Monday, 27 January 2014

Psycho (1960) Film Review Alfred Hitchcock

Psycho (1960) Film Review Alfred Hitchcock

Figure 1

Psycho is a horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1960 and is classed by many as being one of the greatest slasher films. The story revolves around a psychotic motel owner who is trying to hide the fact that he has murdered many of his customers.
Throughout the film, Hitchcock lead the audience on a guessing game and pulls us down routes of what he wants the viewers to think.""I was directing the viewers," the director told Truffaut in their book-length interview."You might say I was playing them, like an organ."" (Ebert, 1998). When we first encounter Bates, we start to feel as though he is a friendly character and feel sorry for him that he has to constantly take care of his mother. Little do we know that Bates is evil murderer. Hitchcock drops subtle hints of this in dialogue such as the conversation about putting Bates' mother in a home; Bates gets suddenly agitated and angry at the suggestion of an institution, this possibly suggesting that he has already experienced a place like that before. 
Figure 2

Another factor contributing to the success of Psycho is is incredible musical score, "Bernard Herrmann's stabbing score, with its screeching atonal strings, which packs the real punch." (Kermode, 2010). This is especially true in the world famous shower scene. This scene would no where near have the same tension fueled effect if it was not accompanied by this score. The high pitch screaming fills your ear drums and makes every muscle in your body tighten. Hitchcock uses this to really throw the audience into the scene, it could make us feel the madness of the murderer or it could make us feel the blind fear of the victim. 

Figure 3

Although some may consider the final explanation of the story from a doctor as an unsatisfactory ending to the classic, the ultimate shot of the Bates will stick with you forever. "His mind has been completely taken over by Mother, and he speaks to himself in her creepy voice" (Breslow, 2008). We are shown Bates sitting alone with an insane grin on his face until all of a sudden the skull of his deceased mother appears across the murderer. This is used to show that he his finally being taken over by the memory of his mother and that little sanity is left in the motel owner. The image of the glinting skull teeth will haunt every viewer for a lifetime. 

Figure 4


Breslow, P (2008) Norman Bates: A Most Terrifying Mama's Boy (Accessed on 27/01/14)

Ebert, R (1998) Psycho Film Review (Accessed on 27/01/14)

Kermode, M (2010) Psycho: the best horror film of all time, In: The Guardian [online] (Accessed on 27/01/14)


Figure 1, Psycho (1960) Alfred Hitchcock [Film Poster] USA, Shamley Productions, (Accessed on 27/01/14)

Figure 2, Psycho (1960) Alfred Hitchcock [Film Still] USA, Shamley Productions, (Accessed on 27/01/14)

Figure 3, Psycho (1960) Alfred Hitchcock [Film Still] USA, Shamley Productions, (Accessed on 27/01/14)

Figure 4, Psycho (1960) Alfred Hitchcock [Film Still] USA, Shamley Productions, (Accessed on 27/01/14) 

Friday, 24 January 2014

From Script To Screen: Improved Story

I have re-thought my idea for my three words and have created another story.

Henry Schmitt is a very busy inventor. He spends most of his days cooped up his lab tinkering with all sorts of creations, rarely venturing into the outside world for a social life.
One day, Schmitt gets a knock on the door from his daughter and before he's allowed to protest his grand daughter is sprung upon him and now has to look after and baby sit the young toddler.
Schmitt, completely useless at looking after the child, leaves her to do what she wanted in the lab whilst he continues to work. However, what the young grand daughter wanted to do was to play with her skipping rope for hours on end. The endless tapping and swooshing of the skipping rope going round and round starts to make the inventor lose his mind; how could he concentrate with this constant distraction.
Schmitt does everything he can to stop the endless tapping of the skipping rope; offering food, forcing her to watch the TV, even confiscating the rope but this only results in the screaming and crying of the young girl.

Suddenly an idea springs to the inventor. Cunningly laying out a trail of sweets, he leads the girl to his most recent invention - a teleporter. The child enters the teleporter and before she knows Schmitt sends her travelling to a distant far away desert island where finally he can be left in peace and quiet and the girl can play as much as she wants.

Artist's Toolkit: Drawing 2

Artist's Toolkit: Character Design 2

Mickey Mouse Motorbike 

                               Gladiator Mickey                          Xbox Controller Character

Artist's Toolkit: Animation 1

Continuous Gestural Line Drawings

Artist's Toolkit: Character Design 1


  Bane in Bugs Bunny Style                                                                       Shrek in Bane Style      

Artist's Toolkit: Drawing 1

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Rope (1948) Film Review Alfred Hitchcock

Rope (1948) Film Review Alfred Hitchcock

Figure 1 

Rope is a crime film directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1948 but is considered as one of Hitchcock's less well known films. The story follows two murderers who are desperately trying to keep their dinner guests from discovering the dead body hidden in a chest in the apartment.
One of the most intriguing factors about Rope is that the whole film is one continuous uninterrupted act. When each part of a film reel ran out, the camera simply zoomed into the back of an actor or passed by the back of a chair to make the reel change seamless. Hitchcock thought very hard into achieving this effect, "He built elaborate sets with movable walls on wheels. He choreographed his actors so that they and the camera could perform intricate ballets without interrupting the action." (Ebert, 1984) (Figure 2). This method made the whole feel like real time and gave the audience the role of the fly on the wall. The audience had seen all the events that had occurred such as the murder that the other guests did not know about. 

Figure 2 

Hitchcock was very famous for his use of tension and suspense in his films and achieves this in Rope. Although there is very little soundtrack to this film, when there is it certainly plays a big part. One example of this is when Rupert is interrogating Phillip as he plays the piano (Figure 3). As the two characters are talking, Rupert starts a metronome going, this constant ticking puts Philip and the audience on edge with agonizing tension. The tempo of the metronome is then increased which only heightens the now unbearable tension. Hitchcock also uses lighting only at the end of his film, "neon lights that blink a garish red and green as the film reaches its climax." (Hutchinson, 2012). The lights in the climax makes the reveal of the murderers so much more intense. 

Figure 3 

Tension and suspense is also achieved in Rope through camera work. Hitchcock was described that "He also joyed in being termed the filmic 'master of suspense'" (Schneider, 2006). One of the most well known pieces of suspense in this film is a scene in which a maid is clearing the chest which contains the dead body. The shot only contains the chest and the maid pottering around the set completely oblivious. As the audience knows that the body is in the chest, the longer the maid delays opening the lid, the more the suspense builds. When watching the scene the other characters are having a full conversation in the background; however this seems completely unnoticeable to audience due the main attention being focused on the the possible reveal of the dead body.
Another shot in the film which seemed to be quite experimental is when Brandon goes to hide the rope murder weapon in a drawer in the kitchen (Figure 4). We only catch Brandon dropping the rope in a snippet as the kitchen door swings shut. This gives the effect that the audience has seem something they shouldn't have and should almost be kept a secret. 

Figure 4 


Ebert, R (1984) Rope Film Review (Accessed on 15/01/14)

Hutchinson, P (2012) Rope (1948) My Favorite Hitchcock: Rope, In: The Guardian [online] (Accessed on 15/01/14)

Schneider, D (2006) Rope Film Review (Accessed on 15/01/14)


Figure 1, Rope (1948) Alfred Hitchcock [Film Poster] USA, Warner Bros, (Accessed on 15/01/14)

Figure 2, Rope (1948) Alfred Hitchcock [Film Still] USA, Warner Bros, (Accessed on 15/01/14)

Figure 3, Rope (1948) Alfred Hitchcock [Film Still] USA, Warner Bros, (Accessed on 15/01/14)

Figure 4, Rope (1948) Alfred Hitchcock [Film Still] USA, Warner Bros, (Accessed on 15/01/14)

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Like-for-like Storyboard: Watchmen - Dr. Manhattan on Mars

From Script to Screen - Three Words

The three topics that I revealed from the mysterious blue box were:

Character - Inventor
Environment - Desert Island
Prop - Skipping Rope

My first ideas are still pretty generic such as the Inventor is involved in a plane crash, ends up on a desert island, has to invent a means of transport to escape, finds skipping rope in washed up luggage, crucial prop to make the transportation function. I'm hoping that more 'outside the box' ideas will spring to mind very soon. 

Soundcape - Giacomo Balla, Velocita d'automobile

The painting that I selected from the blue box was 'Velocita d'automobile' by Giacomo Balla.

My first ideas that came to mind when looking at this image revolved around elemental scenes, such as wind and rain. The swirls of paint seen in the image reminded me of sea waves and whirlpools. This matched with my thoughts that the angular shapes could represent wood panels led me to the idea of a small wooden boat caught in the middle of an enormous storm in the middle of the ocean. From this I could include sounds of crashing waves, claps of thunder and pelting rain.

When I researched further into the painting and artist I found out that the piece translated is called 'Speed of Car', and that Balla was a Futurist artist. From this I found that whirls and lines represent motion and energy. I also discovered that Balla was also a musician. This led me to look very closely at the piece and started to make out the shapes of musical notes and stave's.