How Did Psycho Build Suspense

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Building Suspense Through Music and Camera Angles Some of the best horror films out there are the classics, the ones that not only set the standards for all other horror films, but inspired them. Psycho (1960), directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, and Janet Leigh, is one of those classics. Psycho begins realistically - the audience is introduced to Marion Crane, a young woman working in a real estate office who, while leading an average life, is unsatisfied. She has money worries just as her lover, Sam, does. She wants to marry him, but is unhappy with their "cheap" relationship. Because of her frustration, she ends up giving into impulse. She runs off with $40,000 that she is supposed to be putting…show more content…
One example of this lies in one of the film's most notable scenes, the shower scene. When Marion is in the shower, a figure appears to come into the bathroom. However, from the cameras angle inside the shower, the audience can only see the distorted outline of the figure through the curtain (Psycho). This camera angle adds a great deal of suspense, because while the audience are able to see that someone has come in the room, they are unable to see who it is and are anticipating what they believe is going to happen. While still watching from this angle, the shower curtains open to reveal the person who entered the room, and the figure then "appears to be stab, stab, stabbing us - the victimized viewer!" ("Psycho (1960)"). From this angle, it is as if those in the audience are getting stabbed themselves. Finally, Marion is shown being stabbed multiple times, with the camera angle changing in rapid succession from one shot to another (Psycho). However, although multiple different shots are being shown, the audience is still not able to grasp a solid picture of the stabber. These camera angles during the stabbing scene add to the suspense because of the anonymity they allow the

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