducts. The camera is moving back from Crane to see the after effect of the death.

It is almost eerie how the scene ends how it begun with the emphasis on the shower head and just everyday noises that we all hear when doing things such as showering or bathing.

So what are we all waiting for, we have a movie to produce Marion and Sam into position, lights, camera, action.

BibliographyMcgilligan, Patrick. Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light. New York: Harper Perennial, 2004.

Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho: A Casebook (Casebooks in Criticism). New York: Oxford University Press, USA, 2004.

Psycho (Collector's Edition). Dir. Alfred Hitchcock. Perf. Janet Leign. DVD. Universal Studios, 1960.