In Robert Stam and Robert Pearson’s “Hitchcock’s Rear Window: Reflexivity and the Critique of Voyeurism,” they discuss cinema as a “window on the world” and eyes as windows themselves. The film addressed our interest as human beings to observe others and almost mocked the fact that we vicariously become involved in movie characters’ feelings and lives.
This immersion of audiences into the film is seen in many Hitchcock films, and it can be done for numerous purposes: whether to induce fear or excitement, to express a message, or even to mock.
One key example is in Psycho.
This key shot works as a double entendre. It not only highlights Bates’ craziness, but it also acts as a shout out to the audience, immersing them into the story that they are watching. This amplifies the horror of the scene.
Furthermore, afterwards he looks directly at the camera, as if he is escaping his film and staring out at the viewer.
This kind of shot is also seen in Rear Window, when Thorwald finally figures out that Jefferies is spying on him. Because Jefferies is the surrogate for the audience, this shot almost mocks the voyeurism of the audience.
Finally, another example I thought about was in Shadow of a Doubt. I couldn’t find it on the internet, but in the end of the movie, right before Uncle Charlie falls from the train to his death, there is a shot of him waving to a woman on the train. The woman is located behind the camera when he waves, and it looks as if he is waving directly into the camera and at the audience. Through this wave goodbye, Hitchcock foreshadows Charlie’s coming death. This shot is an excellent example of Hitchcock’s immersion of his audience into his films for the purpose of driving a plot.