A film which fits into the category of the “murder mystery” genre is Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic 1960 film: ‘Psycho’. ‘Psycho’ is one of the most famous and game changing films in the history of cinema so, I thought it would be a great idea to see what techniques such an amazing film used to portray the mood and theme of the murder mystery genre. Here is what I found:
- The camera is always very close to the character. Personally, I felt like I was fully immersed in the story and what Hitchcock was trying to convey in each scene. Shots like reaction shots and extreme close ups of individual body parts of the characters are extremely common in this film and if I’m honest, I really like the effect it gives. I wouldn’t want the audience to feel like they are just watching the action from a distance but, instead to be fully immersed in it and to feel like they are actually there. I think this is one of the reasons why ‘Psycho’ scared a lot of people: they felt like they were in the film themselves. Hitchcock even explained this:
‘The point is to draw the audience right inside the situation instead of leaving them to watch it from outside, from a distance. And you can do this only by breaking the action into details and cutting from one to the other, so that each detail is forced in turn on the attention of the audience and reveals its psychological meaning.’ – My Own Methods, Hitchcock, 1937
- The iconic music everyone knows from ‘Psycho’ also creates an effect. The high pitched, non diegetic composed soundtrack accompanies and matches the stabbing sounds in the shower scene. Without this music, the scene would not be as scary; a soundtrack is obviously a key and effective way to create dramatic effect for the audience.