As I have watched his 1960 most popular and successful film “Psycho”, I decided to see the reason behind his success for this particular film.
The above YouTube video looks at how Hitchcock manipulates the audience into believing certain things as it was one of the first films where he experimented on creating a psychological subgenre of the thriller/horror genre.
As I found the part where the voiceover describes how secret hints are given to the audience about Norman being very unusual, was extremely interesting. For the reason that when the film switches to Norman’s point of view, after Janet Leigh’s brutal murder, the audience are left in the position Hitchcock wants us to be in, to reveal the film’s shock twist. This is evident through the cinematography used of absrtact camera angles where, Hitchock makes Norman Bates stand out in the frame and changing the audiences perception of his character; he appears extraordinary/different in comparison to Marion Crane. Throughout watching, the audience experience a variety of emotions such as tension for when Marion offers advice to Norman about his mother going into a care home, where he acts rather strangey, to a transition of Marion having power over him, then when she leaves the room, Norman stands up, reinforcing his superioty over her.
Also, Alfred Hitchcock manipulates the audience through film and narrative techniques; for instance the main focus of manipulation created is on the fact that the audience sympaphise with Norman Bates because he tells about his controlling mother and the audience believe this because we first see her silhoette up in the window of the Bates house, then reinforced by hearing Norman argue with his mother. It’s not until the very end of the film that the auidence learn that Norman dresses up as his mother; having a multiple personality disorder. But throughout watching, the audience don’t grow in hating him, instead the audience continue to feel sorry for how he is trapped in his life and can’t escape.
Furthermore, resulting in the auidence feeling anxxious when watching Norman cleanup and take Marion’s body into the trunk of a car, sinking it in a nearby swamp. But when the car stops sinking, the audience feel as though they are in Norman’s position; emotionally connected to someone who is meant to be the villain of the film, rather than it seeming like we are on his side, helping him. Which the soundtrack of high-pitch violins intensify the scene, creating suspense and tension.
But, it’s important to note that Marion Crane, who the audience assumed to be the protagonist of the film despite stealing a large sum of money, was killed off in the first thrid of the film. We would have expected her to be the heroine of the film and thus would be watchng this character throughout the whole duration of “Psycho”. This is another method of manipulation because, Hithcock has changed the way in which the audience reacted to feeling how the different charcater werwe viewed in the film. So, it means that because Marion was killed, the audience are almost simultaneously introduced to more plot twists that will soon occur.
Therefore, Alfred Hitchcock manipulates the audience through several ways, changing the audiences’ perception of the characters in the film “Psycho”.