Director Alfred Hitchcock was known as the “Master of Suspense.”
(Hitchcock in a publicity shot for his horror movie “The Birds”)
While gleefully saying his movie-making purpose was “purely sinister,” Hitchcock (1899-1980) never depended on blood and gore, or things jumping out in the dark. Instead he gave audiences intelligent, psychological cinematic suspense and mystery.
Hitchcock compared people to the equivalent of moths to a flame, “We all enjoy shall we say, putting our toe in the cold water of fear,” he said.
In addition, “I find that the easiest way to worry people is to turn the tables on them,” Hitchcock said. “Make the most innocent member of the cast the murderer; make the next-door neighbor a dangerous spy. Keep your characters stepping out of character and into the other fellow’s boots.”
He added “It’s what you don’t see that frightens you, what your mind fills in, the implicit usually being more terrifying than the explicit.”
Hitchcock not only conquered the movies, but early television too, with his “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” anthology series that served up his signature dishes of suspense, mystery and ironic twist-endings.
The show was punctuated by its iconic title sequence: a caricature of Hitchcock’s profile appears amid what became his signature theme music, Funeral March of a Marionette by Charles Gounod. Next Hitchcock’s rotund silhouette walks into it. The camera then pans right, to Hitchcock.
“Good evening,” Hitchcock drolly introduced and then closed each episode with his classic mixture of humor, satire and chilling irony.
If you’re too young to remember, or old enough to want some nostalgia, enjoy the opening titles to “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.”
There was a very good movie made about Hitchcock in 2012, called, appropriately enough, “Hitchcock.” It starred Anthony Hopkins as Hitchcock and centers of the classic horror movie “Psycho. Enjoy the movie’s trivia too, meaning “Hitchcock” Trivia.
I wrote an Investor’s Business Daily profile of Alfred Hitchcock in 2015 and the link is still live. Enjoy it this Halloween season with someone you might like to scare the Hitchcock out of:
Television, Hitchcock famously said with his wry, macabre sense of humor for his make-believe horrors “has brought back murder into the home — where it belongs.” (Sounds very Gomez Addams of him)
Until next time,