Why the Psycho shower scene is so good: Cinefix’s Art of the Scene unpacks Hitchcock’s most famous feat of direction (VIDEO0.

What Makes the Psycho Shower Scene So Good? A Video Essay Breakdown .

What Makes the Psycho Shower Scene So Good? A Video Essay Breakdown .

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Slate's Culture Blog
May 16 2015 1:57 PM

How Hitchcock Made Psycho’s Iconic Shower Scene  

psycho_shower_scene

Still from YouTube

For what’s often considered the most memorable death in film history, Psychos shower scene is strangely devoid of gore. That fact speaks to the immense talents of Alfred Hitchcock, and CineFix’s latest “Art of the Scene” video explores how the director and his collaborators crafted a moment of pure horror without showing too much of the murder itself.

Like a lot of great art, the scene was the result of passionate, strong-willed people operating under severe fiscal and creative limitations. Financed by $800,000 of Hitchcock’s own money, Psycho also had to adhere to the strict censorship standards of the time, which meant that Marion Crane’s demise would have to be shot impressionistically. To do so, Hitchcock used a 55 mm camera for a candid, non-distorted look, and spent seven days shooting the scene from numerous angles; the end result features over 90 cuts, creating a subjective, rapid-fire effect that evokes a much grislier death than what the audience actually witnesses.

Sharan Shetty is on the editorial staff of the New Yorker. You can follow him on Twitter