For what’s often considered the most memorable death in film history, Psycho’s 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.