Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho contains one of the most iconic scenes of horror in film history: the main character, played by Janet Leigh, is stabbed to death in the shower of a motel by what appears to be an old woman. It is a shocking scene marked by frequent film cuts, shrieking violins, and a sudden act of violence that abruptly cuts off the film’s previous narrative involving embezzlement and running from the law. While most viewers find this moment hard to forget, there is an earlier bathroom scene in the film that deserves some attention: the close-up of the toilet as Janet Leigh flushes a torn piece of paper. This candid, seemingly mundane moment was in fact the first instance of toilet-flushing shown in an American film. Screenwriter Joseph Stefano demanded the inclusion of the scene and argued for its significance to the film: “This is where you’re going to begin to know what the human race is all about. We’re going to start by showing you the toilet and it’s only going to get worse” (Rebello 2010: 47). Though Psycho’s frank depiction of private space may not be as striking for modern viewers, the toilet scene still serves an important function in the film. The appearance of something as mundane and familiar as a bathroom toilet lulls an audience into a false sense of security. The sudden intrusion of a gruesome act of violence, like that which occurs in the shower murder scene, shatters that security and generates feelings of intense horror.