This is a brilliant study of one scene in one movie: the shower scene from "Psycho". Every other chapter is an extended interview with someone who either worked on the original film or Gus van Sant's 1998 remake. The non-interview chapters take various approaches to film criticismand the end result is very entertaining."Psycho in the Shower" is a multi-dimensional study of the film's astonishing shower scene. Philip J. Skerry shows how it may be the most significant and influential scene of all and substantiates this claim by providing chapters on the evolution of the scene in Hitchcock's career, with particular focus on his methods for creating suspense and terror in the audience. In tracing the evolution of the shower scene, the author discusses and analyzes many films (both Hitchcockian and otherwise) that lead up to "Psycho".The book places the shower scene in the cultural and social contexts of American popular culture of the 1950s and 1960s, arguing that it helped to create a revolution in both sensibility and cinematic style.
Several unique dimensions help to set this study apart from other books on "Psycho" and Hitchcock: extensive and detailed interviews with people who worked on the film, including star Janet Leigh and screenwriter Joseph Stefano (the last significant interviews before their deaths); a close study of Hitchcock's employment of mise en scene and montage in the scenes leading up to the famous shower murder; a shot by shot analysis of the scene itself and a discussion of the numerous controversies surrounding it; and a provocative and insightful account of the writing of the book itself, which provides a unique look at the author's creative process.The book culminates with examples of how the shower scene has become embedded in the matrix of contemporary culture and the remarkable ways in which the scene affected people on first viewing.
Dr. Philip J. Skerry is Professor Emeritus at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, Ohio, where he has taught English and film courses for thirty-five years. Dr. Skerry has written numerous articles on film for scholarly journals and for anthologies. His major interests in addition to Hitchcock's films include film noir, the Western and screwball comedy. This book grew out of a Hitchcock course that Dr. Skerry has taught for fifteen years. He lives with his wife Amy in Beachwood, Ohio.
Preface; Introduction; 1: My Research Trip; 2. Janet Leigh; 3. The Trip Continued - Two Intersecting Paths to Psycho; 4. Joseph Stefano; 5. Constructing Suspense - Mise en Scene; 6. Hilton Green; 7. Montage: Creating Terror; 8. Danny Greene; 9. The Evolution of the Shower Scene; 10. Terry Williams; 11. The Culmination of Suspense and Terror: The Shower Scene; 12. Amy Duddleston; 13. Homage; 14. The First Time; Bibliography; Index.