When most people think of Psycho they think of the shower scene. Admittedly it is one of the all scariest scenes in the history of movies. Today I recently re-watched Psycho and I'm convinced there is an even subtler, creepier scene proceeding it.

When Norman brings Marion the sandwich and milk (~35 minutes into the movie), you see him, his reflection in the window and his shadow on the wall. She invites him to come in but he takes a step back. He moves back, his reflection movies back, but his shadow stays in place lurching over her for a split second before moving back. It is extremely unsettling, the symbolism is crystal clear.

I'm convinced this must have been an intentional special effect by Hitchcock. But I've been searching on the internet for a while can't find any mention of it. Has no one previously noticed this awesomely creepy effect?

  • What are you asking? If you want to know wether this was a special effect, or an accident, please rephrase the question in such way. Because right now it only sounds like you are bragging with what you have noticed and that is not a proper question on Movies&TV
    – TK-421
    Feb 20, 2020 at 7:55

1 Answer 1


It's a very quick clip, but I think he leans left just after he steps back.

That's just enough to give that effect. I don't think it's intentional.
If you watch the entire shot, the shadow is in-frame for the duration and there is no room to have placed another actor to effect a separate shadow. It has to be real.

Best guess is that as he steps back, his move is almost in line with the light source. After the pace, he leans very slightly left, which appears to accelerate the shadow move. You can confirm that by checking his reflection - he gets closer to it.

Here's a small gif of the action, blink & you'll miss it, that's the full length at the end of the shot.
I researched it in frame by frame from a full-size source.

enter image description here

  • Ah thanks! He is leaning left quite a bit which appears to make it out of sych with his back step. For a while I was convinced that Hitchcock had someone back there casting fake shadows.
    – cshizzle
    Feb 22, 2020 at 2:34

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