Suspense through objects
In Psycho, the audience are shown several staircases as part of the path up to Bates mansion, as the site of Detective Arbogast’s murder and as the entrance to the fruit cellar.
To be honest, if I was watching a thriller opening and was told to analyse which one was scarier between one with a ‘scary’ ghost speaking and another of a mysterious object with the camera shot getting closer and the music gradually increasing in pace and volume.. Believe it or not I would probably find the object much scarier as the suspense of what that object signifies would have me sat at the very edge of my seat! I think this is the type of effect Hitchcock aimed to achieve and did so very well.