Alfred Hitchcock Why bother remembering this guy? Alfred Hitchcock is the master filmmaker of all time. He was born in 1899 and his film career began in 1919. He has directed and starred in over 50 films! He was given a knighthood for his contributions to the film industry. He died aged 80 after being debilitated by arthritis.
How much do you know about his legendary film Psycho (1960) ?
Did you know that… It is renowned as his most popular and successful film. It was based on the true story of Ed Gein who was a serial killer. People were so frightened when the film was first shown in cinemas that they ran out of the cinema screaming! Hitchcock’s idea for the film came from the author of the novel; Psycho, written by Robert Bloch in 1959. Hitchcock bought the rights of the novel for only $9,000 despite Hitchcock making $11million after the movie was released into the cinemas nationwide! Hitchcock made the deliberate decision to film Psycho in black and white as he thought it would be too gory in colour.
Robert Bloch (author) and Alfred Hitchcock (film director) did! Born 27 th August 1906 in Wisconsin. He was a grave robber and serial killer. He would use the bones and body parts of victims to create ornaments and trophies. He was abused by his father, who was a drunk, when he was a child. His mother isolated him from society and,more importantly, women brainwashing him into believing that all women were prostitutes (except her). His brother was killed in a fire but the police were suspicious of Gein even then as he found the body. His mother later died and despite years of abuse from her, Gein became totally lost without her and dug up her corpse and conducted several ceremonies to raise her from the dead. Gein’s story has been represented in many horror films including: Texas Chain Saw Massacre (leather-face) and Silence of the Lambs (Jame Gumb).
A Documentary You are going to watch a short documentary about Ed Gein and consider what may have motivated or influenced him to kill his victims. You should make short notes as you go.
Genre Awareness: Horror What makes a horror movie? Think about your own knowledge and what you would think makes a horror movie. Now, consider the movies Scream and The Sixth Sense. In groups compare and contrast these films and decide which movie is a horror movie and why.
Psycho Movie Trailer You are now going to watch the original trailer for the movie. Consider how the trailer highlights that this film is of the horror genre. *You should take brief notes to help you explain your points to the class on completion of the trailer.
Psycho Posters and Advertisements TASK: Consider both posters which were used to advertise the film. The first was created in 1960 at the time of the films first release. The second was printed in 1998. What ideas do each of the posters suggest and why? What emotions does each of the posters create in you; dread, fear, curiosity… Any significances with the use of colour, writing, graphics?
Creating new posters In two groups: one modern and the other original, use your new found knowledge to re-create the posters including new tag lines. Consider the following: Graphics Tag line Cast list Additional information
Can You Handle It? You are now going to watch Psycho right through, taking notes on anything you think is of significance or interest. We will then discuss the movie as a class and begin analysing scenes more thoroughly.
Key Plot Sequence 1.Marion steals the money 2.Marion arrives at the Bates Motel 3.The shower scene 4.The detective arrives at the motel 5.The discovery of Bates’ split personality TASK: each group will take a scene each and re-create each scene introducing props, music and learning their lines. This will then be filmed and as a class we will produce our version of the original movie.
Media Techniques Camera Angles: To create point of view Create emotional meaning Music & Sound Effects (foreground and background): Create or evoke emotions tension, fear, sympathy etc Build to climax Decrease to anti-climax To focus your attention on a specific sound Provide realism
Media Techniques Symbolic Codes: Non-verbal communication Colours Hints & clues at other possibilities (lighting) Setting Weather Costume Objects that act as metaphors
Media Techniques Body language & actions: Hand gestures Observations of others Eyes Mouth Arms & legs Props: May suggest character traits Link directly to the plot Metaphorical links to reinforce the action
The shower scene Why do you think the shower scene is most popular? How has Hitchcock and Van Sant made their shower scenes stand out? How could you have remade this scene adding in your own additional twist to make it memorable?
The Shower Scene Comparison TECHNIQUESHitchcock’s Original Version Gus Van Sant’s Modern Version MUSIC SYMBOLIC CODES CAMERA ANGLES
The Shower Scene Comparison Watch closely each shower scene (original & modern) and complete your table accordingly. This will form the basis of your notes and will enable you to answer the critical essay question which follows. Remember you are looking at: MUSIC, SYMBOLIC CODES and CAMERA ANGLES.
Shower Scene Focus Critical Essay Question Consider The Shower Scene in both Hitchcock’s and Gus Van Sant’s versions of the movie Psycho. Compare the ways in which music, symbolic codes and camera angles are used in each movie and discuss which you find more effective in highlighting the horror genre.