Saturday, 28 January 2017

Intro to Texturing (Networks - X-Ray Shader)

Intro to Texturing: Networks (Double Sided Shader)

Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock (1960)

Psycho (1960)

The film Pyscho is an American psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1960. The film was written by Joseph Stefano and was based upon the novel by Robert Bloch.

Fig 1. Pyscho (poster art)

The film starts with high angle shots panning across tall buildings, giving us a birds eye view of the city:  "The shot pans across many skyscraper buildings, and after a series of numerous dissolves, randomly chooses to descend and penetrate deeper into one of many windows in a cheaper, high-rise hotel building - the window's venetian blinds narrowly conceal the dingy interior. There, the camera pauses at the half-open window - and then voyeuristically intrudes into the foreground darkness of the drab room. The camera takes a moment to adjust to the black interior - and then pans to the right where a post-coital, semi-nude couple have just completed a seedy, lunch-time tryst." (Dirks T, n.d)

Fig 2. Pyscho (film still)

The use of non - diegetic sound coming from the violins is immediately noticeable. This sound has become associated with the 'classic horror movie' and was originally used in this film. If the sound was taken away from the narrative, it would decrease the levels of intensity and horror. "I found the audio more terrifying than the shadows or camera angles or murders. The screeching of violins at a rapid pace made me uncomfortable to a point where I turned off the volume on my television for a few seconds." (Weebly. n.d)

Although sound plays an important part to this film, so do the camera angles. Many of the camera angles were placed in front of a characters face for long periods of time, this is known as a 'close up'.
This angle helps  the viewer to solely focus on the characters emotion. Hitchcock not only did this but he also added to this tension by having the characters thought process played over the top of what they were doing. Many of these thought  processes, especially from the character Marian foreshadowed what was to come. In doing this, the audience are provided with information.  

Hitchcock also made sure that the character's "point of view" was prevalent through out the film. This helped the audience see the story from different perspectives and allows us to enter the mind of the character. "The camera used to shoot Norman's point of view as he watched Marion undress through the peephole required a circular mask on the lens." (Nixon R,  20/03/17)

The film was set in black and white, this protects the audiences from the bloody and gory scenes and is an attempt to make them feel more comfortable.  "Hitchcock has said that one reason he shot Psycho in black-and-white was because he thought the bloody murder might be too much for audiences. He used chocolate syrup as the blood swirling down the drain. Nevertheless, some audience members swore the scene was in color and that they saw red blood."  (Nixon R,  20/03/17)

Fig 3. Psycho (film still)

The shower scene is one of the most famous scenes in the history of horror film.   For the modern audience member, the scene is still uncomfortable and confusing to watch.
"the shower sequence, in which Janet Leigh is slashed to death. Comprising over 70 shots, each lasting two or three seconds, it has become one of the most infamous moments in horror movie history. Mixing fast cutting and Bernard Herrmann's screeching music, Hitchcock created a brilliant illusion of gore, violence and nudity – while actually showing very little." (Hodgkinson W, 29/03/10)

Hitchcock managed to place the viewer in Marian's shoes so that they experienced the horror personally for themselves: "I believed that knife went into me. It was that real, that horrifying. I could feel it!"(Hodgkinson W, 29/03/10)

Surprisingly this film was the first to video someone flushing the toilet, this would have been taboo in 1960.
"Psycho also broke all film conventions by displaying its leading female protagonist having a lunchtime affair in her sexy white undergarments in the first scene; also by photographing a toilet bowl - and flush - in a bathroom (a first in an American film)..." (Dirks T, n.d)

Interestingly you'd think that the main character of the story was Marion, but you soon later learn that the main character is actually Norman Bates. This is not what was expected. Bates, the hotel keeper seems like a normal and pleasant guy but underneath this exterior is a split personality.  When committing the murders, he adopts the persona of his dead mother who he believes is responsible for the crimes.

The audience remain unaware of  this until the end of the film and it is delivered as a shocking twist to the whole narrative. This is opposite to the way in which Hitchcock directed the film, 'Rope', where he gave the audience clues and information throughout. This time we had to do the thinking for ourselves!

Illustration list

Figure 1. Pyscho (poster art)
(accessed on 28/01/17)

Figure 2. Pyscho (film still) (accessed on 28/01/17)

Figure 3. Psycho (film still)
(accessed on 28/01/17)

Dirks T, (no date) Pyscho (1960) In: amc film site [online] At: URL: (accessed on 28/01/17)

Hodgkinson W, (29/03/10) Secrets of the Pyscho shower In: The Gaurdian [online] At: URL: (accessed on 28/01/17)

Nixon R,  (20/03/17) Behind the Camera on Psycho In: Film Article
[online] At: URL: (accessed on 28/01/17)

Psycho 1960 (Film)

Weebly. n.d Psycho Music In: Hitchcock [online] At: URL: (accessed on 28/01/17)