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Psycho – Shower scene study

This scene starts with Marion Crane, wearing a glossy robe. She is seated at the desk in her hotel room with pencil, paper and a bankbook. She is calculating the amount of stolen money she spent and must replace. She tears up the sheet of paper and is about to toss it into the wastebasket, but thinks better of it and takes it to the bathroom where she flushes it down the toilet. (I think this symbolises that she thinks she can just flush away her worries like she flushes away the piece of paper) She then closes the door, removes her robe, and steps into the bathtub. She draws the shower curtain closed and unwraps a bar of soap.
She turns on the shower. You can see the joy in Crane’s eyes as the water runs through her hair and down her body, this symbolises Crane is washing all her guilt away. The guilt is both from the money she stole and her affair with Sam, her lover.
As she is showering, through the translucent shower curtain we see the door open. This starts the build up of suspense. A shadow slowly approaches, adding further to the suspense, Crane is facing away from the attacker. Crane is ironically ignorant of the imminent danger approaching her. The attacker pauses for 6 – 10 seconds before swiftly throwing open the shower curtain. At this moment high pitched music played by violins starts to play.

The camera zooms to a close up shot of the attackers face, the attacker is in the shadow, only her (attacker) figure, hair and eyes can be seen. The eyes look vengeful. The camera then switches to a close up shot of Crane’s screaming face, the camera then moves to an extreme close up of Crane’s wide open
screaming mouth. This shows the terror and fright installed on Crane by the attacker.
The attacker then brings her knife backwards and lunges at Crane with the knife, the attacker only uses her arm, the rest of her body stays as solid as a rock. This shows the attacker is very calm. The attacker and Crane are contrapuntal. The attacker lunges with the knife once again, but Crane squirms attempting to dodge the knife. Crane flails her arms defencelessly; her face is contorted with fear as the attacker stabs faster. Whilst Crane is trying to push the knife away from her body, she is slipping on the wet floor of the bathtub. Crane tries to cover her breasts from the attacker with one arm whilst attempting to ward off the blows with the other, this is when the diegetic sound of the knife stabbing Crane starts.
Marion loses her strength, the attackers blows strike unguarded.
Crane continues to writhe in pain, as the knife starts to make contact with her skin. Crane face is knotted due to the pain. She grimaces as the knife stabs faster and harder. The knife is now seen being thrust at Crane’s stomach. Her face crumples once again. The knife is now seen being lunged at Crane’s ribs. Crane screams as the knife makes contact. Crane is then seen slipping in her own blood; I think this ands hysteria and irony to the scene. Her feet move rapidly and nervously, Crane subsequently turns away from the attacker this suggests Crane is desperate to get away from her. The attacker stabs crane in the back, bringing back the cruel reality, she cannot escape. The camera switches to Crane’s feet where once again she is slipping in her blood. The camera then switches to a close up shot of Crane’s hand grabbing at the wall. As the attacker leaves the room the audience notice she is wearing a dressing gown and slippers, she has her hair in a tight bun. The shrieking violin music stops, indicating the murder is over, the music changes to ominous bass representing Crane is dying.
Crane’s hand slowly slides down the wall as the fingertips struggle against the weight of Crane’s own body. Crane is dying, she doesn’t have the strength to use her hand anymore, it falls lifeless to the bottom of the bathtub. Crane then turns around and rests her body on the ceramic tiles. Crane’s face is as solemn as a morgue; her body left with little life slowly slides down the wall. Crane’s expression is constant. Every few seconds her flesh desperately clings to the wet tiles but once again the body weight pulls her down. This makes the audience feel pity for Crane. Nothing can support Crane’s body, Crane gulps like a fish out of water, she knows the end is near. Crane gathers all her strength and reaches out to
use the shower curtain to pull herself up. A close up of crane’s hand clasping on to the shower curtain is shown. Her final attempt fails; the shower curtain is pops of the shower rail hooks. Crane’s naked wounded body falls forward, sprawled half over the bathtub half over the bathroom floor. The ominous bass stops, all the audience can hear is the diegetic sound of the shower. The camera moves for a close up of the shower still flowing. I think this symbolises that life moves on, the world has not changed apart from her absence.
The next shot is of blood from Crane’s corpse running down the bathtub. The camera would follow the blood down the drain but an extreme close up of Crane’s eye stops us. This reminds us of the murder which has taken place. The camera zooms out showing the whole of Crane’s cold, shocked face pressed against the bathroom floor. Water runs from cranes hair past her eyes, it seems from the audiences’ perspective that Crane is crying. Crane’s face is as motionless as a photograph. A brief shot of the shower follows. The camera moves from the bathroom to Crane’s bedroom at the Bates Motel the camera then zooms for a close up shot of the newspaper where Crane hid the money that she stole.
Hitchcock is reminding us of the reason for Crane’s death. If Crane hadn’t stolen the money she would be at home probably in bed. If Crane had not been murdered she would have returned home the next day with the money she stole and a good excuse. Her life would have probably sorted itself out. This reflects on the whole shower scene as a whole. The trauma, hysteria and reality caused by the event. The shower scene gives psychological fear to the audience, they can relate to the shower scene because the audience have showers. Crane was an ordinary person with an ordinary job. This is why this scene is celebrated as a masterpiece in modern times. I was hesitant to pull the shower curtain shut after I watched the scene; I imagine the fear was even greater in the 1960 s because no film like this had ever been made. It was the first true horror movie.

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