Summary Of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho

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Psycho Article Summary
With over a hundred years of watching movies, audiences have come to expect a certain formula their films should follow, and when they don’t there can be some unseen outcomes. One film that is famously known for breaking this formula is Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. When Psycho first released film goers and movie critics alike were shocked and (for many cases) appalled by the twist shower scene in Hitchcock’s movie. Although it is no argument that Psycho’s shower scene, and the movie as a whole, set a new standard for many genres of film, just how it came to do so is a widely debated topic. For my essay I will be focusing on James Kendrick’s analysis Disturbing New Pathways: Psycho and the Priming of the Audience. In his
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For example, “scenes near the beginning of the film can prime the audience for scenes that come later” (Kendrick 5). Kendrick claims that internal priming is partly responsible for the severe reactions the audience had due to the way Hitchcock builds up the audience’s connection with the lead actress Janet Leigh. By having Leigh’s character be the main focus for the first half of the movie, Hitchcock was able to build the audience’s expectations of her being the protagonist. When Leigh’s character is then killed partway through the movie it “is upsetting and disorienting to audience members who had invested their identification with her” (Kendrick 6). The audience’s reacted so negatively to Leigh’s murder because of the internal priming that happened at the beginning of the movie. This is also the part where external priming starts to come in, during that period of time movies had conditioned film goers to expect their protagonist to live throughout movie, so when Leigh’s character, the presumed protagonist, is killed, it is especially jarring to the audience. There were also many other instances where external priming had taken …show more content…
As stated before, an example of this would be how audiences of that time were conditioned to expect the protagonist to live throughout the entire movie. In regards to the shower seen itself, external priming plays a huge part in why it was so shocking. Along with protagonists not being allowed to die, there was also “tacit agreement between filmmakers and audiences that movies would not be gratuitous in their displays of violence” (Kendrick 7). By breaking this rule and showing extended violent cuts of Leigh’s character being murdered on scene, Hitchcock was able to incite a heightened reaction from his

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