Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho: The Story of Norman Bates Essay

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Throughout cinema, there has always been space in our hearts for the gore and intrigue that come from horror films. Though they come with different plots, there remains “the monster”, the character that brings along disgust, horror, suspense, and even sympathy. In Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), our monster is Norman Bates, the boy next door. This was one of the first times in American cinema that the killer was brought home, paving the way for the future of horror movies. According to Robin Wood in “An Introduction to the America Horror Film” (183-208), Bates follows the formula of the Monster being a human psychotic. This is conveyed through his normal façade portrayed with his introduction, the audience’s ambivalence, the use of…show more content…
Though we are disturbed at the evil things he is doing, we feel a sense of sympathy towards him. We feel for him because of how his mother had treated him. We in turn teach our sub consciousness to start blaming the mother for all the murders that have been committed, just like Norman does. Both Norman’s façade of normality and our ambivalence towards his character verifies him as a quintessential psychopath. Norman’s psychotic ways are also revealed through Hitchcock’s use of motifs. His repeated use of birds have an underlying meaning of Norman’s dangerousness. His hobby is avian taxidermy and in numerous shots birds are displayed in the background. A shot of when the mise en scene evokes his eerie connection towards his hobby is in the parlor. The parlor is decorated with his stuffed trophy birds mounted on the walls or on stands - an enormous predatory, nocturnal owl with outstretched wings, and a raven. Both owl and raven are in frame lurking behind Norman and representing his concealed character. Like the owl, he is a predator, in full attack mode on Marian. He also doesn’t wait until the daytime to kill her, he slays her in the shower at night like a nocturnal psychopath. As if with the raven’s knife like beak, Norman murdered Marian, following in the footsteps of killing when it is easiest. Another figure that Wood describes to adding on to the psychotic

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