Psycho and Halloween revision

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Psycho and Halloween revision

  1. 1. AS Film Studies FM2: Section CUS film comparison Psycho (1960) Halloween (1978) ‘Horror in the Home’
  2. 2. Contexts of production Psycho: studio picture (Paramount) High production values ($1,000,000) Successful director (Alfred Hitchcock) Star cast (Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins) Gross: $32, 000,000
  3. 3. Contexts of production Halloween: Independent production Low production values ($320,000) A then largely unknown director (John Carpenter) No star leads (apart from Donald pleasence) Gross: $47, 000,000 Influenced heavily by Psycho: casting, character names, themes, shots
  4. 4. RepresentationThe Monster Human, NOT supernatural Product of psychological trauma Faced incarceration in psychiatric hospitals Stalk/murder women Sexually and morally confusedNot motivated by money
  5. 5. Women Victim Vulnerable Sexually active Deviant behaviour: crime, drugs, drink, sex outside of marriage
  6. 6. Authority figures Powerless Male
  7. 7. Not safe/Dangerous‘Haunted’ by monsters Not safe/Dangerous ‘Haunted’ by monsters
  8. 8. Key differences Laurie (Halloween) is not sexually active (and survives) The victims in Halloween are younger (teens) than those in Psycho Psycho offers a more subtle approach in its depictions of horror:  Norman’s psychologically traumatic past is only referred to in dialogue. Halloween shows the past in greater detail as well as Michael incarceration  The violence in Halloween is more graphic and lingers on the act of killing  No alternative narrative is offered for the victims in Halloween, unlike Psycho which features a ‘thief on the run’ plot with Marion and her stolen cash
  9. 9. Narrative Both have a ‘three act’ structure (see notes) Psycho features a conventional thriller plot in its first act which amplifies the sense of surprise and horror and Marion’s murder in the second act. Halloween offers a simple (and now formulaic) ‘stalk and slash’ narrative Both monsters have traumatic pasts which ultimately form a crucial part in the narratives of both films. Halloween starts with this explanation whereas Psycho waits until the closing moments to fully reveal Norman’s psychological problems
  10. 10. Key scenes:Scene comparison 1: ‘Shower scene’ (Psycho) and ‘Opening scene’ (Halloween)Scene comparison 2: Norman’s Parlour (Psycho) and Dr. Loomis’ visit to the Myer’s House (Halloween)Scene comparison 3: Lila’s discovery in the Bate’s family home (Psycho) and Laurie’s Discovery of her friends murder (Halloween)Use cinematography, sound, mise en scene (micro aspects) to discuss these in detail (see your notes)

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