Learning Objective: 
to explore the film Psycho

Success Criteria:

- to understand the impact the film had on how cinema related to audiences (AO2)
- to analyse Psycho as a horror film (AO2)
- to explore the way the film was produced (AO4)
- to deconstruct it as a text (AO1)

Audience in Mind

Audience Expectations

Look at the posters of Psycho
Discuss the following with a partner:-

> What ideas does the title 'Psycho' bring to mind?
> What emotions does the title create in you – excitement, dread, curiosity? Try to explain your response. 

> What do you notice about the lettering in the title graphics? 
> What effect does the word 'psycho' have on you? 
> Does it add to your expectations of the film? 
> What does it suggest about the mind of or behaviour we can expect from the person it refers to? 
> Psycho was released in 1960. Do you expect that it will be old fashioned? In what ways?

Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho was first screened in New York on 16 June 1960. It was an immediate box-office success. From the start, expectant filmgoers began queuing in Broadway at 8.00am setting a pattern for audiences worldwideBy the end of its first year, Psycho had earned $15 million – over fifteen times as much as it cost to make

As well as making Alfred Hitchcock a multimillionaire, Psycho won huge critical acclaim and enshrined him as a master filmmaker. It generated two sequels and set down a formula for ‘madman with knife’ films, shamelessly copying its film techniques. It also influenced the makers of many of the most well-known modern horror and suspense films, ranging from Halloween to Fatal Attraction. 
Psycho’s commercial success was due, in part, to a superbly orchestrated publicity and marketing campaign that set new standards for audience manipulation. Hitchcock insisted people alter their cinema-going habits if they wished to see his film, and in doing so, he helped create film-viewing conventions that we now take for granted. It is claimed that the film reflected, or contributed to, a growing permissiveness in society: its violence, sexual content and even the flushing of a toilet on screen, all breaking new ground for mainstream Hollywood film. Its themes struck at many cherished American values; mother love, in particular, would never be quite the same again. Following its release, Psycho was even blamed in court for being the cause of a number of horrible murders, stimulating a debate about the links between screen violence and anti-social behaviour that continues unabated to this day.

Psycho Lessons

Subpages (2): 1: Filming Webquest