Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Essay Idea

I have been thinking about what to do for my essay and I have decided to write about Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho or The Birds. I chose these films because Alfred Hitchcock’s work seems to have lots to do with the theory of the uncanny. They are about normal environments being corrupted somehow. I also thought about Hitchcock’s Rear Window but, although I have seen it, I’m not very familiar with it.


  1. Interim Online Review 14/12/2010

    Hey Sam,

    You've been very patient - thanks. Okay, so, I think your toy-filled attic has a couple of problems - one conceptual and one compositional. The compositional one is easiest to articulate; you've gone for a very symmetrical composition and it's 'dead' - there's no visual tension in this scene - it's all very in place and tidy, with no use of foreground or a sense that we're 'in' this real space. I suggest you cut into this composition and take some bigger risks visually. Conceptually, it doesn't transmit an uncanny effect - at best, it just seems rather melancholy and forgotten. I suspect it's too busy - there's no focal point. Perhaps if we were simply nearer everything - amongst it - a more potent atmosphere might be generated. Perhaps if lighting were to be used more theatrically - to light a particular area and direct our eye? It's all a bit mid-distance - and, significantly, it's all generic; for example, are these 1940s toys in a 1960s attic? Or are they victorian toys in a victorian attic? When/where is this?

  2. I think some of the loft hatch thumbnails are more effective - these 'threshold' images - the one with the teddy hanging down has something about it certainly. I think the problem with the attic is that it looks absolutely 'normal' - it doesn't produce any kind of inversion or change. Personally, I'm not even sure if teddys can be properly uncanny... They're not mentioned in the Freud essay, that's for sure... just saying.

    I'll be showing The Birds and Psycho next semester (maybe you can sit those out) - certainly, I have, in the past, shown The Birds as part of this unit's film programme - because it has such an odd quality to it (I love it by the way!). Be sure to check the guidance notes for the Unit 3 assignment at