Saturday, July 3, 2010

Our favorite Hitchcock Movies #5

Written by: Nightmare Child

Birds are friendly creatures, right? Remember the impact George Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD had? It used to scare me watching it at night as a child. Just the thought of strangers trying to force themselves into your home drove me crazy and kept me up through the night. Alfred Hitchcock's THE BIRDS had the same exact impact on me. Instead of people, it's crazy birds trying to kill you. Isn't that strange? Birds trying to kill people? Hitchcock made it work; too well in fact. THE BIRDS is one of Hitchcock's most popular films (and for good reason). Unlike his previous work which consists of crime thrillers and dramas, THE BIRDS is more of a true horror movie. Based on the 1952 novella by Daphne du Maurier, THE BIRDS takes place in the town of Bodega Bay, California. Which is, suddenly and for unexplained reasons, the subject of a series of widespread and violent bird attacks. Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) travels to the coastal town to hook up with a rugged fellow (Rod Taylor) she's only just met. Before long the town is attacked with poor Melanie caught in the mix.

Having this film as #5 on our list seems a little unfair. THE BIRDS is a great movie all on its own, but Hitchcock has so many great flicks that it's hard to narrow it down. I'm sure most of you have seen this movie at least once in your life. This is one of those movies I like to push people to see. It's really scary and intense to watch. Just seeing a flock of seagulls going after a group of school children is bad enough. Picture them trying to enter a house that you've boarded yourself in with a massive army of them waiting outside near the playground. Of all the Hitchcock movies out there, this one scared me the most. You would have to be living in a rock most of your life to never hear of this movie. It's been parodied to death in cartoons, TV sitcoms and in other motion pictures. Looking back at THE BIRDS today is an enjoyable experience. You may laugh at the special effects, but for its time it was really frightening. The noise that the birds themselves make are uneasy to the ear. I don't see how anybody can bad mouth this movie. THE BIRDS sadly lacks a conventional score. Instead of music the film uses sound effects and sparse source music in counterpoint to calculated silences.

THE BIRDS even had a sequel in 1994 called "THE BIRDS II: LAND'S END." If you're smart enough, you'll stay away from that dreaded so called sequel. The original classic is all you need to satisfy your dark urges. Last we heard Platinum Dunes tried to do a remake back in 2007, but ended up just scrapping the project (thank god) in 2009. The last thing we need is for an explanation as to why the birds are killing people. We've already seen terrible remakes for THE LODGER and PSYCHO. Leave this one alone damn it!

CAMEO NOTE: Two minutes into the film Hitchcock can been seen leaving the pet shop with two white Sealyham terriers.

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