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Comparison Essay; the Sixth Sense and Psycho

Essay by   •  June 13, 2011  •  Essay  •  829 Words (4 Pages)  •  4,171 Views

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Horror films are designed to do just that "horrify" and frighten us, make us face our sometimes unknown and hidden worst fears, often in a terrifying way and always keeping the viewer on the edge of their seat. "The Sixth Sense" directed by M. Night Shymalan captivates the audience by showing a little boy interacting with the dead. "Psycho" directed by Alfred Hitchcock portrays more of a shocking murder mystery that involves a gruesome stabbing, bloody shower scene. Both movies use similar motifs with the use of colour, intense music and dark scenes, as well as effective camera angles and views all of which enhance and heighten the viewer's fears. "The Sixth Sense" uses motifs, music, and camerawork in a more captivating and effective way then "Psycho".

Of the most relevant importance is the colour motif between both movies. Hitchcock is a famous director, one that influenced many aspiring actors. The great idea to produce the film "Psycho" in black and white was solely on the reason to save money, and it just so happened that the colour motifs were previously based on the representation of white clothing as safe and black clothing as cautious/insecure. During the movie the main character Marion Crane is all dressed in white at the beginning and then previously before her gruesome murder scene, she had changed to all black. Not only because "Psycho" is filmed in black and white, but it is the slight difference between each shade that makes these motifs almost unrecognizable. Director M. Night Shymalan in "The Sixth Sense" uses a red colour motif as a representation of evil. This is incorporated because it is very obvious and symbolic to evil throughout the duration of the film. The colour red also captivates the audience's attention making them feel uncomfortably vulnerable, and invokes them with fear. That is why colour films seem so much more captivating because motifs are so much easier to identify.

Another great comparison between both movies is the music and lighting. The effect and mood of the viewers is solely based on the lighting and music placed in each scene. During the climax in "The Sixth Sense" dramatic music, night scenes, and dark rooms are used to leave the viewer feeling terrified. When integrating this type of music with climatic scenes, it notifies the viewer of what is to come. For instance when the main character Cole Sear is having a romantic night with his wife, and he runs upstairs to find a window open in his bedroom. The romantic music is immediately cut off, and tension slowly starts to build as the slow screeching of violins integrates with the movement towards violent sounds in a dark bathroom. In the movie "Psycho" old intense music is also used within the violent murder scene, but it is because of the bright lights that ruin the full scary effect. It also has a variety of day

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