Moreover, the shower scene, which startlingly kills
off the main lead of Psycho one third
through the film, was edited with jump-cuts and 180-degree shifts in viewpoint.
This, along with the famous juxtaposition of the shot of blood swirling down
the drain and of a close-up of Marion’s staring eye, does not only simulate
nausea, but it also increases the intensity of voyeurism. Marion outstretches
her hand towards the viewers as she collapses. Her dead eye, linked with the
blackness of the bathtub drain, contrasts the close-up of Norman’s bright, inquisitive
eye , which mirrors our own stare. The
viewer’s gaze becomes violent.
In the ending scene, Norman looks straight into the camera,
breaking the fourth wall, blankly stating that “They’re probably watching me.
(…) Let them see.” It might be implied that the authorities are watching him,
but they are not – we, the viewers are. We are omniscient: we look through the
peephole with Norman, we kill with Norman, we discover Norman’s secrets and we
know that Norman (or his persona, Norman’s mother) would hurt a fly.
Cinematography-wise, Hitchcock chose to have Psycho
shot in 50mm lenses, in order to “give the closest approximation to human
vision technically possible.” This creates the illusion that we are not
watching the action unfolding on a screen, but with our own eyes.
Finally, Hitchcock stated that nine out of ten people
would “stay and look” if they saw a woman across the courtyard, undressing for
bed. “They could pull down their blinds, but they never do, they stand there
and look out.”
This quote is extremely poignant to what Hitchcock’s
intent is. With Psycho, Hitchcock
establishes a strong connection between Norman’s murderous gaze and the viewer’s.
We invade Marion’s privacy together and are pressed to believe that our passive
voyeurism causes Marion’s death.
On the other hand, Don’t
Look Now explores the theme of seeing in a more metaphorical and mystical
way; seeing is presented as perceiving and as a gift, a sixth sense.